Meet Cristi Bundukamara – Interview with Shoutout Colorado
Meet Cristi Bundukamara | Founder of Mentally STRONG
June 8, 2023
We had the good fortune of connecting with Cristi Bundukamara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cristi, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Even though I have 20 years of professional mental health experience and I am a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, I attribute my success to my real life experiences. Life is filled with joy and pain, in varying degrees for different people. I have had my share of both and recognize that people are immensely resilient. My story began when my husband and I, after having two children, wanted to give back and adopted five children from the foster care system in Miami Dade County, Florida. Tragedy struck when one of our children died in a drowning accident. We weren’t able to fully grieve before finding out that our biological son, Reggie, had a rare neurodegenerative terminal condition, which we later found out that my husband and daughter also have it. While dealing with this news, I juggled my professional career, endless hospital appointments, and numerous therapy programs. Meanwhile, the adopted siblings began manifesting their deep seated pain and suffering of their past. Having no time for professional support, I had to learn to help myself. My story of hardship and joy is what allowed me to create The Mentally STRONG Method. The Mentally STRONG Method is a formula to say I am Mentally STRONG, a type of cognitive restructuring anyone can learn, and I want to share it with you.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The Mentally STRONG Method is a simple and practical do-it-yourself method for creating sustainable mental strength. The Mentally STRONG Method utilizes a scientifically based Cognitive Behavioral Approach (CBA) to help you identify your thoughts, feelings, actions, choices, and behaviors, and understand the impact they have on your life. With The Mentally STRONG Method, you will learn how to map your thoughts in relation to your story and your past. The insight you gain will empower you to develop a meaningful vision for yourself. We know that you ARE Mentally STRONG, and we can all learn to be Mentally STRONGer!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Garden of the God’s is always the first on my list to show people in Colorado Springs. We would hike, horseback ride, or even take motorcycles. The Garden of the God’s Café has healthy delicious food and overlooks the beautiful scenery. I would take them to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, because it’s a unique experience. I would definitely take them to Havana Grill, because it reminds me of home!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to recognize my sister ,Jada, who is my Mentally STRONGer Together support person. This beautiful relationship actually started in childhood because it’s my baby sister. She is twelve years younger than I am so our adult relationship started in 2011 when she moved home from college to help find a cure for Reggie as DRPLA started to take him away. We hung out, we trained for a triathlon and she supported me in my grief. The Mentally STRONG Method wasn’t fully developed but I would often map my feelings and share them with her.
I was just beginning to struggle with my trust in God. I am a born again believer and was doing everything “right” and my challenges and grief continued to escalate. My sister’s spiritual journey was very different from mine, but regardless, we bonded even closer over our relationship and over our individual desire to have an authentic relationship with God. This is why The Mentally STRONG Method encourages you to explore your relationship with God, but discourages a proselytizing doctrine, rather meeting people where they are.
My sister moved to Illinois and our family eventually moved to Colorado in an attempt to save Reggie. Whenever my sister and I had the opportunity to share, our relationship was mutually beneficial. I would share how The Mentally STRONG Method was being developed and she was always excited about what this could be.
When the opportunity arose to be a part of Mentally STRONG and the advancement of The Mentally STRONG Method as a Solution, she was all in. We have since spent hours encouraging one another using the Mentally STRONG Method.