Getting Support for Your Goals

The one small act of scrambling eggs and veggies for breakfast has whirled into action other goals in a snowball roll.

The health coach services end in two weeks. This 2-month health coach service was well worth the money.

This is why I tell readers to get the support you need to plan and prepare for the new goals you want to take on.

One of my ideas is to go back to school for a writing degree.

It can be scary to make changes even though the changes might be positive.

That’s why I say: create a support team of individuals you can talk with.

Lastly: to remember that with health you have everything you need.

What I write I would like to educate, empower, and entertain readers.

To give followers the idea that it’s not as hard as you think to make changes.

I’ve been scrambling culinary sunshine for 6 weeks so far.

I say Go for It: risk change.

You don’t know until you try what’s possible.

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Showing Up As Yourself

In my life when I let the illness define me I thought that doing what “normal” people do would be the cure.

The world tells you what’s acceptable. You think you’re supposed to do these things.

Only you cannot repress your soul and expect to be well. Ill health is the result of being cut off from your true self.

The ultimate goal as I see it in recovery is to become who you are.

Show up as this person wherever you go.

Self-doubt and confidence go hand-in-hand. As I wrote in You Are Not Your Diagnosis:

My employment history shows that one of three things is possible:

  • You’re just starting out and haven’t yet figured out the ideal workplace.
  • You loved your job or career when you started it and today it no longer thrills you.
  • You thought that this particular job or career was the one you wanted. It doesn’t work out and you’re forced to change.

Knowing yourself and what you are suited to do and not do is the key to success.

If you have to act false to yourself on a job you’re rolling a wheel up a hill over and over like Sisyphus in the Greek myth.

I say: get a second job to supplant your primary income rather than continuing to show up as an imposter to a job you’re not happy doing.

If you’re not happy doing your job you won’t be motivated to excel so how can you be effective at it?

This is the definition of “spinning your wheels.”

In a coming blog entry I offer a remedy for dissatisfaction.

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.

 

Hiring a Health Coach

A Health Coach has to get certified. Duke University has a program.

Some nutritionists like Stefanie Sacks charge close to a thousand dollars for their services.

My health coach cost $395 for one one-hour intake plus two follow-up sessions.

You talk via telephone.

It’s been close to two weeks since I changed my breakfast food.

Scrambling culinary sunshine in the form of 2 or 3 eggs with colorful diced pepper and sliced mushroom (all organic, by the way) has brightened my mood.

Seeing the fiesta of color on my plate in the morning cheers me.

I say: nix having white food and beige food. It has little nutritional value. And it can depress you looking at it.

The change was immediate as soon as I started having eggs and veggies for breakfast.

It takes longer to cook, eat, and clean up. I’m going to cut up the peppers on Sunday night and store them with the mushrooms in a tiffin.

You can buy a 3-tray tiffin on Amazon. If I remember it cost about $35 to buy two of the tiffins. I’m going to buy another one soon to use.

The health coach vetted that it’s okay to have 2 eggs every day for breakfast. 3 if you’re hungrier.

This sure beats boxed cereal. It beats having the granola.

Next Friday I’ll share the shake recipe the health coach gave me.

 

Recovery and Work

The real deal is that I had to fight for my right to have what other people took for granted: a full-time job and a home of my own.

Here’s what I can tell you when you face resistance to your employment goals or any other goals:

It doesn’t matter what other people think.

If I didn’t set the bar higher for myself early on no one else would’ve set a bar at all for me to reach.

That’s why I say: decide for yourself what to think about your prospects.

Seek to live up to your own expectations no one else’s.

America is a society where people are conditioned to compete against each other.

Thus you can see that not a lot of people are going to have a vested interest in seeing you get the same things that they want.

Remember my review in here of the book Dark Horse:

Success will come via fulfillment not the other way around.

I think it’s time in this blog to talk about money options when it comes to choosing a job you’d like to work at.  More on this in the future.

To give you hope I will relay here what my literary agent wrote in a book proposal:

“The vast majority of people with a mental health issue can work at a job.”

No kidding. I didn’t write that. An outsider did. Yet it’s true.

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.

 

Christina Bruni’s Story

From the fall of 1987 to the summer of 1990 I collected a government disability check and received Medicaid. I lived below the poverty line. For two years back then I lived in public housing.

These earliest experiences changed me forever. They’re the root of why I have compassion for those of us who are less fortunate.

In fact I know plenty of people who collected so-called “entitlements”  when they needed them, and got off the government rolls when their situation in life changed.

Alas, the myth persists of “lazy freeloaders” collecting entitlements forever with no intention of bettering themselves.

Only other people should understand that for a minority of individuals holding a job and obtaining employment isn’t possible.

I’m aware that there are those of us with a diagnosis or disability who have a passive resistance to taking initiative to get a job. They are the exception not the rule.

I wrote You Are Not Your Diagnosis for people who have the desire and ability to work at a job and have a career.

Today it’s possible to stop collectingt SSI or SSDI for the rest of your life.

Today it’s possible to do what you love on and off a job.

Today it’s possible to have your own version of a full and robust life living in recovery.

I’m committed to serving people who want to recover.

My story offers hope and can empower people:

Within 3 years of getting the diagnosis, I stopped collecting government benefits and obtained my first job as an administrative assistant. Seven months later I moved into a studio apartment near the beach.

The wind-up of this story is that you’re not doomed to a life of poverty, unremitting welfare, and joblessness or homelessness when you have a mental health issue.

Wherever you are on the road of recovery whether just starting out or in your older years it’s possible to find the job you love.

The Occupational slice of the Wheel of Wellness should fit into your goals and personality.

I will in coming blog entries talk about a method of finding the job you love and would be happy to go to every week.

I detail this method for achieving occupational fitness in my own forthcoming career guide You Are Not Your Diagnosis.