THANKSGIVING REFLECTION

A TOOL I HAVE BEEN REPEATEDLY ADVISED TO USE IN MY PERSONAL RECOVERY IS TO WRITE DOWN ALL THE BLESSINGS IN MY LIFE. In the tradition of Thanksgiving I am going to write about some of the highlights of my journey into the light of RECOVERY.

On Aril 2, 2009, (would have been my Mother’s 84th birthday) I was strapped to a gurney on 8th Ave and 40th street in Manhattan and forcibly brought to St. Vincent’s Mental Hospital for emergency room intake. I was than sent to the ward for two weeks. The journey to the hospital is the most fascinating and unbelievable story of my life. I have shared this with only my closest family members, long time friends, and of course necessary mental health providers. I will share that with my subscribers in the near future along with incredible footage, which lead me to downtown NYC,

After my hospitalization the universe directed me to National Association on Mental Illness, (NAMI) connection group in Freehold, NJ. That night I met my first gatekeeper and mentor into the world of recovery. I walked into a room of 10 people thinking I was smarter, more “normal”, and overall better than any of them. I walked away thinking the reverse. Unlike me, these individuals were facing their illness head on and were willing to talk about it. Their strength was more resilient than my deadly focus for orders from my unsuspecting buyers in the women’s apparel industry. The man who was facilitating the group was to become my inspiration, mentor and friend. Jay Yudof encouraged me to become an In Our Own Voice, (IOOV) speaker, Peer-Connection Facilitator, and introduced me to Collaborative Support Network of New Jersey, (CSPNJ). This non-profit organization would change my life forever. Hmm, does everything you do change your life forever? “Coincidence is G-ds way of staying anonymous.” Beryl Wolk would repeatedly say.

Jay familiarized me with the definition of Recovery. I was being treated for my diagnosis for 8 years but none of the numerous hospitals, psychiatrists, psychologists or caseworkers ever mentioned that word. I believed that word saved my life. For the first time since my initial psychotic break in Jan/2001 I began to focus on, becoming a contributing member of society, set and accomplish goals, and improve the quality of my life. I had a purpose for living. JUST GET BETTER!

It was at this time that I was introduced to Peggy Swarbrick. To my knowledge, one of the most respected wellness coaches in the world. She is a strong advocate for the wellness wheel, peer-support and a leader in Psych Social Rehab. Peggy instructed me on how to be a wellness-coach and encouraged me to attend the University of Dentistry and Medicine of New Jersey, (UMDNJ) to obtain my Psych Social Rehab Certificate, (PSRC)

A personal transformation of incredible proportion began. My instructors from UMDNJ, Nora Barret, MSW, CPRP and program director, Lou Ann Librera, MA, CPRP and Peter M. Basto, MS, CPRP were brilliant, caring, and were exceptionally talented Professors. My classmates all bonded for the year and a half and we still stay in touch. My metamorphis from being a ego centered women’s garment center executive to a leader in the peer movement was taking shape.

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