Risking Change in Recovery

My story is living proof that you can have a better life after you’re diagnosed than you did before you had a breakdown. This sounds like an incredible claim yet it certainly holds true in my own life.

The point is not that we should be able to return to the way things were before we got sick. The point is that living in recovery gives us the chance to move forward to do something new. Our lives most likely are supposed to change.

Recovery at mid-life can be sweeter. I don’t covet the easy win. The hardest victory is the sweetest. Giving up on ourselves isn’t the answer when we get older. We can change our lives for the better at any point along the way.

Mid-life offers us the potential to be happier and healthier.

Taking up a passion project–whether for a guy or gal, a new apartment, a new career or anything else that sings out to us–is the way to go in recovery now.

If like me you were diagnosed when you were barely an adult (I was 22) you might think that your life has ended. I’m here to say that it helps to take the long view. No one who is 22 thinks of what life will be like when they turn 50–trust me I doubt anyone thinks of the future when we’re in our early twenties.

I’m here to say that there is hope. What the illness robs us of we most likely weren’t supposed to have. I’m a humble librarian who dresses in mod cloth and listens to alternative music. I wasn’t supposed to be a magazine editor. I wasn’t supposed to climb the corporate ladder.

The point is too that we’re the same self we always were. Our pre-illness selves can return. More likely they didn’t ever leave.

We’re not supposed to be anyone other than who we are.

And we are not symptomatic of an illness–we’re human beings with a personality all our own. With desires, needs, hopes, and dreams just like every other human being living on the planet.

Mid-life is the time to dare to dream of achieving new goals.

I’ll end here by saying that life in our fifties can be prime time.

Life is Beauty Full now more than ever.

I urge you to keep that faith that the best is yet to be.

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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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