Thursday, October 11, 2012

Learning A New Language

This week, I've been immersed in a new language and it's riveting. I'm not talking about a foreign language like Spanish or French, but a cultural language of shared experience.

For the past few days, I've met and learned from the most fascinating people -- persons with lived experience with mental health and substance use challenges.

They are not only consumers: they are also advocates who have revolutionized the way the world perceives -- and how health professionals treat -- people with these challenges.

Like any other fighters for civil rights, they have fought for their right to direct their own care and be a decision-maker regarding their treatment and recovery.

These inspirational people have taught me many lessons so far, as well as a new concept -- sustainable hope. Their stories and resilience reminded me that we should not just strive for flashes of hope, but make choices that sustains hope to make it last longer in our lives.

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