The Reality

The ultimate message of my memoir Left of the Dial is that you can have a good life living with schizophrenia.

My intent wasn’t to convey that only competitive employment counts in society. Far from this. My goal was to dramatize that early intervention results in a better outcome.

The reality:

The goal for any person is to be “comfortable in your own skin.”

I learned long ago–15 years ago–that a diagnosis is NOT a “mark of shame” or a “token of disgrace.”

The crowd that perpetuates the myth that it is does a disservice to those of us diagnosed with a mental illness. It’s a seductive ploy that reinforces the status quo in the consumer recovery movement that goes like this: a diagnosis is a big bad label and we should be spooked by it. That ideology has been played out for too long now. Are people still advancing this notion?

It’s no secret to me that people in power perpetuate the myth of stigma so that those of us diagnosed with schizophrenia internalize an attitude of failure about what we can do.

We’re doing their dirty work by internalizing stigma so that those in power can focus on other things: make money, rule the world, set the policies. Like I stated with my pieces of the pie analogy, they don’t want to give up their power.

I’m here to tell readers that competing on the playing field so-called normal people have marked as their territory isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. In fact, the turf is often cracked.

I used to work in the gray flannel insurance field (forgive me for trotting out this example once again.) I had a property and casualty insurance broker’s license at one point. I bombed out of that career with smashing success.

My intent is to advance again the idea of “doing your own thing” to be truly happy.

If you want to be an office worker, more power to you. If you want to be a JD, go for that. If you want to collect SSI and work part-time at Rite Aid, that counts too.

It’s a fallacy that only competitive employment counts in society. Different kinds of success matter as equally as whether or not you contribute to the economic stream in society.

I’m interested in promoting stories of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia and their lives. I have one person in mind  whose story I want to tell in the blog.

My point has always been that individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia have been discouraged from setting goals like going to school or work or living independently because a lot of mental health staff didn’t believe we could recover and so insinuated to their patients that it wasn’t even worth trying to have a better life.

So there. You see. I’m confident when I tell readers that you can have a good life living with a mental illness.

JD optional.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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