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.

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Achieving Career Fitness

I’ve written a second book that I’m trying to publish this year.

The aim of the book is to help individuals living with mental health issues achieve career fitness.

You Are Not Your Diagnosis is a visionary guide to finding and succeeding at having a job or career.

What I wrote could help anyone not just people with a diagnosis. What’s visionary is that the target market of the book is mental health peers who want to have a better life living in recovery.

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

My contention is that finding the job and career you love can reduce the impact of your disability.

In fact I can state without a doubt that working at the jobs I love enabled me to recover. It wasn’t the other way around: I wasn’t able to hold these jobs because I had first recovered. No–I didn’t recover until I started my librarian job at 35 years old.

I was ill-suited to work at my first career in corporate insurance office jobs. Continuing to show up to those jobs restricted how far I could go in my life. In the 1990s I was laid off–terminated–from four out of the five jobs I held in the first seven years.

To start off this focus on occupational wellness I will talk about my own life in the coming blog entries.

From my experience I’ve been able to create a method for finding the job you love that I want to share with readers.

Here’s to us square pegs who tried to fit into round holes just to succeed.

There’s a better way. I’ll talk about it in coming blog entries.

 

The Wheel of Wellness

Years ago I was the board member of a non-profit. I was given a handout on The Wheel of Wellness.

Always I will focus in here on fitness and nutrition and careers and other things linked to having a full and robust life.

For the coming weeks I want to shift gears and talk about the Wheel of Wellness and my own Wheel of Fitness.

The Wheel of Wellness is comprised of occupational, social, physical, environmental, emotional, financial, spiritual, and intellectual slices going around.

The goal is for everyone to have optimal health, happiness, and recovery. What I call having a full and robust life doing what you love.

Each aspect of wellness acts in harmony with each other. I call this devotion to healing from illness living life Left of the Dial after the title of my memoir.

The VU meter of a disc jockey’s mixing board measures the intensity of the sound of a record. When the needle veers into the red on the right there’s an imbalance. Adjusting the meter so the needle is on the left balances out the intensity of the sound.

That’s the roundabout way to talk about Living in Health Happiness Harmony, what I’ve used as the subtitle of my Left of the Dial blog.

I will list the key factors of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness in the coming blog entry.

Going forward I will circle around the Wheel of Wellness starting with the Occupational.

In the future I will return to topics like nutrition and fitness more strictly. For today I feel I’ve detailed these topics as best I can right now.

Organic Food Benefits

How to Be Well has opened my eyes to how it’s non-negotiable to eat mostly organic food.

Not only is eating meat not-so-great for our waistlines it’s obviously not good at all for the earth. CAFOs–that is slaughterhouses–wreck the environment.

I haven’t eaten meat in over a decade. Today I’m not keen to eat chicken and turkey either unless I buy or order the organic version.

According to Frank Lipman, MD the author of How to Be Well chicken is given a chemical bath.

Chemical bath? Those words alone alarm me.

I say: opt for buying and eating organic chicken and turkey. Just Say No to Beef of any kind.

In the coming blog entries I want to thrown down another Fitness Challenge. I’ll record my own progress to motivate readers to embark on your own goal-setting routine.

Meet me in the next blog entry as I start out with Step 1: Psych.

The Truth About GMOs

Roundup–the Monsanto pesticide–was proven to cause cancer in a legal trial.

Farming communities have high rates of cancer. Pesticides cause all sorts of health issues.

Eating produce that’s locally grown is better if you’re able to do this.

The cost of shopping at a Greenmarket offsets the catastrophic cost of becoming ill from disease. You either pay more for healthful food or you pay more for medical costs.

After skimming pages in How to Be Well I’m committed to changing my behavior in terms of consuming food.

My goal is to persuade blog readers to buy mostly organic food.

As I see it, to eat healthfully 80 percent of the time is a great goal. I’ve talked about this 80 percent rule before in the blog.

Monsanto and the other biotech firms will stop at nothing to keep advertising GMO crops as safe and nutritious. Only GMO food isn’t better for you than organic food.

Luckily, I can buy organic food and shop at Greenmarkets where I live in New York City.

In the coming blog entry I’ll talk more about the benefits of eating mostly organic food.

How to Be Well

how to be well

This book is the real deal just like How to Make Disease Disappear.

In the coming blog entries I’m going to write about health topics touched on in How to Be Well.

It was my goal to turn back to talking about fitness and nutrition.

With January 1st coming up soon a lot of us are going to want to achieve resolutions.

As always, there’s one goal-setting book I recommend. I seem to have altered the title before in the blogs. The actual title is Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

This method is effective no matter the kind of behavior you seek to change.

One goal I have–I really don’t like to use the word resolution–is to create a better weekly meal plan and fitness routine.

Step 1 of the Changeology method is Psych. In order to be effective in realizing your resolution you first have to get in the mental game to do this.

Joining a gym and firing away at exercise before you engage in the Psych Step you’re going to run out of steam two months later and quit.

I’m going to end here with the truth that I’ll continue to detail in the coming blog entry: M.D.s don’t eat junk according to Frank Lipman, M.D. the author of How to Be Well.

He devotes a section of the book to GMOs which should be required reading.

I’d like to start in the next two weeks to use this blog as a forum for New Year’s goal-setting.

My aim is to show how it’s possible to realize your resolutions.

 

Getting Happy

How it went down: I told a person I was going to the gym. She said: “Why don’t you go to a movie?”

It was a gray, rainy, soggy day. I could detect a lack of understanding about my preferred get-happy activity.

For the cost of a $15 movie ticket I’d rather install an e-book on my device that I can read over and over.

You see in little and big ways a lot of people won’t understand you. They could resent that you do your own thing, not what other people tell you that you should do.

The foolproof method that gives me joy is going to the gym. I’ve lifted weights for over seven years. I’ve been a member of the gym for going on 15 years.

One effective tactic for rising above hateful or hurtful comments just might be finding what you love to do and going and doing that.

Engaging in goal-seeking behavior is a good way to feel better as you cross an accomplishment off a list.

Again I’ll refer to the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions. The winners who cross their finish line execute each of the five steps in the correct order over a 90-day time period.

I’m convinced that most people don’t like to exercise. They simply give up their efforts to get in better shape after two months. They work out religiously then stop.

This is because they’ve done what other people tell them to do or what they think they “should” do: go to the gym.

In tandem with using the Changeology method I think discovering The Fitness You can make all the difference.

Lindsey Vonn the gold-medalist Olympic skier writes about The Fitness You in her book Strong is the New Beautiful.

Vonn gives readers a strategy for finding the kind(s) of exercise you’ll enjoy. Hint: you don’t have to set foot in a gym to get fit.

Recently in here I wrote about setting up a home gym. That’s one alternative option.

Getting physically and mentally fit is the goal.

Unlike most people who simply stop going to the gym and move on:

I don’t feel so hot when I miss a week of exercise.

That’s why I champion finding The Fitness You.

That’s why I endorse engaging in goal-seeking behavior.

It might not be lifting weights that helps you defend yourself against the slings and arrows other people shoot at you.

Thinking in terms of having fitness of body, mind, spirit, career, finances, and relationships is the way to go.

There’s so much more to life than being handed a prescription and sent on your way.

Yes–I might try to find my handout on the Eight Dimensions of Wellness.

I’d like to refer to it in the coming blog entries.

Just remember: lurking inside a hurtful comment is a pebble of what’s bothering the other person.

Happiness is the vaccine that can inoculate us from feeling poorly about ourselves.