Nina Cravioto is a mental health case manager, she handles issues with housing, health insurance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, and driving clients to food banks. She doesn’t have a degree, but she manages to overachieve quickly and effectively. She’s only been working there for a few months, but she knows everyone’s mannerisms and ticks already. When she arrived, she brought life and fun into the center. Conversations with her can either be extremely silly or serious as serious can be. However, her quirkiness and randomness never fails to entertain. The groups and activities she oversees at the Wellness Center are the most lively and welcoming ones.
How do you feel about mental illness and stigma? Ah... it’s still stigmatized. It needs more acceptance as a different way of thinking. And it’s not wrong.
Disclosing? I am not uncomfortable disclosing in Pasadena.
How do you feel about the level of awareness in LA and/or Pasadena ? I’m fortunate to be in Pasadena and LA. The diversity in background and experiences.
What correlation do you see between culture and stigma? I think culture makes a huge difference, especially immigrant culture. They tend to “worst defenders,” “outdated,” “not helpful,” and there’s more “more stigma.” They each are unique with their own approach.
How important is self-care to you? It is the first priority.
How do you define self-care? Self-care is helping the ultimate tool and only tool you have, which is your brain.
How do you practice it? Acupuncture. Listening to frequencies. Good sleep hygiene. Being alone. Mediation. Aligning chakras
Is there a difference between self-care and self-love to you?
No. It’s the same thing.
But for me, allowing self-care is hard to accept.
But you appear so confident.
I still look in the mirror sometimes and hate myself, so I find minutes pep talking myself.
How do you cope? What is your go to method and what is your most effective method? I cope with practicing self-care and comedy, and attempting to use humor.
My go to coping method is the Drag Race. Watching drag queens living their best lives.
But they’re scripted!
Shhh! Let me believeeee!
What is your mindset and attitude when you are able to cope vs. when you aren't? When I am able to cope, I appear extroverted, able to adapt, be a chameleon, and practice self-care, empowered and wants to empower others. When I am unable to cope, I am introverted, self-conscious, needy, and wanting affection.
How has your recovery been? What have you been doing to maintain to the process? What would you personally recommend?
I try to adapt to the situation.
What keeps you going? What keeps you from ending? Why do you keep trying? A lot of people look to me for strength. My kids. My family. My friends. My dad is a helpless man. What made you want to be a case manager? I get to be more hands on with people. Therapists need experience. Well, more experience. I started out as a peer partner. That was not as hands on. Peer partners are limited in what they can do. They can only offer support. I think case managers have more impact. They help with developing life skills. You don't necessarily need a degree. But you would need a competitive edge. Some advantage. Some experience. What started you in the mental health field? When I sought services. When I was diagnosed. I did research, and I realized that I wanted to do this everyday. This is my passion. I can also apply what I learned in my personal life. I can help others, learn about myself, and serve my purpose. We are diamonds polishing diamonds. I feel like people with mental illnesses are just diamonds who haven’t been treated right.
Which misconception do you despise the most? That having this... makes me untrustworthy. That I do not meant what I say. When I always mean what I say I am feeling.
What is one thing you want your family to know, one thing you want your peers to know, and one thing you want the public to know?
There is beauty beneath the madness and struggles. Mental illness is not a flaw. It is proof of your life on earth, that you’re human. Start with yourself. Love yourself. Once you find it, don’t let anyone else tell you it’s not beautiful.