Saturday, April 3, 2010

To Dare Greatly


I wanted to move in another direction:

I've decided to get a diploma in image consulting. This is a dream of mine I want to accomplish more than anything.

This month I'm working on writing projects.

In the fall I give a talk at a mental health conference. This will be something to put on a resume. I wish I could be a motivational speaker full-time alas publishing the books takes priority now.

In May I will be doing research for the second book and I want to have the bulk of another chapter complete by June 1st.

This writing life is my fate: I was born to write.

This reminds me of the slogan: that some women were born to shop. I ordered a pair of green jeans and a pair of white jeans and a spring jacket.

It is my great dream to study to become an image consultant.

Life will continue. What a good life it can be.

I still feel days later that the goal is self-improvement.

You must take it when you're given the chance.

I have this conversation with another woman often.

How I would do volunteer work if I couldn't work.

Though it didn't cross my mind to give up because I wanted to win. Once I worked in an office and I told the guy I worked for that I played to win. He said, "So you think winning is everything?" He didn't understand: to me there is no halfway effort.

That is because I have schizophrenia and I had an extra hurdle to clear. God gives us these hurdles. We emerge stronger on the other side.

You don't understand? Don't take my word for it. Take Theodore Roosevelt's:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

The quote has stayed with me since 1987 when my management professor in college gave all the students in his class that quote on a wallet card.

Some things you take with you throughout your life like the Theodore Roosevelt quote. They leave an indelible impression.

In recovery as in life there are no guarantees. You do the best you can knowing your best will change from day to day.

I've read that upwards of 75 percent of the people diagnosed with schizophrenia want to work. In a Boston University study of sustained employment among people with psychiatric conditions diagnosis had no bearing on a person's ability to do a job.

The changes might come slowly. Piano piano. I want to use my talents to help other people recover. That to me is the greatest good I could do in this lifetime.

How now:

I will use my background in image consulting to help peers look for work clothes when they go on interviews and find jobs.

I would tell anyone that the prime reason I recovered is that I found the careers I love.

Now then:

I abhor learned helplessness.

No counselor or therapist or professional should ever dissuade their clients from taking a risk to achieve a goal. I was lucky no one I worked with ever told me I couldn't do what I wanted to do. I would consider that to be unethical. It might take longer or you might have to come at it a different way yet always a dream is within reach when it's modest and realistic.

Of course you might ask: define modest. define realistic. I grant you that. It varies for each person setting her own particular goal.

I want to be a change agent in the world. I know that by going to work I reduced the impact of my disability. You can't argue with that. People with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses can take action to live well considering they have a diagnosis.

It begins with the desire to do this.

Quite simply I hope I can inspire others to desire to set goals and make positive changes.

To light their fire.

I will end here because this is the only way I can end this blog entry.

I have such hopes for everyone on earth.


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