My name is Christina Bruni and I want to thank Ashley for allowing me to be a guest blogger at Overcoming Schizophrenia. I'm the Living Life columnist for SZ magazine and the community leader and expert blogger at HealthCentral's schizophrenia community Web site.
Life is not easy-it is not always, and sometimes it is not often-golden for those of us with SZ or another MI. The respect and compassion seemingly so freely given from one so-called normal to another is not routinely given to the neediest of us in society, who do our bravest and our best to manage our schizophrenia, to manage whatever life chose to give us.
I propose-as I have in my own blog, Left of the Dial-that we fight hate with love, we send those ignorant and fearful people a healing vibe, and wish them well. More than this, I submit we cannot afford to treat each other, as peers, with less than respect, dignity, compassion and AWE. Awe for what a great job each of us does to soldier on every day with varying levels of symptoms.
We each of us will have good days and not-so-good days, and this is how it goes for all of us, so-called normal or not. I choose optimism as a response; I want to keep up a positive spirit in the face of so much resistance, because certainly hope heals.
We can choose how we respond to stigma. It carries no weight with me. Every day I come in contact with so-called normal people who, without any known or verifiable diagnnosis, act like the worst stereotype of those of us who were locked up. While they do their thing, I tell no one I was once branded as having schizophrenia because I have been in the real back wards.
I admire how quickly Ashley committed to a life of advocacy so soon after her diagnosis. My own rocky road in recovery was long and winding, yet in 2002 I decided to become a mental health activist too. We can no longer afford to feel guilty and ashamed for having SZ when we have the best role models to inspire us in the recovery movement.
My buried secret-no longer a shame-will be revealed when my memoir, Left of the Dial, is published in the fall of this year by Vantage Point Books. I wrote the book-which focuses on recovery, not illness, to uplift and inspire all of you walking this road of recovery.
There is hope and there can be happiness and there can be harmony in your head-living with schizophrenia. I take my medication every day as prescribed and I credit this as the key to unlocking the door to my success. I share my story to encourage you to look on the bright side, to always be hopeful, to not be sad or upset when others in the world are not kind to you.
I understand how hard it is living with this diagnosis; it isn't easy.
We're all in this together-let's extend a hand to each other. Together we can win.
To go to Christina's blog click here.