Using Self-Empowering Language

not true

A friend and I talked over hot chocolate in a coffee shop. “Here.” T. reached into his wallet. “For you.”

“Thank you.” I accepted the black decal with white letters that read: This is not true—a slip like a fortune cookie.

“Joe Strummer gave these kinds of slips out. You like the Clash, right?”

“Sure do.” I thought the ticker would be a clever title for a blog: This is not true.

I’ve always had the idea to interview peers who’ve been through a hard time too—and post to my blog their talk about other things in their lives—without referring to illness or diagnosis at all.

This weekend I chose boldly not to use clinical terms—no diagnoses—going forward. First—those words scare people—and second it’s a trap. Identifying a person by their symptoms locks them into a no-win mental straitjacket.

Thomas Insel–the former director of NIMH–created the RDOC system to link research funding to clusters of symptoms not specific diagnostic categories like bipolar.

This inspires me now to take the bold leap into more positive language because in leaping the net will appear: a soft landing in recovery not on rocks and garbage. To be pelted with ignorance doesn’t have to be our fate.

So stand up and assert your rights. Tell others: “I’m a human being–treat me like one. You’re most likely not so hot yourself, so why do you think I’m less than zero?”

I’m going to continue to focus on today in the blog because today is the greatest day.

I’ll talk about health/salut and wealth/dinero and love/amore in ways that no one else is talking about these things.

Listen: what’s truly cray-cray is stereotyping everyone you meet because of your experience with one person or two or a few people with similar traits.

This is not true: that we’re so damaged by what happened to us that we can’t have a full and robust life.

This is not true: that we don’t deserve compassion and other people should cower in fear of us.

This is not true: that we’re so effed up that we’re beyond repair.

What is true: that how we live–what we do and say–has the power to make the world a better place.

 

 

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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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