When my Life & the Stars collide (Pt. 11)
“Your passion for an issue or cause of some kind will inspire you to give of your best today. You certainly won’t give ground to those you disagree with so strongly”
There are a lot of issues I feel passionate about in life. I always try my best to express that passion in a mild but assertive way. Sometimes though there is that one issue, your passion for it grows day by day.
On the outside of Recovery looking in there is a 10 Ft. wall of Healthcare policy toped by a razorwire of tradition mixed with opinions both good & bad.
The issue growing my passion and lighting small fires in the mental health community is that of Dual Roles. The Question, Can a person in recovery be part of the solution? This is a very gray area of discussion, most professionals say straight up No. A small sect say maybe or yes. But there is that wall of policy that separates us as a community. Patient & Patient Care. And my passion tells me that to separate the two in such a black and white way is not progress or integration.
I’ll give you an example. I participate in an Arts program that supports youth at risk. This program has an age limitation for participants. I have approached the age limit and in turn I’ve asked if it would be possible to fill a voluntary role in the program. This is where things get dicey. I am still “in recovery” and in the eyes of policy makers I am a patient. It would be very gray area’ish to allow me access to people at risk in a care role or allow me access to potentially confidential information via post program discussions ect. (Note; As a participant I am closely associated with many who attend The Spot and free to engage them as a peer. I can listen to their problems and offer my support as a peer. There is not much that goes on around me in my community that I’m not aware of.)
As a patient, I am technically standing behind a do not cross line in the sand that has been drawn there for decades. Don’t get me wrong, policy can be a good thing. But policy that separates those in recovery that want to give back and participate in their community needs to be questioned. It needs to examined, we need to ask how much integration is too much? Is there a sliding scale or is it finite? And how do you determine who is too disabled or not disabled enough? What about those employed in the Mental Health industry that have their own diagnosis? I’m not deaf or blind, I know that some of the people charged with assisting me in my recovery are sometimes recovery stories themselves.
If I wanted to volunteer in an official capacity at any Capital Health program, or programs sponsored by Capital Health (Nova Scotia’s Health Care entity) I would have to discharge myself from the very structure that supports my recovery. I would have to leave Connections Halifax for 1 Yr minimum to apply for Volunteer Services at Capital Health Programs.
That… Is not integration, that is not progress, these are not healthy recovery practices and they should be challenged. The Spot program played an integral role in my recovery, it has motivated me to take my Art seriously and realize that in soo many ways Art & Recovery collide. Everywhere in our community it explodes. Its on the walls, its on the desks, in bus stops, organized community events showcase the talent of this city and, all people who identify as having a mental health issue or not are celebrated in professional galleries for everyone to see. Our worlds collide at every turn, it is not ok or realistic to keep up that 10 Ft. wall topped with razor wire. And I’m not asking for it to be torn down overnight, but maybe drop it to waist height? So I can see over it. So I can see the opportunities for me to give back to the programs & community where I want.
Don’t ask me to abandon the community I’ve grown soo close to. Don’t make me abandon my supports so I can feel Human again and not like a case file to be observed & treated. Give me autonomy to choose where and when I give back. Cause right now, Capital Health… You’re saying to me…
Anywhere but here.