Chris’s Credentials

I’m 54 years old. I was born in 1965 in the first year of the Generation X cohort.

When I was 52 I started menopause. I haven’t gained weight or had hot flashes. My thinking is still sharp as a tack.

I was 50 years old when my father died. The cancer killed him. He has Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

This was the deciding factor in my desire to continue to exercise and eat healthfully.

In 2011 when I turned 46 I started lifting weights. Before then I hadn’t lifted one 5 pound weight. In January 2014 three years later I could dead lift 205 pounds.

This is how I know it’s possible to make positive changes at any time in your life.

I believe in the beauty of making fitness the number-one priority.

Living in health harmony and happiness is predicated on having fitness of body, mind, spirit, career, finances, and relationships.

Over the years through a series of events happening to me I’ve come to figure out what my life’s purpose is.

I’m here to advance my vision of recovery from whatever it is a person is in recovery from.

My mantra for the blogs is: “No Judgments.”

When I was 22 I was diagnosed with a medical condition. I’ve been in remission for over 27 years so far.

What happened to me I wouldn’t want to strike any other person.

After I recovered fully, my goal was to aid in healing society of stigma.

It’s my belief that healing is possible when each of us honors, accepts, and embraces our individuality and that of others.

I’m a Girl on the Left. My favorite color is Green. I have 12 books I want to publish before my time here on earth ends.

And I think the world needs less judging and more compassion.

I’m going to record my journey to get fitter and remain healthy.

First before I detail the changes I’ve started to make I want to relay in the coming blog entry a scary event I witnessed in New York City.

I want to talk about what happened to dramatize the truth that no human being living on earth has anything to be ashamed of.

Wanting to better yourself is not a sin.

What I’ve learned is that sometimes you can’t make it on your own.

My goal in wanting to help others live full and robust lives springs from the fact that I had no help in my own life. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps at a time when it was thought recovery wasn’t possible.

What I know to be true: choosing to make fitness the number-one priority in my life has made all the difference.

Who are you? Stand up straight and tall and tell the world.

Getting and Accepting Support

My goal is to share the insight I’ve gained with blog readers and followers.

What’s true: success often hinges on collaboration and cooperation.

Before you can be successful at a job or any other endeavor it pays to have a support network in place.

In society for everyone regardless of our challenge type getting support isn’t easy.

For a lot of us accepting support turns out to be hard.

My thinking might be off base. Yet I think too many people are so wrapped up in living for their self-gain that they don’t care about taking time out to help others who could use a hand.

The myth of the rugged individual has persisted in America for too long.

You’re told your weak if you don’t buck up and handle your business on your own.

Only when you could use an assist hardly anyone is willing to come forth to aid you.

This dynamic is a far worse condition than any type of stigma in countering a person’s success in recovery.

My stance is this: I’ve been here on this Earth over 50 years so far.

My first corporate office job career was an attempt to make the big bucks.

After I crashed and burned working at these jobs that were an ill-fit, I went back to school to have the right-fit career.

What I’ve learned in my over 25 years of employment I gladly share.

The things I know to be true—like the fact that recovery is possible for a significant number of people—I’m willing to share in the blog too.

It’s a myth that “the vast majority” of people can’t recover.

Having support, utilizing self-care, working at some kind of job (even if it’s a dedicated hobby or volunteer work), and doing what you love are tools in the tool kit to use to have a successful recovery.

Recovery starts with getting and accepting support.

It’s time to give the hateful outdated rhetoric the boot.

For too long opposing sides have said and done things to inflame each other.

I’ll end here with this: recovery is easier to achieve with support from others like family, your treatment providers, friends, and lovers.

Having a job you love is easier to obtain using the support and resources that are available.

In coming blog entries I’ll talk about support that exists for employees at a company.

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.

6,666 Page Views – Merci

The devil’s in the details as the expression goes:

Today I see I have reached 6,666 page views for the Flourish blog.

Thanks a million to everyone who stops by to read what I have to write.

In an era when the New York Times and other traditional news outlets and media fail to give innovative journalists a platform:

It’s great to see that in the blog world every one of us has the chance to make a difference.

The blogs and books are my platform for advancing my vision.

What is that vision you might ask?

The right to have a full and robust life living in recovery from whatever it is you’re in recovery from.

I’m not spooked that 6,666 has shown up as the number of page views.

It convinces me that there’s a market for my mission of spreading hope and healing in the world.

In a society where there’s a lot that’s not right:

It’s up to us bloggers to be part of the solution.

Who You Are Versus the Pills You Pop

I’ve been thinking long and hard about the topic of personality.

About how a person’s soul is animated in their body and embedded in their brain in this particular lifetime.

We cannot confuse a person’s symptoms and illness with their identity and individuality.

That is the root of what’s called “stigma”–stereotyping everyone with a mental illness based on one person’s behavior.

In fact, stigma isn’t often linked to observed actual behavior. Just to popular opinion of what it’s like to have an illness. Which is fueled by the media.

I’ve been an Activist–a Mental Health Advocate first of all–for over 17 years so far.

My stance is this: anyone who chooses not to see another person as an individual is blind.

I’ll quote from an e-mail I received:

“Those who judge don’t matter and those who matter don’t judge.”

I say: “Break bread” with others to get to know them at their soul level.

The sad fact is for too many people those of us with a mental health diagnosis are seen as an interchangeable homogeneous entity.

It’s why I refuse to divide people–either along color lines or the line of having a mental illness or not having one.

In the end, it’s simply lazy and ignorant to stereotype a person, as if they are not worth getting to know for who they are on the inside.

The truth is: our personalities are as individual as our thumbprints.

Which is the root of why I wanted to write and publish a memoir that told a good story about real people living lives apart from their illnesses.

There’s no other first-person narrative like my book Left of the Dial.

As said I’ve been thinking long and hard about how the individuality of a person diverges from their symptoms.

Who You Are Is Not the Pills You Pop.

Add the chemical cocktails we imbibe to the mix and this doesn’t alter our personality.

I want to shake the haters and ask:

“What’s up? Can’t you see that everyone is beautiful? Why are you labeling people you haven’t even met?

Why are you closed off to opening your eyes to the diversity of human beings at the soul level?”

I tell you:

Imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery. It’s the quickest route to ill health.

Be brave. Be yourself.

That’s the foolproof  recipe for success in recovery.

 

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.

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.