You Are Not Your Diagnosis

It’s a fact:
Your personality, your life ethic, and your temperament are separate from your diagnosis.

As a writer, as a human being living on earth with other human beings, I detest stereotyping people.

On a humorous note, the editor of my memoir told me: “There can be no ‘blue-haired old lady’ in your book.”

So I took her out. You get the point.

In writing Left of the dial with the intent to publish my first-person account I wanted the narrative to be different from any other SZ memoir that had been published.

Though it was clearly a story about having a breakdown, I wanted to focus on what happened after I recovered, not on symptoms and illness.

I wanted to tell a story about how getting the right treatment right away and staying in treatment enabled me to be recovered and in remission.

Yes–I credit the medical model–the act of taking pills–as the gateway that opened the door to real recovery.

Stigma of any kind is other people’s problem, not yours or mine.

I’ve gotten attacked by a woman who was allegedly an “international expert” (curiously she didn’t have her own website.)

In response to her PsychCentral news article where she claimed no one could recover: I posted a comment saying that most people could recover.

This so-called expert attacked me twice for saying this.

If you’re viewing someone through the lens of illness, through the aperture of their symptoms, that sets up a very low bar you have for who a person is and what they’re capable of.

I have an insider’s vantage point as a recovered peer. I can see from my view the real actual credible successes of other peers inside and outside of the workplace.

You Are Not Your Diagnosis. Recovery is your right.

The person you see in the mirror is the person you’re supposed to be: a human being accorded love, dignity, compassion, forgiveness, individuality, respect, and kindness.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. 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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