Book Review: Left of the Dial
Recovery is often a long and winding process to get to a better life for yourself. Pit stops and detours along the way are common. You have to believe in yourself even when others do not. A greeting card my mother gave me boldly asserted: Nothing Succeeds Like Persistence.
In here shortly, I will write a Recovery Strategies SharePost about persistence. Quite simply, it’s a fancy word for one simple, effective strategy: taking action every day in the direction of your dreams. Even if you don’t have the faith that things will turn out well, even if you sometimes lose hope for ever getting where you want to be, getting up every day and taking action inoculates you from despair because you’re one step closer to victory.
My goal since early on in my recovery was to publish my memoir, Left of the Dial, to dramatize that getting the right treatment right away results in a better outcome. Research proves this and often when individuals are treated in the prodromal stage they require lower doses of medication.
I’m happy to tell you that Left of the Dial is available for sale on Amazon. A Kindle e-book version will be available in February or early March. You can go on my Left of the Dial Amazon page for more information.
I turn 50 in April. In 1987, when I was 22, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia after I had a sudden breakdown after graduating college that June. Shunted into a community mental health system ill-equipped to help a young person like me, who had so much potential, I fought to be taken seriously in my goal of living on my own and getting a full-time job.
I was hospitalized within 24 hours of my break, given medication, and the symptoms had stopped completely three weeks later. Nowadays, sick individuals are turned away from the hospital and sent back out into the community where they decompensate further, often irrepairably.
As an author, I employ a sense of humor throughout the narrative. The book is a game changer in the schizophrenia memoir field because it gives hope to readers that getting immediate treatment halts ongoing disability. Unlike the other SZ memoirs where the authors revolved in and out of hospitals for decades, and went on near-endless drug holidays that failed, my narrative focuses on the positive.
It’s not easy living with schizophrenia, and the road is often hard, yet getting early effective treatment can make your life easier if not totally a walk in the park.
One reviewer of the book liked its “verve” and “graphic detail.” Another reviewer said it was “at times heartbreaking, yet always from the heart.”
My goal as a mental health activist is to reinforce the message that early intervention results in a better outcome. Research on early intervention programs demonstrates that symptoms can be stopped and these efforts can halt the progression into total disability.
The book title is taken from my days as a disc jockey on college radio in the 1980s. WSIA, 88.9 FM broadcast left of the commercial end of the FM dial. The music played on the airwaves was alternative. As a disc jockey, I would read the VU meter to measure the level of the sound intensity. The sound is in balance when the needle is near the left.
That’s how and where I choose to live my life: Left of the Dial, with my feelings and thoughts on an even keel. Left of the Dial signals you can live a life in balance too: one of joy and satisfaction even though you face challenges.
You’re in for a treat when you read my book. My upbeat message reinforces that “Yes, You Can” do what you want to even though you have a diagnosis of schizophrenia. You can have your own version of a normal life just like people who don’t have a mental illness.
You can be whole and well even though you have an illness. Illness is not the absence of wellness. You can find wellness inside the illness.
Interested? Log on to the Left of the Dial Amazon page for more information.
There, you can read part of the first chapter and read all the editorial reviews.
This month-the start of 2015-marks the beginning of my 9th year as the Health Guide at this HealthCentral website. I have SharePost topics planned through this June.
2015 in my eyes is going to be a great year for all of us. A Happy New Year to you. And thank you for tuning in here at Health Central since I started in 2007.
Recovery is possible. Always be hopeful, because hope heals.
Christina Bruni wrote about schizophrenia for HealthCentral as a Patient Expert. She is a mental health activist and freelance journalist.