Acting Resilient

This is how I see things:

I think resilience is a skill that can benefit a person in recovery.

It hinges on thinking a setback can be temporary.

On not giving up and not resigning yourself to the status quo.

I was down for the count numerous times in my life and I got back up.

This is not easy. Recovering from a setback is not always quick and easy.

I’m skeptical that a person can rebound instantly.without any perspective as to what happened to them. You need to examine the setback to see how not to repeat the mistake.

If you ask me to be able to assess what got you in the mess and quickly resolve to do things differently is the way to effect change.

The definition of resilient is:

Tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

Sometimes you can’t spring yourself from a situation right away. In the interim It’s the consistent resilient habits that can be the gateway to success down the road.

As far as having a job I made the pivot to working in a public library instead of remaining in a law firm library

Opportunity is the door. You need to knock on it. Rather than waiting for a big break to come along.

Acting resilient just might be the way to get back on track. Or to shift tracks when you’ve outlived where you’re at right now.

In the next blog entry I’m going to review a peer-written book that was designed to empower readers living in recovery.

Action Plan

The Black Lives Matter Greater New York has indeed created an Action Plan for everyone to endorse.

You can view it on the Black Lives Matter Greater New York website.

Buried in the action plan that you can download is the reference to giving Americans a Universal Basic Income.

For quotes straight from those in this movement you can log onto their website.

There is also the Color of Change organization website with 1.7 Million members.

Campaign Zero is seeking an end to police brutality.

Alt 92.3 FM radio website has a list of books and resources too.

Wise Words in a Time of Tragedy

For decades I’ve been taken in with fashion and other magazines as a source of joy inspiration and information.

In fact I’ve learned a life lesson after reading the April 2020 issue of Harper’s Bazaar which can seem like an unlikely font of wisdom.

In the magazine Taylor Swift interviewed Taurus fashion model Gigi Hadid whose candid response illuminates a viable mode of “flying into action.”

I’ll quote Gigi here:

“I’ve realized over time that I feel the most free when I express myself, whether through action, writing, or talking it out.

Being honest always leads to something good, even if it takes a hard or awkward moment or conversation to get there; you can never go wrong with telling someone how you feel and speaking your truth.

And you always learn something from it.”

Isn’t this approach–honesty–the tonic for our time?

Nothing can be changed unless it is faced. An action plan is required.

New York State lawmakers have created a law criminalizing cops that use a choke hold. A cop’s disciplinary records will no longer be sealed from view.

In this case outrage provoked action.

People expressing their feelings through protest had the power to influence those in power to execute changes.

8 Minutes 43 Seconds

That’s how long the three other cops stood by without intervening.

The murder of George Floyd changes everything.

I’m upset like I haven’t been before. The death of Eric Garner in 2014 had set me off like you wouldn’t believe. How foolish to think it wouldn’t happen again.

Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo killed Garner in a choke hold on Bay Street on Staten Island.

The barest crime Eric Garner had committed was selling loose cigarettes.

Pantaleo’s defense attorney claimed Garner’s health–he had a medical condition–caused the death not the choke hold.

This must be why Garner’s murder upset me greatly:

I have a disability that could be used against me when I’m a victim.

Cops who respond on the scene kill people with schizophrenia.

I’m not so foolish to think that living in an affluent neighborhood I wouldn’t be shot dead by cops coming to my house.

This is why I have empathy for victims of police brutality:

It could happen to me. It could happen to any of us.

Racial justice and disability justice are allied movements.

Those of us with disabilities have not been exempt from police brutality.

It’s time to join together with Black Lives Matter to lobby for justice for our comrades.

Our Common Thread

Our Common Thread is also the title of the June/July 2020 Vogue devoted to Creativity in a Time of Crisis.

Photos and quotes of actors photographers fashion designers and others detailed what they were doing living through the pandemic.

Here’s what my quote would be:

Christina Bruni – Brooklyn

I take joy in cooking meals. I feel better when I eat well and break a sweat.

As consistently as possible I exercise 2x per week. Going outside for walks I stay far away from people who haven’t covered their open faces.

My joy is thinking of the coming summer. The chance to talk walk outside even though I might have to use a bandanna to cover my face.

Little things count for a lot like cleaning the bathroom once a week.

My goals have been put on hold. I have the privilege to be indoors doing what it takes to be well so as not to get infected with the coronavirus.

Grocery workers and hospital workers are on the job every day. Their robust efforts make it possible for someone like me to be healthy.

What I’ve thought while life has turned around like a Tilt-a-Whirl ride through this uncertain time:

Be grateful for what you have. You have everything right inside you that you need to succeed. Respect the natural world and the human beings living alongside you on this green and glorious earth.

Each of us gets only this life to live on this one planet. Live for today. Focus on the present moment before it’s gone.

Today is the greatest day. Only today matters.

The past had an expiration date–it ended. The future isn’t guaranteed.

Today is a gift to open and rejoice in.

Pay attention to the birds singing on your fire escape. Listen to the song of life.

There’s no safety in playing it safe. The path of least resistance leads to a dead end.

Choosing a Psychiatrist

I wanted to veer into topics specific to peers.

Who knows–maybe while living indoors you’ve thought about things and want to make some changes.

In the coming two blog entries I’ll list questions you can ask any psychiatrist.

In this entry I’ll start out by talking about my experience.

I was told it’s hard for a doctor to recommend another professional.

The M.D. has to know the patient’s history: their unique constellation of symptoms; track record with taking medication–and numerous other details.

In 2003 I researched the names of three doctors and called them on the telephone to screen them.

One shrink required that I sign a waiver of liability releasing him from any responsibility. Had a former patient sued him?

I thought: if he doesn’t trust me, how can I trust him?

Shrink #1: ruled out.

Doctor #2 operated out of a low-income clinic. The person who answered the phone told me point blank that I wasn’t a candidate for a low-income clinic. (I kid you not.)

M.D. #3 had decided to retire and no longer had a practice.

Dr. A was the final choice that a former friend recommended.

As soon as I entered his office and he shook my hand, I thought: “This is the guy I want treating me.”

He hadn’t even opened his mouth. He hadn’t even started the intake.

You should always go with your intuition. The first time I met Dr. A I grilled him in detail. I had walked into his office with a list of 20 questions.

I recommend grilling 2 doctors and then deciding the one you think is best.

In the coming blog entries I’ll give lists of questions to ask any M.D.

Coping with the Pandemic

I believe that the 5 Stages of Grief align with a lot of our responses to living indoors through the pandemic.

The stages are denial anger bargaining depression acceptance.

I’ve seen or heard no one else talk about these responses to grief.

For one the coronavirus is not a person. Yet it’s okay to have anger that the pandemic has disrupted your life.

A trouper like I am can be in denial about the effect sheltering in place has had on you.

Even while not in a clinical depression it’s also tempting to wear your pajamas all day during this extraordinary time when you’re home.

So like I said the 5 Stages of Grief could come into play.

I live in New York City which is the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.

My city will not reopen until June and this might be in late June.

I have empathy for anyone whose recovery has been impacted while living through the coronavirus outbreak.

It isn’t easy–to know that you are not alone can help you feel better about how you’re coping.

In coming blog entries I’ll give some tactics I’ve been using to power through.

Stirring the Sauce

Experiencing a plateau can be likened to stirring the sauce for Sunday macaroni supper. It will take time to heat up.

Sometimes engaging in a repetitive act is necessary. It can seem like you are not getting anywhere. What is the purpose of doing the same thing over and over?

It is to get in the groove of a healthy habit. The secret sauce you are simmering is your recovery. It could take years to get to where you want to be.

The Changeology book goal-setting method is a 90-day action plan comprised of 5 Steps:

Psych

Prep

Perspire

Persevere

Persist

Committing to executing the plan for 90 days can set in motion a healthy habit that lasts.

In coming blog entries I will talk about a couple goals I set that have stuck.

In fact living through the pandemic has made it easier for me to achieve these goals.

Soon it will be coming up on one year since I first started making these changes.

My own experience with setting these goals might empower you to go after your own goals with gusto.

Asking What If? and Why Not?

I turn 55 this spring. As I roll towards 60 and in light of the ongoing pandemic I’ve been thinking about my life and my goals. I’m not a person who expects most outsiders and even some family members to understand how hard it can be living in recovery.

Disability rights advocates frown on using the word “courageous” to describe how a person negotiates living with an illness.

I think courageous is the right word to use. It’s brave to demand equity in society when you have a mental health condition. The alternative is giving up hope and believing the lies we’re told about recovery not being possible.

I understand the need to fight to be taken seriously when you have an emotional illness.

I understand what it’s like to be given crumbs from the table passed off as nutritious food.

I understand that making your voice heard can be scary.

It’s only scary if you seek other people’s approval. It’s frightening to live in a world where you’re not given compassion.

Thus my claim years ago that people living in recovery deserve a Nobel Prize for the efforts we make to live life whole and well.

As an Author and Advocate I frame any premise for what I write in terms of asking these two questions:

“What if?” and “Why Not?”

Each of us should be asking ourselves “What if?” and “Why not?” as we start to set goals and embark on achieving them.

In the next blog entry I’ll begin talking about goal setting.