invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

the road to recovery April 18, 2009

This past week (via email) I was accused of being “ALWAYS UNHAPPY” with my life. Yes, the always unhappy was in caps and it came from a someone that has said things like this before who no longer wants to be mentioned in my blog. She feels I’m living in a “cyber world” and not the “real world”. I beg to differ on all accounts and I told her so. She also seemed to fear for her life by saying, “It’s scary to me, how do you know someone won’t come after us?” I did not respond to that-she said this after reading an article in Readers Digest on Myspace. This is a) not Myspace and b) the people who read my blog are not the types to “go after” this person or anyone for that matter. It’s completely beyond belief and yet I will say she did admit to being “computer illiterate” and so I must believe that she is simply misinformed and that is fine.

The simply truth is, yes, I get the majority of my support from the cyber world. And here’s the simple reason: the real world has failed me for more than twenty years. Psychiatrists, therapists, people who stigmatize, etc. When you spend tens of thousands of dollars on medical bills in the real world-the outcome for me was, well, I am pretty much back to square one except for severe memory loss, other problems from the many medications I have taken over the past 15 plus years and lastly, massive debt thanks to the lack of mental health parity. I’m trying to recall a specific doctor that has really helped me-there have been two or three out of more than thirty. The ones that did help-well, at the time, when I still chose the path of medication (the quick fix), I told them what I wanted to be on. I told them I was there for med management only. I cannot think of one therapist that helped me or gave me tools that actually worked in the real world. Scratch that-I had a sexual abuse therapist many years ago tell me, “my mind may never fully remember my entire rape-my mind will only allow me to remember what it can handle” or something to that effect. And she was right. I do believe that. I have not had one doctor suggest dealing with trauma from my past (my rape, etc) instead they’ve always labeled me, threw pills at me which made me sicker and certainly did not deal with the true issue at hand.

So, a few years ago I started this blog because I was feeling very alone and misunderstood in the “real” world and over the past three years I have met so many wonderful, amazing human beings in the cyber world-you all know who you are. But, hey, lets make you REAL just for fun: Gianna, Stephany,Duane, Van, Ana, Stan, Susan, Alex, Susan, Jon, Denise and so many others. Kidding aside-you are all real. You are all amazing, compassionate, strong and wise people that have helped me along my journey and I will never be able to properly thank you-because there are no words as to how much your support and your personal stories have meant to me. Now that I have opted to travel a different road to recovery, one without meds, I will need support more than ever. There are reasons some of us have at one point traveled the different road: the medication quick fix road. I won’t get into those reasons here because they are varied and some are very sad (ie. forced treatment, forced drugging, etc.) Some of us, well, me…I chose that road simply because it was the ONLY road I knew until I began my venture into the cyber alternative healing world. It reminds me of something recently posted at the great website/resource: Beyond Meds-Alternatives to psychiatry.

“Recovery is a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitude, values, feelings, goals, skills, and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of psychiatric disability.” ~ Dr. William Anthony, Director, Center for Psych Rehab


Dr. Lori Ashcroft suggests that we can experience “moments of recovery” by choosing new ways to respond and breaking old patterns.

– Developing a series of wellness tools
– Recognizing our triggers and learning how to best deal with trauma
– Learning our personal bill of rights
– Setting short and long-term goals and determining actions for change
– Finding our sense of purpose and ridding ourselves of negative self-talk

The above is exactly what I plan to do-it will be part of my new road to recovery. It is part of the reason behind this post. Another being the email I received and I felt I needed to write about it here. And lastly, I just read my sister-in-law’s blog and it reminded me of so many things. She has three children (my nieces) two of whom are in their teens and have cystic fibrosis. It would take forever to properly describe my sister-in-law: strong, loving, intelligent, spiritual, patient and giving. Those are just a few adjectives but there are many more. I will strive to be more like her-I want to attempt yoga, meditation and well, just live in the moment. That is not at all easy for someone like me and I commend those that are able to do so. But anything is possible and I hope to someday live in the moment and find true peace and a calmness in my heart. It will be a long, difficult road as so many of you know-but it will be worth it in the end.

Oh, I just realized the time-I have to end this. I must venture out into the real world, which is not easy for so many of us and only WE seem to know the reasons why, unfortunately due to stigma. I am going to pick up a 40s vintage jacket that a friend of mine altered for me yesterday after trying it on. (It was a twisted scene from Pretty Woman-imagine me trying on numerous outfits-many of which didn’t fit thanks to weight gain from psych meds and I didn’t have the unlimited credit card!) This jacket is part of what I’m wearing to tonight’s screening of a film I worked on and I will be, yes, amongst thousands of people in the real world. Not here on my laptop. I spent 6 weeks in the real world working on this film, giving my all for a story/film that I truly loved. The creative outlet is an important one for me. I personally believe it has saved my life. peace to you all.


10 Responses to “the road to recovery”

  1. marcodante Says:

    Good luck to you on your journey without meds. It’s a terrible day when you finally realize that you must go it alone, that the hope of finding a drug (or drugs) that will make you feel whole is futile.
    There is a good interview with David Healy in the Psychology Today blogs about how the pharmaceutical companies are advertising drugs to treat bipolar disorder because many of the patents on anti-depressants are running out and less expensive generic alternatives are flooding the market. He says, “What company marketers are so good at doing is framing the common symptoms people have—we almost all have—in a manner most likely to lead to a prescription for the remedy of the day.”

    I read on your About page that acupuncture worked for you. I’ll have to give that a try. Thanks for sharing.

  2. giannakali Says:

    have fun tonight clementine!!

    have a really good time and trust you’re making the right choices because you are!

  3. Stephany Says:

    Well that’s a spam email! Have fun tonight! from your real friend who happens to use a modern day form of communicating, which is blogging!


  4. stan Says:

    Dear Clementine:

    Have a good time out in the real world at the premiere of the film? Is there still and sun and moon in the real world or did that go out with bell bottoms and smoking? And as far as that support; I will let it go on your tab until your rich and famous K. {Laughing}

    Now that arduous road to fullness of self, and measured healing recovery is one of both time and acceptance. So give yourself the gift of both when ever you can.

    Yours Truly
    Secret Penguin Man

  5. Stephany Says:

    PS hello to eveyrone else on the list up there, who are my friends too!

    I love having friends all around the world, and hey there’s a blog convention in Las Vegas in October…and there is a mental health blog group going, i think i saw it on Dr.Anonymous.

    Then, we can chat in person!

  6. Marian Says:

    Usually, people who feel a need to accuse others in the way you were accused are in fact projecting their own crap into those others.

    I don’t know you very well, but I’m sure, you’re not ALWAYS unhappy. No one is ALWAYS unhappy. But a profoundly unhappy person is much more likely to only see unhappiness in others than someone, who knows happiness from their own experience, and thus are able to notice even the tiniest bit of it in others too. And projecting one’s own misery into others is the perfect excuse for not having to face it as what it really is: one’s own misery.

  7. duanesherry Says:

    You’re very “real” to us too.


  8. Van Says:


    I’ve had the same things said about me as well, frankly, I no longer care. At Marian pointed out, no on is always happy. If I appear to be unhappy to my family/friends then so be it.

    I feel that people say I’m unhappy (what have you) because they expect me to be like them. They expect me to experience happiness like them. They expect me to find the same joy in life that they have an experience. It’s just not going to happen.

    I also agree that, in a number of ways, the real world has failed for me in terms of finding support. I find that I’ve been able to find others who understand me, understand what I’m experiencing. Other look at my much like I’m an alien when I describe my thoughts and feelings at times.

    I’m honored to know you and all that you have shared with me. You’ve also acted as a great source of strength for me as well. The path you have chosen is impressive, and one that I’m working out as well in my mind.

    As always, I will support you in any way I can.

  9. clementine Says:

    Marco, welcome here and thanks for the links. and yes, give acupuncture a try….the key is finding a good one. I have 3rd generation chinese acupuncturist and he could do it blind-folded. I adore him.

    Gianna, thank you. tonight was stressful-i don’t like crowds but I loved the film. and it was wonderful to see some old dear friends of mine…esp the lead actor who became like a grandfather to me during filming-with him, there were many tears of joy.

    Steph, I wish this email was spam but sadly it was not, I think most people can guess who it came from in my life. Interesting on the convention-if I have the money and I’m not working-I’d love to go!

    Marian-very good point, as usual.

    to the rest of you…well, all of you…I’m tired…thank you. and thanks to all for being such wonderful, compassionate and real friends!

  10. Denise Says:

    Hi Clementine, thanks for sharing part of my article on your blog. Glad to know it helped.

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