The Author

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
I am overcoming schizophrenia, and I believe others can too. Here is how I am managing my condition...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Five Ways To Gain Relief And To Cope With Voices

Today my co-workers and I offered support to our peer who was struggling with discouraging voices. She looked extremely overwhelmed and stressed. This was not the first time she sought relief with our help, however, each time we try to offer a caring hand during tough moments like this.  All three of us offered support to her in diverse ways that included:

  1. Repeat positive affirmations aloud, 
  2. Sing a song,
  3. Listen to soothing music,
  4. Give a hug, and
  5. Encourage prayer
One of the few affirmations we repeated was: "I am strong..." In addition to that we reinforced encouraging words by making positive statements about her triumph over the voices. As a group we recited the song: "Lean On Me." And we listened to a loving song on the internet through a cell phone- Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." Also, one of us was led to give her a hug, another recited a short prayer with her. Afterwards, she looked much better, and was able to go about her day; also we felt better knowing that she was in a better place with wellness.

Hearing voices can be tormenting. I remember hearing cruel voices that sounded like evil cartoon characters, however, I was convinced they were real and were coming from the people around me. The voices aggressively stated: "You will never make it!" "You are a dishonor to your family!" and other mean statements that did not make sense to me. Although I do not hear voices today, I occasionally cope with disturbing thoughts. When negative thoughts cross my mind I change my focus on reality at that moment, or create a "good' thought such as what brought me joy recently.

Currently, I work part-time as a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS). A CPS is an individual who is living in recovery with mental illness and mentors and advocates on behalf of peers with mental illness. Sometimes my work requires that I find alternative ways to offer support to others who are challenged by their symptoms and daily concerns with others. When helping another individual cope with voices the situation encourages me to act outside the typical role as staff member. This is a challenging task, but can be overcome. Today, my co-workers and I found five strategies to help our peer find relief from the voices. Therefore, I encourage peers, family members, and supporters to practice these five steps, but not in any order, instead go down the list until the individual gets relief.

What are some other ways someone can either cope with the voices alone, or support someone who is suffering with voices?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Finding Ways To Help Myself Cope With Daily Stresses

Lately, I've been under a lot of stress with work, volunteering, family life, and promoting my book. My mental illness seems to enable me to do what I want and need to do, but I feel I need to tweak my medication, because of my challenging thoughts and depression. Whenever I experience a lot of unwanted thoughts, anxiety, and a lack of motivation to keep my house neat I know I must focus on managing my stress. To help myself with the stress, this week I organized my work into one binder opposed to keeping a lot of folders and loose papers. It helped a little for my work environment. However, my mood and home environment are my most difficult concerns, because I am less accountable to keep a clean house, and I could make up a series of excuses as to why there is a mess.

Last week I cancelled my doctor's appointment because of a valid reason that I will not go into detail about. I will reschedule my appointment ASAP because I feel like some of my symptoms are gradually returning- the irritability, anxiety, lack of my motivation at home, and strange thoughts. I do a series of coping skills to help me cope with my daily stresses including listening to music, writing a journal, forcing myself to make time to talk to friends and to hang out with them even for a short while such as less than an hour.

Last month my work gave me an opportunity to go to the Atlanta Zoo. Initially I was not excited about going, however after I put myself in that environment I realized it helped me get out my box and to experiment with alternative activities. Even thought the rain encouraged me to leave the zoo early I enjoyed it and now I look forward to going back again this summer. Below are some pictures of my adventure at the zoo...









My NAMI Georgia Book Signing


NAMI Georgia Annual Conference, Mercer University (2014)

On April 26th I shared my recovery story and first book, What's on My Mind? A Collection of Blog Entries from "Overcoming Schizophrenia," at NAMI Georgia's annual conference at Mercer University in Atlanta, GA. This event enabled me to network with more individuals who advocate for those of us living with a mental illness. I had a great experience and really enjoyed talking to others who were from all over the state of Georgia, and support mental health awareness.

I have a speaking engagement and book signing with the NAMI Family Support Group at Lake Oconee, located at Lakeside Church in Greensboro,GA at 6:30 PM. I am looking forward to sharing my recovery experience and promoting my new book. Therefore, if you reside nearby come join us to hear my story in-person click here to see flyer. RSVP at NAMI.LakeOconee@gmail.com. My book is available on Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com