Clarity of Thought

A young, bright-eyed woman in the audience at the book talk I did tonight asked how I maintained clarity of thought when the paranoia, the symptoms, threatened to come on.

I told her that in the NAMI Peer-to-Peer education course she could create a relapse prevention plan to document the tell-tale signs you’re headed for a crash and things you can do to try to stop it from happening.

Too: I said that when I turned 35, I decided I wanted to live my life in public service and to be a mental health activist. Thus I decided to keep healthy so I could live the message I was giving others. That if I wanted to uplift and inspire others, I had to practice wellness in my own life.

It wasn’t until I arrived home that I hit on a brilliant solution for maintaining clarity of thought: wanting to be your authentic self and living true to yourself. In other words, the illness robs you of your true self, not the medication. I told her I didn’t ever want to return to a life where I was out of control.

Illness robs us of our creativity. Patti Duke, who I quoted before, tells others that treatment only enhanced her talent.

Think of it this way: staying in treatment gives you the opportunity to be your glorious self, not a broken-down shell of who you used to be.

You can reclaim yourself along with your mental health.

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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