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, January 6, 2015

Starting the Conversation

Many times limited information about mental illness leaves room for speculation and worry, which undoubtedly leads to fear, distancing oneself from discussions, and a poor outlook about the condition for oneself and the general public. However, a discussion about mental illness needs to be had to reduce confusion, isolation, and propaganda. Frequently, I share my story to reduce stigma and to promote the truth.

Whenever I share my testimony of living with schizophrenia I usually get a warm and familiar response that goes something like: 'I know so-and-so with schizophrenia... I wish I would have talked to you sooner because your story helps me understand mental illness more.' Hearing that rekindles my desire to further articulate my crisis history and present-day recovery to share hope and to reduce the lies- the lie that recovery is not possible, the lie that life is over if you have a diagnosis, and the most ignorant lie; the lie that we should not talk about it. 

Sometimes people are reluctant to ask me questions in the beginning because they don't want to get too personal, but I welcome the conversation because the discussion provides insight and understanding. For me, sharing my story is so therapeutic, it enables me to release the dreadful experience of living with the condition, but in a constructive manner. 

The misinformation circulated about schizophrenia and other mental illnesses have an invisible muzzle on that must be eradicated and destroyed. My hope is for society to remove that mouthpiece and to have a lively dialogue about the truth- the truth that people can and do get better living with mental illness, and that an individual like you, your relative, or your partner can live a fulfilling life in recovery. 

There needs to be a frank conversation about mental illness in order to reduce stigma, help others, and to break the cycle of suffering. Talking about my mental illness helps me and others to talk openly about our dark moments and hopeful life after crisis. 

To help start a conversation I encourage you to read my book, What's On My Mind? A Collection Of Blog Entries From "Overcoming Schizophrenia." Available in Paperback or e-Book online at Amazon.com.

Also, if you have a question about schizophrenia I encourage you to ask, you may also email me: ashley@emminc-recovery.org. 

Finally, I am inviting you to an event in Atlanta, Georgia where I will start a mental health conversation, Mental Health Day At The Capitol on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, 8AM - 12PM located at the Freight Depot, 65 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Atlanta, GA 30303. The deadline to register is January 15th. For details visit the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, Inc.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Enemy- Depression Or My Responsibilities?

How often do you confuse your mental health deterioration and physical ailments for your mental illness, opposed to the burdens that you put on yourself with an active lifestyle?

Over the past few months I've struggled with the physical ramifications of "depression," or what I thought was my depression. I've had partial work days as the result of my fatigue and lack of energy. I've felt: drained, off balanced, and uneasy. In fact, I visited my mental health doctor and primary care doctor for help. My mental health doctor realized my poor sleeping habits were the outcome of lack of direction or not taking my medication as prescribed which was in the morning and NOT at night. Finally, when my primary care doctor performed several blood tests without issues he explained to me what my problems were, an "active lifestyle."

Now, I know what I should do to help myself with this concern of lack of energy- continue to take my medication, resume taking vitamins and create more time for self care. I've struggled with managing my self care because I want to help those around me, so I lessen my "me-time" and volunteer additional support to peers at work and friends outside of work... I cannot continue on this routine. I spoke to a peer who is also in recovery and we plan to check in with each other to hold ourselves accountable to our new self care regimens. We've practiced this before but let it go, now I'm ready to pick up our check in routine to get myself back focused and well. Peer support helps a lot, and I need it again. I'm glad I have a better understanding of my problems and situation.

How do you balance your self care for good mental health?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Medication Schedule

Recently, I've had to revise my medication schedule. For the last two months I've had problems staying asleep, and I've been talking to my mental health doctor under monthly basis to resolve my poor sleeping habits. On the last visit we discovered I was taking one of my prescriptions at night when it should've been taken in the morning. In fact, my pill bottle said to take the medicine in the mornings, but I wanted to change my medication regimen for my convenience. However, I'm going back to a morning routine. I will set my cell phone alarm as a reminder to take my medicine before I leave the house. I am hopeful that this change will help me sleep better. It's interesting how small changes can either create big problems or solutions. I think my sleeping patterns will improve along with my energy level and ability to manage high productivity at work.

How do you manage your medication regimen to fit within your routine?