Making Changes at Mid Life

The takeaway–the life lesson– is that our lives aren’t over until God says they’re over.

Finding our right work–vocation–livelihood is like trying all the keys on a chain to see which one unlocks the door to true happiness.

Readers: I failed big time at a lot of things. I spent five years in the gray flannel insurance field just starting out–that’s my number-one infamous claim to having failed.

Getting to mid life gives us the chance to reexamine our path. It’s not ever too late to take action in the direction of our dreams–or in the direction of a new passion that arrives later in life.

I went to graduate school with a woman in her sixties–yes, she was going to school at 65!

I say: risk change–believe in tomorrow. I will talk soon about how one daring act when I was 46 totally turned my recover around for the better.

It’s not ever too late to make a positive change and see results.

Fifty and beyond is prime time.

I’ll tell readers now and always: set your sights higher. As best you can, refrain from believing anyone who tells you there’s no hope that your illness can get better.

Our lives can change for the better at any point along the way.

In the next blog entry I’ll tell you how I’m confident beyond a doubt that this is possible. I’ll talk about how other people have made this happen.

Schizophrenia Recovery at Mid Life

I turned 50 last year. It’s a time that’s so challenging for a lot of us–yet it helps to see our lives in a cheer-view mirror not a rear-view mirror.

It’s a life lesson to realize that as I wrote here and elsewhere we should give ourselves a “life line” for making our goals real instead of an impossible must-do-it-by deadline.

Face it: at 50 a lot of us mourn unrealized dreams. We should be embracing the future and living in the here and now instead. Always an alternative exists that is just as good as the original goal.

I had wanted to get a diploma in image consulting from FIT. This dream disappeared quickly along with my idea to take up running that could’ve been stamped DOA–dead on arrival too.

Whatever happens, we’re not always going to achieve a goal we set. We can end it with grace and move forward with the courage and resilience to choose a new goal.

This is because our lives aren’t over at 50. It’s a myth that EVERYONE diagnosed with schizophrenia dies 25 years earlier. A MYTH. My friend is 72 and has taken SZ meds since he was 13. I kid you not–he’s 72.

The life lesson I give readers is to not give up on yourself or settle for the path of least resistance.

There’s still time to make positive changes and see the benefits of improving your life no matter where you are in your recovery or how far you think you still have to go.

I say: act with grace and kindness towards yourself and others. There’s still far too much ongoing hate and violence in the world. We shouldn’t be giving critics and haters the power to influence how we feel about ourselves.

In the coming blog entries I will continue to talk about recovery at mid life.


Fight Like a Girl–or Guy

In her article the woman said she was upset that others talk about fighting their disability. She claimed the disability was part of who she was and that she fought discrimination instead.

This illustrates that for too long we’ve has to fight for our rights: for the rights other people take for granted that they have.

Normal people think nothing of having a home of their own and working at a job they love. Yet when you have a diagnosis you often have to fight to be taken seriously in your goal of living independently and having a career you love.

I’m willing to stand up for my rights and other people’s rights to live a life of dignity where we’re accorded kindness and compassion.

I say this because for too long our focus was misplaced. We often spend the earliest years of our recovery fighting the diagnosis and giving it power over us. Yet what you resist persists.

The moral of this story is: fight like a girl–or a guy. Stand tall. Walk proud.

In this regard: The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act in the House of Representatives was marked up and kept intact with every provision. Call or e-mail your congressperson to urge him or her to vote yes on making this bill the law.

A contingent of Democrats tried to water-down this bill so that in effect it wouldn’t help those of us with a chronic form of schizophrenia who need evidence-based treatment. Shame on you, whoever those Democrats were.

The Act has bipartisan support. Fighting for the right of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia to get effective treatment is one way to fight.

Right now I’m fighting against having to do the work of 10 guys in my Toms shoes to paraphrase the lyrics to a J. Lo song about her YSL stilettos.

My point is: nothing is going to change unless more of us have the courage to speak out against the crap: the crap that management covers up on the job; the crap we’re given in how others treat us; and the crap in terms of mental health treatment.

Gild it in gold: make it gold-plated on the outside: crap is still crap.

Disclosure on the Job

Every so often I’m going to write blog entries geared to information in Flourish.

Upwards of 70 percent of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia want to work and think they’re capable of holding a job.  Thus I’m going to present secrets to succeeding in the work marketplace.

A woman who wrote an article for Huffington Post claimed she doesn’t want to have to be twice as good as a person without a disability. She used a wheelchair.

“Honey,” I wanted to say, “You’d better be twice as good. Do it for yourself not for other people.”

There’s a lot of crap out there. That is people with a crappy work ethic. Do you really want to join the ranks of crap?

You might have to work with a guy who is not in his right head. Knowing that a rude co-worker without a mental illness who doesn’t do any work is celebrated and allowed to slack off, do you really want to disclose your mental illness in the workplace? Not so fast.

I’m a realist. I dream a world where more people can disclose without any repercussion. Yet I don’t live in this world. We’re not there yet in society. You have to prove yourself.

It’s true: that a co-worker with a defect will be allowed to be rude, to not do any work. Yet as soon as you try to be a slacker at work, don’t be so quick to think you’ll get the royal treatment like Mr. so-called normal does.

You won’t. It’s a double standard. I have been employed at jobs since 1990–going on over 25 years. It’s still dice-y to disclose in the workplace.

What can we do when we have to interact with people like this? I advocate for having a sense of humor.

Think about something positive about yourself that shines more brightly than the other person. Find something humorous about them. Whatever you have to do to feel better, try having a sense of humor about what’s going on.

Having a sense of humor will help you realize that “at the end of the day” you’re hot shit in your own way.

On the job, on the street, in real life, we’re all going to have to interact with slackers, with rude people, with people who live to twist our buttons.

Take the high road. Refuse to be pulled down onto another person’s level. Refuse to think you should be able to perform in the gutter too. It doesn’t work this way in the real world. You have to be twice as good.

You do it for yourself.You find humor in the situation.

The moral of this story is: Act like you’re hot shit–because you are. Like Queen Latifah urged: “Put on your crown.”

If you think you’re hot shit, it doesn’t matter what other people think of you and it doesn’t matter what other people do.

Act like royalty. Wear your crown with pride.