Free Press Journal

Taking Back the Control of your Life

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Many people who experience psychiatric symptoms feel that they have no power over their lives. Even those who have had traumatic things happen to them feel that they have no control over their own lives. The control of your life may have been taken over when your psychiatric symptoms were severe and you were in a very vulnerable position. Family members, friends and health care professionals may have made decisions for you and taken action on your behalf mainly because your symptoms were so intrusive that you could not think clearly to make decisions for yourself.

Taking back the control of your life by making your own decisions and your own choices is essential to your recovery. It will help you to feel better about yourself and may even help you to relieve some of the symptoms that have been troubling to you.
It is essential that you know your rights and insist that others respect those rights too. What are your rights?

Your rights include the following:
* I have the right to ask for what I want.
* I have the right to say no to requests or demands that I know I can’t meet.
* I have the right to change my mind.
* I have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
* I have the right to follow my own values and standards.
* I have the right to express all of my feelings, whether they are positive or negative.
* I have the right to say no to things. I can say no to something when I feel I am not ready for it or if I feel that it is unsafe, or if it violates or goes against my values.
* I have the right to determine my own priorities.
* I have the right to be healthy.
* I have the right to be in a non-abusive environment.
* I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.
* I have the right to change and grow.
* I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.
* I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
* I have the right to be happy.


– Mary Ellen Copeland, M.S., M.A.

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