It is time to stop describing curable as incurable – Suzanne Beachy’s words as relevant as ever

Three years ago I published ‘People with Hope Recover After a Bipolar Diagnosis‘ on I mentioned Suzanne Beachy and put a link to her TED Talk video – What’s Next For The Truth.

I am saddened because, even in 2015, the mental illness system continues to take hope away, as emotional distress continues to be labelled and described as incurable.

A reader of rethinkingbipolar recently suggested I take a fresh look at my People with Hope… article and this led to Suzanne Beachy contacting me and me reading Tale of Two Cousins on

Now, even if you watched What’s Next For The Truth three years ago, you may, like me, find it worth watching all 20 minutes of it again.

Throughout my life I have rarely ‘lost’ hope, but I have had it temporarily taken away by people who I believed to be experts. I have been fortunate in that hope has always quickly returned to me and I have always recovered well. Tragedies happen when more vulnerable people have their hope taken away. It really is time for psychiatry to make some big changes and focus on finding out why people are struggling and help with understanding, reducing and perhaps eliminating some of the causes of their/our distress.

About Roger Smith (in the UK)
Helping you to think about bipolar disorder in different ways so that we can eliminate the disorder and eventually eliminate the need for this diagnosis.

5 Responses to It is time to stop describing curable as incurable – Suzanne Beachy’s words as relevant as ever

  1. Margaret Taylor says:

    Roger, Just spent the past two hours going over all your new links today. Thanks so much for your research and support.


  2. Margaret Taylor says:

    I feel you are bang on that labeling emotional distress as a mental disorder and described as incurable is the culprit. I found all today’s links amazing and supportive reads. All the best to you, Beccy and her baby.


  3. Alien says:

    BP I don’t think you can cure the condition however I believe you can alleviate and manage through monitoring so that it has less impact on your condition to a fair degree so that it is not as pronounced .
    You can be forewarned so you don’t go on spending sprees or find yourself in a bedroom room with the door shut to the outside world.


  4. Hi Alien,

    I know what you mean. Cure is a strong word as it may imply all signs of the disorder need to be eliminated. For ten years I was very skeptical of people who claimed to be ‘fully’ recovered, as such claims were often overly optimistic and went with coming off psychiatric drugs too quickly. I had mainly seen people claim to be cured and then get ill again.

    My view now though is that it is reasonable to claim to be cured providing we have identified causes and made enough substantial changes to stop similar troubles happening again. Equally, I doubt if anyone diagnosed with bipolar can ever prove they have been cured. Certainly in the UK it is close to impossible to have medical records changed to show we no longer have bipolar symptoms.

    Perhaps, whether we say cured, recovered, in-recovery or whatever does not matter much at all and it the key is to be able to know things can be better. It is about having realistic hopes and realistic expectations of leading a life free of the most damaging extremes of mood.


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