Serious Mental Illness, Recovery and Other Junk

July 15 2019 Erie, PA

Serious Mental Illness is as quicksilver. Often symptoms can consume and overwhelm a person's capacity to manage random thoughts and emotions that are both unwanted and painful. Focus and control can be at best elusive.  

When this occurs recovery can feel stuck, stalled, overwhelmed and off-course. The ability to harness, process and manage undesirable thoughts and emotions is often, to say the very least, most difficult and vexing. 

A wise elder in recovery once shared with me a means of escaping this mental and emotional turmoil in the absence of additional medication or ready access to a skilled talk therapist. I discovered that while seeming humble, the technique was most powerful and effective. 

Enter the common and readily accessible household "Junk Drawer". Step one open the drawer. Step two dump out the drawer. Step three sperate the useful junk from that junk that is…well, just junk, junk.

Sounds incredibly simple and it is. But at the same time most powerful. Why? It provides a measure of escape from painful thoughts and emotions. It is a concrete, finite and manageable methodology a person can employ despite great pain and distress much unlike, the afore mentioned quicksilver. 

Recovery begins anew. Focus and control become more accessible to the person determined to recover from serious mental illness. 

I have found this deceptively simple idea helpful in my own recovery and it is my hope others will find it equally helpful.

If not do not despair, lose hope, or abandon recovery. Simply endure in the search of other junk that might help.

Respectfully Submitted,


Brian Patrick McLaughlin MS/CPS
MH Consumer Advocate
Erie County, PA.


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