Surf on over to my Left of the Dial blog to read an entry about the absolutely gorgeous Nike video with Colin Kaepernick. You can view the short film on YouTube.
The video is uplifting and inspiring. In one way I feel like I have a connection to Serena Williams and the others featured in the film. Like the lyrics to the Lorde song “Royals” each of us came from nothing spectacular and rose up to become winners.
When you have a diagnosis of schizophrenia or another mental health issue you’re told that you succeeded “despite having” schizophrenia.
Your achievements have most likely come via your own efforts. Yet minimizing your role in your success discounts how hard you worked.
In keeping with the Nike claim to be “The Greatest Ever” each of us needs to base our identity on who we are as a person not on what our illness is.
What if who you are is a biker, baker, or book lover?
Being defined by your symptoms locks you into what I call an identity straitjacket.
Using your illness as the barometer of your abilities is a mistake.
It’s quite the opposite: people can and do recover every day.
It can seem like it’s out of the ordinary to succeed when you have a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Yet telling people they have succeeded or thinking people succeed despite having schizophrenia reinforces the myth that this is a rare occurrence.
I’m trying to publish an Op-Ed piece soon timed to October–Disability Employment Awareness Month.
I’ll give the link here if (I hope when) the Op-Ed piece is published online.
I’m confident when I tell you that being The Greatest You is all that counts.