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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The 8 Dimensions of Wellness

The Wheel of Wellness encompasses these 8 dimensions:

Physical:

Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods and sleep, regular physical examinations.

Environmental:

Promoting good self-health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being.

Emotional:

Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships.

Financial:

Satisfaction with current and future financial situations.

Spiritual:

Expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life.

Intellectual:

Recognizing creative abilities and strengths and finding ways to expand our knowledge base and our skills.

Occupational:

Personal satisfaction and enrichments from our work – paid or volunteer.

Social:

Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system.

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.