Rebelling the Role of “Mental Patient”

It can seem like there’s a glass wall separating people with mental health conditions from others.

It’s like you can see what’s on the other side–“success” “a good life” “a career” “a home”–and the wall stands between you and getting these things.

What is this invisible barrier? Internalized self-stigma brought on by harboring outdated false beliefs about what a person’s life is destined to become after a psychiatric emergency.

Getting to this side involves breaking free of the shackles of guilt and shame.

What I’ve learned I’ll gladly share here. I want to quote from the Introduction to my career handbook so that you might be convinced of the truth: You Are Not Your Diagnosis:

As a young person, I was happy even though my life was less than ideal. Yes—I chose to be happy even when the circumstances of my life were dismal. You can like I did rebel the role of “mental patient.” You are not your diagnosis. You’re a human being with wants, needs, desires, goals, and dreams just like everyone living on earth. It’s a mistake to think your diagnosis limits you forever in what you can do.

Having a diagnosis is often part of the package you present to others yet it isn’t your identity. Defining yourself by your symptoms locks you into a no-win mental straitjacket. Your diagnosis is not a dead end and it doesn’t define you.

A women’s organization I’m a member of used to ask its members: Who are you?

I say: you have the right to choose your identity.

In a coming blog entry I’ll talk about this in more detail.

 

Advertisements

Choosing a Job for Love or Money

Choosing a Job for Love or Money shouldn’t be a toss-up.

Ideally, the job you love will pay a livable salary. When it doesn’t you can drum up a “side hustle.”

The book The Economy of You by Kimberly Palmer talks about how to create a second income stream or else create your own full-time business.

Again, using the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions can also help.

The Small Business Administration website can give you information too.

Going into business for yourself or working at an established company is possible.

Clearing hurdles will make it possible to do this.

One hurdle is overcoming resistance to getting any kind of job:

Either countering your own internal roadblocks or that of naysayers who claim it’s not in the cards for you to do what you want.

In the next blog entry I’m going to document a better way.

If any social workers are reading this I would like you to take note.

Fitness Fridays

I’ve decided to plan and schedule my blog entries here.

Fitness Fridays will be the theme of the nutrition blog topics.

I’ll post on Fridays blog entries about fitness and nutrition.

The fact is:

Infirmity is not inevitable in old age.

Lifestyle habits are a significant factor in whether you remain healthy or progressively decline into ill health.

A while back in the blog I wrote about the book How to Be Well. After going on the book author’s website, I submitted a form to talk with a health coach.

For a customary fee you can get individual advice. An action plan is created for you to follow. Two weeks later there’s a follow-up talk to see how it’s going.

The fee is actually cheaper than other nutritionists charge. A 6-session package costs more. I opted for the 3-session package.

Folks: carbohydrates are my enemy. After talking with the health coach, I threw out all the grains and granola packages in my kitchen.

My plan involves scrambling eggs with veggies to have with avocado for breakfast. It’s entirely possible that having granola for breakfast had been one of the culprits in my mid-life fatigue.

You can go on the Dr. Frank Lipman (the author)’s website to research the options for talking with a health coach.

I have no guilt in having gotten rid of the grains. Bye-bye.

In one week, I will report back on how it’s been going.

Having 5 Commitments

Easily over five years ago I read a Leo Babauta book where he told readers to list their 5 Commitments in life.

This approach made great sense to me. In the spirit of talking about recovery I want to riff on choosing and committing to 5 areas.

Do this for the sake of your mental health and physical well-being first of all.

As I head into my fifties and go through changes at mid-life the benefit of having 5 Commitments resonates with me more than ever.

It’s called a routine: adopting healthy habits that you engage in every day or every week.

This isn’t to say that the focus of your life won’t ever change. As you get older, you’ll need to improvise as you go along.

I find myself at 53 engaging in a form of woodshedding, which I talked about in one of the first blog entries in this Flourish blog.

While isolating inside because you’re afraid to go out your front door isn’t healthy I say:

Enjoying your own company when you’re alone in your apartment or house is imperative.

As I’ve started journeying through mid-life I can vouch for the positive health benefit of needing more time for yourself to rest and engage in recreation.

You need to rest after going out socially or having a long, hard day at your job.

The key to maximum productivity in your personal life lies in the beauty of honoring your 5 Commitments.

My 5 Commitments are art, music, fashion, books and writing, and exercise.

Making time each week to do something involving these 5 things I love has been the way to feel healthy and be happy at mid-life.

What are your 5 Commitments?

In coming blog entries I will continue with the focus on careers.

Yet I will apply this wisdom to everyday life.

Living in recovery doesn’t have to be so hard. Even if you’re in pain that’s when doing the things you love can help you feel better.

That’s it exactly: focusing on the 5 Commitments that bring you joy.

 

Changeology: Perspire Step: Update

My New Year’s resolution I’ve recorded in here a few blog entries ago.

I’m using the 5-step Changeology method for achieving goals and resolutions.

So far I’ve advanced to Step 3: Perspsire.

This is where you’re engaged in the new healthy behavior that replaces the old habit.

How have I fared in executing the sub-goals?

For 3 out of the 4 weeks I lifted weights at the gym 2x/per week. One week I exercised at the gym only once that week.

The goal I had of bringing salad food and fruit to my job to eat healthier has been achieved every week so far.

I’ve eaten salads 3x/per week like I had expected to. My goal is to have fruit for a snack in the afternoon going forward to complement the goal of eating salads.

I can make no excuse for not having gone to the gym 2x/every single week.

I offer only this explanation: my mother is old and needs my help at times. Faced with this reality I will have to help her out when I’m able to.

Months ago in this blog I gave Tips for Caregivers.

Then I talked about how no one at any mental health organization is addressing the reality that adult children are becoming caregivers for our parents.

You’re supposed to deal with managing your own life at the same time you’re caring for an elderly parent who might be in ill health.

Nobody cares about this because they’re advocating for young adults and parroting baseless anti-stigma rhetoric.

Instead of actually taking action on equally pressing concerns: the needs of older Americans living in recovery who are becoming caregivers.

There. That’s it straight up. I’ve spoken this truth. When there’s no one else to act as a caregiver it falls on you to do double duty.

Alas my goal of using the treadmill 1x/per week hasn’t happened either.

I would like to start executing this sub-goal next week.

In the coming blog entries I’ll talk more about the Changeology method.

The point is that by executing the 5 steps in the order you’re supposed to do them you have a better chance of achieving your goals and resolutions.

Step 3 of Perspire lasts 30 to 60 days.

Like I said slow and steady wins the race.

In the next blog entry I’ll detail 3 Tactics for Achieving Resolutions that I think can make the difference between success and failure.

 

 

 

Top Fitness and Nutrition Books

The following is a list of the top fitness and nutrition books along with cookbooks that I own and refer to in my own life:

Ballerina Body – Misty Copeland

Body for Life for Women – Pamela Peeke M.D., M.P.H., FACP

Foods for Health – Barton Seaver and P.K. Newby Sc.D., M.P.H.

The Organic Food Shopper’s Guide – Jeff Cox

Shape Your Self – Martina Navratilova

Strong is the New Beautiful – Lindsey Vonn

The Top 100 Fitness Foods – Sarah Owen

Transformation – Bill Phillips

What the Fork Are You Eating? Stefanie Sacks M.S., CNS, CDN

Cookbooks:

The Inspired Vegan – Bryant Terry

The Kitchen Shelf – Eve O’ Sullivan and Rosie Reynolds

Vegetables Every Day – Jack Bishop

Verdure: Simple Recipes in the Italian Style – Gioietta Vitale with Robin Vitetta-Miller

Inspiration and Perspiration

Thomas Edison is quoted along the lines that achieving a goal is “One percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

The Changeology Step 3 of Perspire lasts at least 30 days. It’s followed by the Persevere and Persist steps which round out and end the 90-day action plan.

Two prior goals I’ve already achieved using the Changeology method.

One was to wear makeup every day to my job. The other was to wear jeans to my job only 2 days a week. In fact I rarely wear jeans at all to my job anymore. And I do apply makeup in the morning before I go there.

Controlling the environment as regards these two goals was simple:

Placing my makeup in a cosmetics case and keeping the case on the bathroom sink ledge for easy and quick access.

Storing the jeans in an out-of-the way rack. Placing the pants front-and-center hanging in my everyday closet.

While I buckle down in the Perspire step I’m going to write in here about other fitness and nutrition topics.

I want to write about these things to give readers hope.

There’s a lot of confusing, conflicting, and downright contentious information about health that is passed off as the only right approach to living your life.

Remember: my claim to fame is that I wrote a book titled Left of the Dial. I see things differently and think differently from most people.

What I know to be true is that a dose of common sense is required when tackling problems that seem insurmountable.

Isn’t a 90-day action plan a short time frame in which to accomplish a goal that has the potential to become permanent for the rest of your life?

In a coming blog entry I’m going to focus on how I lost 20 pounds as a young woman and kept most of that weight off.

In fact I weigh the same at 53 as I did at 40. This indicates I know something about which I speak.

You could get toned lifting all the dozens of diet books that are published each year.

My goal is this: to empower readers not only to dare to dream but to actually do what you dream of.

More on how I lost weight and kept it off in the coming blog entries.