I sit on local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) board of directors with family members and professionals, and I am impressed with the very different view that people sometimes have of mental illness compared to my own peers, who have had what people are calling the “lived experience.” Of course, most of the family people of (literally) live with family members who are in early recovery, while my peers have often become what is termed (not politically correctly) “high-functioning. I guess I’m a little bit of both, because my politically connected friends, running peer-run services, can barely stand me at times. I wish I could claim I have Asperger’s Syndrome, but I have to admit that I just have personality problems from growing up in an alcoholic family. I have managed to become a peer specialist providing services to the people who come to our clinic, so I have those experiences to reflect on too.
How does this all relate to the National Empowerment Center’s website and its links?
We have all grown a little bit closer to each other, because we’re seeing the commonality of our experiences. So the National Empowerment Center embodies ideas which are not really so different than those of, say, NAMI
Ultimately we need to offer people things they want to do, even if society won’t always let people do everything they want.