I diverge from commonly accepted writing on disability.

My sense of humor and my inviolable belief that most people diagnosed with schizophrenia can recover or at least have a good life runs contrary to the missives that disability advocates have established as their platform: hell-and-heartache as the norm not the exception.

A pdoc told me that train wreck stories attract advertisers and eyeballs to the websites hosted by PsyD. types that attack people who comment otherwise about the possibilities of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia.

I’ve been attacked for stating that upwards of 85 percent of those of us diagnosed with schizophrenia can reach the stabilization, stable, or recovery stages of this illness. Fifteen percent have refractory symptoms. Ten percent commit suicide which is too high a number as it is.

Individuals who have anosognosia, or the lack of awareness that you have an illness, still can go on to have a functional lifestyle where they are engaged in life with friends, a girlfriend or boyfriend, and other pursuits.

Success in life is a personally defined measure and other people can’t define whether or not we’re successful. We deserve to reach for our own version of the brass ring without having so-called experts tell us a good life isn’t possible and that we should give up trying.

The sense of ongoing negativity that pervades the media and is entrenched on Internet mental health websites is not something I approve of. I will use my voice to speak out.

My memoir, Left of the Dial, tells a different story. A story of hope.

Whether you or anyone else gets to do what I’ve done is not the point and it’s not relevant.

The point is: a life of disability doesn’t have to be the norm.

You don’t have to buy what the media is selling as the irrefutable destiny of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia: hospital-hopping, homelessness, and revolving in and out of jails.

I told the pdoc: “Why was I able to get help when countless others are turned away?” “That’s a good question,” he said.

Now more than ever, everyone living in society needs to hear positive stories of what happens when a person gets the right help, right away.


Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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