Thursday, October 1, 2009

Recovery newspeak

I am not even that thrilled about the use of the word "recovery" as it is understood in the context of mental illness. I use the word recovery prominently in my blog because Chris is still recovering, but I expect he eventually will be functioning completely normally, supporting himself, off medications and doing whatever he likes, and then I will use the word "cure" in his case. I feel he will be entitled to use that word, just like the actor Margot Kidder does. After not having bipolar signs or symptoms for many years she says she's entitled to use the word "cured." (I wonder if anybody has pointed out to her that she can't possibly be cured because "once bipolar always bipolar?")

Ron Unger, in a recent post, writes that recovery has now been expanded to allow for the possibility of still being mentally ill. It is becoming newspeak for putting the best polish on a less than optimal situation. "Oh, sure, he/she is 'recovering'," people will think, "we all know what that means."

I applaud the recovery movement, I really do, but I also feel that there is a goal post at the end of recovery that should be called "cure." If we don't aim to be completely well and functioning, we won't go far on the field of victory. We will fall short of what we deserve.

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