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March 17, 2012 by Jamie Lopez

A Piece of My Journey in Recovery

This is a piece of my journey in recovery, in regards to doctors, psychiatrists, medications, and fighting for my human rights.

For years, I had struggled with mental health and substance abuse challenges. Also for years, I had seen many different psychiatrists and had been told to take many different medications. I remember going to these doctors in desperation regarding symptoms, and I remember not being listened to. I would sit across from them and explain what was going on, and I was usually met with a smug and quick response. I was generally hurried out and was told that I was a very sick person and to take this or that with little, but more frequently, no explanation. I would usually have questions about what I was given and would receive little or no answer. Those years were very frustrating and had a feeling of hopelessness for me. There was a feel, in the interaction with the doctor, that somehow I did not know what I was saying or what I was saying was not accurate or to be believed because I had a mental health diagnosis. I felt as though I lost my voice as a human being to be heard because of the stigma attached to serious mental illness. I remember thinking, ‘wait a minute, I know what I am talking about! Someone please listen to me!’ and during that time, the more I attempted to advocate for myself, it seemed like the stronger my voice was silenced. Or that, maybe the “voice” that I had was a symptom of a psychiatric disorder. That particular type of hostility from the doctors towards me, I believe, began to interfere with how I thought of myself as well. I began on some level, to believe, that perhaps my “voice” was me just being “crazy”, maybe I wasn’t worth being heard.

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