A personal note from Jeff Zinn
“By all indications, I was at the top of my game …”
I was a highly successful executive and business owner in the competitive apparel industry in New York’s Garment District. I made a lot of money, had a great family, owned 3 luxury cars and paid a hefty mortgage on a large house in the suburbs.
I was also 40 pounds overweight and drinking massive quantities of Maalox for acid reflux. I had high cholesterol, eczema, psoriasis, gout and sleep apnea. My behavior was increasingly extreme, erratic and manic, which began to alienate my family, friends and colleagues.
One day my wife dragged me to see a psychiatrist ─ I thought for marriage counseling. Minutes later, I was escorted by 2 police officers and admitted to the psychiatric hospital across the street.
I was in the throes of a full-blown psychotic episode.
I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder, treated with prescription drugs and released after 5 days. I lost my business. My wife filed for divorce. And worst of all, my sons became frightened of me. Homeless and broke, I drifted to California, experimented with holistic treatments and tried to launch a “visionary” and heavily financed internet venture. Disaster ensued, coupled with another psychotic episode.
At rock bottom, I began to earnestly study gratitude and positive intentions.
I soaked in the concept that you need to give to others in order to receive. I learned to appreciate the gifts of family and true friends instead of focusing on material losses. I surrounded myself with people who truly care about others – and seek to change the world. I began to understand how I could affect positive change for myself and for others.
And I learned Recovery tools.
I volunteered in mental health clinics and went back to school to earn a Certificate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Today, as a professional speaker, it’s my story of living with a mental disorder, my documentary, and my Recovery tools that I now share with providers, mental health organizations and the general public. My message? When treatment and Recovery go hand-in-hand, one can discover inner peace and happiness.
It is possible to live in Recovery from mental illness, with a life of peace, joy and purpose. I am living proof.
Jeff Zinn’s education and career highlights:
- UMDNJ Scotch Plains, NJ, Certificate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation
- NAMI Monmouth County, NJ, Support Group Training
- CSP-NJ Wellness Coaching, Freehold, NJ, Certificate in Wellness Coaching
- University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, Communications and Psychology courses
- Aurora Mental Health Center, Family Peer Specialist
- NAMI Colorado, In Our Own Voice, Speaker
- Colorado Mental Wellness Network, Board Member
- Mental Health America of Colorado, Auction Committee for Annual fundraiser
- University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ, Peer Support Specialist
- Freehold Self-Help Center, Freehold, Group Facilitator
- NAMI Monmouth County, NJ, In Our Own Voice, Speaker
- Director of Sales/USA, Sport Collection of Canada! New York, NY
- Co-owner, Rebecca Jones, New York, NY
- President, CM Shapes, New York, NY
Jeff draws on personal experience, punctuating his keynotes and workshops with actual video of his illness.