I’m going to talk in coming blog entries about topics linked to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
After this I’m going to return to talking about fitness and nutrition.
My contention is that schizophrenia recovery outcomes are rosier than most people think.
It’s hard to peg how many people are doing well because most of us with jobs and careers and other successes are afraid to disclose.
Yet I refused to live in hiding. To remain silent would be complicit in reinforcing the rhetoric that no one can recover.
My motto is: “If you can see it, you can be it.”
Peers need to know that there are people just like them who have succeeded at finding and working at jobs we love, not just jobs that pay the rent or are the means to get off disability.
We shouldn’t be pigeonholed into accepting jobs simply because a vocational counselor thinks someone with our particular disability is suited only to those kinds of job.
What if you don’t want to be a janitor yet you’re told you should do that?
What if you want to do something that you’re told is impossible because you have a certain diagnosis?
Either way I’m here to tell you that a myriad of jobs exist. You can even create a job for yourself that fills a need in society.
Having the job or career you love can reduce the impact of your disability.
I say: if you want to work, you deserve to try to make that happen.
In the end working at the job or career you love is a kind of adjunct treatment.
Dr. Chatterjee in his book How to Make Disease Disappear urges readers to drink 8 glasses of water per day.
Doing this will give you more energy and clearer skin. It flushes out toxins and helps with weight maintenance. Drinking water also prevents headaches.
Loyal readers I’ve resisted doing this. Again it’s a matter of making healthy habits as convenient as possible.
You can buy a 27-ounce water bottle from KleanKanteen.
Bring it to your job or wherever you’re going in the morning. Fill it up and drink throughout the day. Add a squirt of lemon for taste if you want.
I’ve read in at least two places that you can divide your weight in half to arrive at the number of ounces of water to drink each day.
It might not seem fair that you have to drink all that water every day to reap health benefits. Yet not doing so can indeed lead to disease.
The benefits of drinking water are real not conjecture bandied about to sell plastic bottles of water. Ditch the plastic and buy a KleanKanteen bottle to carry wherever you go.
Drinking two glasses of water in the morning is a great way to start the day.
In the next blog entry I’m going to talk about one of the other Pillars: Relax.
It has been hard for me to believe that a person’s lifestyle–their habits and behavior–can cause disease. I always thought that when the ball falls on your number on the Roulette wheel of health it’s random who gets ill and who doesn’t.
After reading How to Make Disease Disappear I’m confident that lifestyle choices are the root of most disease. In his book Dr. Chatterjee links a person’s lifestyle to the onset of the disease that is prevalent in modern society.
It’s coming up on the third anniversary of my father’s death. He died of Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.
I urge everyone 50 and older to get a colonoscopy. With a history of cancer in my family I have to do this too.
Nearly every day I think of my father. He didn’t exercise. He didn’t maintain active social connections later in life. After he retired he spent two or three hours a day watching FoxNews.
Irrespective of his choice of Conservative state news channel the fact is watching excessive TV causes death according to Dr. Chatterjee.
In his book How to Make Disease Disappear this British M.D. also states the irrefutable fact that drinking cola, soda, or soft drinks causes Type-2 Diabetes.
Years ago I told a beloved friend to “can the cans” and stop drinking cola. He wouldn’t listen to me. It was no surprise to me when last year he told me a doctor diagnosed him with diabetes.
Whether diet or regular Coke or Pepsi or other cola the outcome is the same: ill-health if not guaranteed diabetes.
I’m writing these blog entries because I care about readers.
And yes–I care that billions of dollars are spent on treating disease instead of preventing disease in the first place.
Reaching for a pill isn’t always the answer. Which is why I’ve refused to take drug company money and become a spokesperson for Pfizer. Dr. Chatterjee has cured his patients without resorting to pharmaceutical intervention.
The point is preventing disease is cheaper than managing disease once it’s occurred.
I’d jumped into writing about the visionary book.
It seems I’d wrote that I’d write next about how to shift the needle to the left of the dial.
My intent in titling my memoir Left of the Dial was to demonstrate how doing the things you love can help you heal.
Living your life left of the dial–joyously, creatively, and passionately–if you ask me is a beneficial method of healing.
I’ve reckoned with the fact that becoming a trial attorney wasn’t in the cards for me in this lifetime. I was destined to go left when everyone else goes right.
Seeking emotional harmony between your thoughts and feelings is a way to shift the needle to the left. This can be via talking to a therapist. It can be via reducing the nonstop reliance on your electronic devices at all hours of the day and night.
What has changed my life for the better has been exactly this: shifting the needle to the left of the dial.
In the book How to Make Disease Disappear Dr. Chatterjee recommends keeping a grateful journal. You can buy a hardbound journal to keep at your night table. Write three positive things that happened to you that day before you go to bed.
Dr. Chatterjee refers to a pioneer in the positive psychology movement who asked his daughter three questions every day: “What did you do to make someone else happy?” and “What did someone else do to make you happy?’ were two of the Qs.
Giving joy to others as a daily ritual is the foolproof way to feel good yourself.
We can’t control whether other people do good things for us or simply act for self-gain every day. This isn’t our concern. If we want to feel good, the best way I know to do this is to help others feel good.
Living a healthy life. Living whole and well.
These things are possible when you live in recovery.
That’s the ultimate premise of Left of the Dial: you don’t have to spend the rest of your life in endless hell. You can heal.
Dr. Chatterjee in the above book details his 4 Pillars of Health: Relax – Eat – Move – Sleep.
This British M.D. is able to cure patients of disease without using medication.
The 219-page book I read in one day. I recommend loyal readers of my blog buy the book or at least check it out of the library.
For years now I’ve thought that who gets sick is random. It seemed like if the ball landed on your number in the Roulette wheel of ill health you’d become sick.
Now I know without a doubt that disease can often be caused by poor behavior and lifestyle choices.
In the coming blog entries I’ll talk in more detail about topics in How to Make Disease Disappear.
I care about readers. The route and routines to get to a life of fitness are often simple and cheap. Preventing disease is doable.
In the U.S. unfortunately the medical model is predicated on disease management instead of illness prevention. This has to change if we want people in society to be healthier and happier and wealthier.
The money we spend managing disease after it occurs would be better spent offering healthier food choices in the marketplace. It would be better spent on effective health campaigns.
In the book How to Make Disease Disappear Dr. Chatterjee tells readers point blank that traditional diet advice is wrong. For details about the right way to go about eating read his visionary book.
Each of us has to take our health into our own hands. We can’t rely on the government to have our backs as regards our health.
The book is only 219 pages. It’s an easy read.
No one else has written about this before either. Again I’m the first to tackle this dynamic in my blog. I want to talk about the truth about recovery.
Not everyone feels like they’ve recovered. This is the distinction. It’s an individual accounting of what your life is like.
In the 1990s I lived at home while I worked at a terrible insurance office job I was ill-suited to do. On paper it might have looked like I recovered because I had a j-o-b.
Only I told my mother: “I want a life.” She responded: “You have a life.”
Little did I know or could articulate then how my time on earth would be forever altered by moving to Brooklyn and becoming a mental health advocate.
It must have been in my subconscious that I understood there was more I was being called to do. Only trapped in that cubicle hell I couldn’t clearly see where the road ahead would take me.
This is partly why I think it’s a mistake to measure a person’s status solely by external markers of success like a house and car and job.
In the 1990s I hadn’t “recovered” in a way that was soul-enriching, life-affirming, and mood-elevating.
This begs for all of us the question: “What is recovery?”
Recovery should be a self-defined lifestyle. You should be the one who’s able to determine the direction of your life.
The question for each of us to ask is: “What kind of recovery do I want to have?” AND “What kind of life do I want to have?”
In the next blog entry I will talk about shifting the needle to the left on the VU meter of life–the theme of Left of the Dial. This is how I was able to live the kind of life I wanted to have.
I will talk about how to take action in the direction of your dreams.
For there are a myriad ways to recover–as multitudinous as there are people living in recovery.
I’ve installed the book Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness on my iPad.
The author has a number of physical illnesses that aren’t visible to the eye. Yet her advice could also help individuals living with mental health issues.
Her no-nonsense advice about when to disclose to a romantic partner is specific to those of us with physical woes. Yet it might just be good practice for those of us with mental health conditions too.
A therapist has told me not to disclose too quickly.
You can see my blog entry at the Left of the Dial blog for my take on this: reel the person in on your fishing line with your real self apart from the illness. After they’ve taken the bait, introduce mental health into your conversations.
Talk about how Kanye West has revealed he has bipolar. Talk about a person in your own life who has an emotional illness. Then bring up your own diagnosis in the bare-bones way. You don’t have to reveal every single detail of the symptoms you’ve had.
Ilana Jacqueline’s refreshing take on disclosing early in the dating game intrigued me though. How soon is too soon? How long is too long to wait?
It depends on what your gut or your intuition is telling you is the right time to reveal your condition.
Either way, Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness is a short yet informative read that I’m confident could benefit mental health peers in other ways too. Like for disclosing on your job and requesting a reasonable accommodation. And for creating a job where you can work from home.
Tomorrow morning I’m going to give this book 5 stars on Amazon.
I recommend this book without reservation.