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Showing posts from 2009

Back on Track

I am going back to school in January 2010. I am very excited about this opportunity and this new challenge. Prior to my diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia I dropped out of college because of many stresses. Since then I have attended a junior college and now I am transferring to a four-year university to get my bachelors degree in marketing. I have overcome many hurdles to get to where I am now and I am very proud. Because of my mental illness I plan on taking a light course load.

However, I will continue to maintain my blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia, and my support groups with Embracing My Mind, Inc. To ensure success at my endeavors I will continue to attend group therapy and cooperate with my mental health professionals by taking my medication regularly, keeping appointments, and communicating needs.

This is huge ya'll! Going back to school has been my goal ever since I stopped attending college in 2007. I am moving forward in my life and in my recovery, and I am very happy!!!

Re…

Positive?!

Someone commented on one of my posts and implied that I was too positive. There will be ups and downs for the individual living with a mental illness as well as for their family and/or caregiver.

However, I am at a very positive state in my life right now, but it has not always been the case. To tell you the truth I went through hell to get to where I am now, and I've written many blogs on the horrible experiences I've encountered while living with this illness!

Can you imagine being watched constantly, and everyone around you are after you? And you are scared because you are outnumbered!

I had a nervous breakdown at the age of 20, I heard voices, saw strange people, and was disoriented. Psychosis led me to do something stupid and that incident led me to jail and to the state hospital for five months. Prior to this incident I never went to jail or committed a crime.

I isolated myself during that time in my life from everyone. I even told my mother I didn't want to see her an…

Thanks

I ended one of my groups the other day by going around the room and letting people share what they are thankful for.(I lead closed groups, not open to the public, at various facilities).

I am thankful that I am able to function well, organize, research, and to lead groups. As you probably already know, if you follow this blog regularly, I have come a long way to get to where I am now. In the past, schizophrenia tried to hinder me, take away my speech, make it hard for me to recognize family, and almost kill me by my excessive paranoia and determination not eat or drink. But now, I have hold on my brain disorder; I take my medication regularly, I continue to learn more about different mental illnesses, and I have support of family, friends, and health professionals.

What are you thankful for?

If you have a mental health concern such as schizophrenia, you are not alone, I can understand you. If you are a caregiver, family member, or friend of someone living with a mental illness believe t…

Stereotypes- A Voice or a Sound We Should Ignore

Society has programmed many people living without mental illness to believe that those living with mental illness are bad. The media has played a huge role in brain washing people to think negatively about other people with brain disorders. They cannot do the same things I do, they are violent, they are crazy, the people without mental illness are led to believe.

And, many people with mental illnesses believe these lies. The people with mental illnesses limit their goals and believe they cannot lead a productive, independent, full life in many instances as a result of stigma.

DO NOT LISTEN TO THAT VOICE (the stereotypes). An individual with mental illness can and do accomplish many things despite mental health concerns. In fact, people that have a mental illness should use these stereotypes as motivation to overcome them. For those of you living with a mental illness I hope you will challenge yourself and excel at it.

At one point, I was not functioning well. I did not speak, bath, eat,…

HOPE: The Strength to Overcome

It has been two years since I was released from the institution, in jail and in the state hospital, in California. After my release I was thirsty for knowledge about my illness, schizophrenia.

I remember going to the nearby pharmacy to get a prescription and then doing research on the computer on schizophrenia. I got involved in an outpatient treatment facility, called Providence Community Services: Catalyst, in San Diego through a referral from my social worker in jail.

At that point I did not have a clue that I would strive to help others with mental health concerns by sharing my experience on a blog or leading groups. I did not even know what blogging was or that I could start my own non-profit organization.

Catalyst was awesome. They provided a clubhouse, Oasis, that offered several groups and services such as Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), help finding employment, and cooking classes among several other services. I really grew there mentally. I got back into college and was …

Never Lose Hope In Dealing With Your Fears And Depression

By: Stanley Popovich

When your fears and depression have the best of you, it is easy to feel that things will not get any better. This is not true. There is much help available in today's society and the best way to deal with your fears is to find effective ways to overcome them. As a result, here are some techniques a person can use to help manage their fears and anxieties.

You never know when the answers you are looking for will come to your doorstep. Even if the thing that you feared does happen, there are circumstances and factors that you can't predict which can be used to your advantage. These factors can change everything. Remember: we may be ninety-nine percent correct in predicting the future, but all it takes is for that one percent to make a world of difference.

Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make you feel fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that w…

Psychiatric Labels

I hate the term "Schizophrenic" because it identifies the person by the illness and not by their character. I mean, I understand when people use the term they do not intend to offend anyone, just state in the illness (in its rawest form).

While watching a lecture the other day I was oblivious to what was being said because I could not get over the term "Schizophrenic". I thought the professor should have been more careful with wording because someone, like myself, may be listening to the speech. But should I really let it get me? It's just a label, right?

This is what other groups are saying about the term, Asylumonline.net states: "To be labelled ‘a schizophrenic' is one of the most devastating things that can happen to anyone. This label implies dangerousness, unpredictability, chronic illness, inability to work or function at any level and a lifelong need for medication that will often be ineffective (Whitaker 2005)".

In addition, an October 9, 2…

Your Not Forgotten

Hello Readers,

Thank you for following this blog. Lately, I've been busy with my new program for my non-profit, Embracing My Mind, Inc.

The program offers mental health education, coping skills, and stress management among several other things to study about mental illness. These are closed meetings, however, I plan on opening meetings to the public in Atlanta in January 2010.

Thank you for your support.

Ashley

Mind Over Matter - Catatonic

The mind is so amazing and powerful it is a terrible thing to lose...

Imagine not eating for a week or more. Or even drinking water and being hospitalized several times just to keep you alive. At first, you are hungry, however, as time passes you no longer have an interest in food or drink. You do not even have hunger pains! Eventually you do not have to relieve yourself.

You are confined to your bed, not because you are tied down, but because your mind is not functioning properly. You are frozen in time, you do not move a muscle (literally). Your mind is wasted- all the education, memories, and daily functions are not registering; sometimes you hear those around you sometimes you don't- you are catatonic.

Imagine going to court and having to be strapped down because you refused to wear shoes. Or even, not noticing your own mother, grandfather, and aunt in the courtroom with you. Or, even noticing you were in court sitting before a room full of people that are deciding your future. …

Is Treatment Optional?

Is treatment optional? That is one of a few questions I asked the group the other day. For me, treatment is not optional, because in the past I made a poor decision that was costly.

During my nervous breakdown, I was extremely confused and paranoid. I did not recognize which trolley/train to get on although I rode public transportation many times before. I sought a newspaper because I did not even know the date! I was a mess. Moreover, I thought everyone was interested in me and out to harm me. I began trying to disguise myself by removing my glasses and anything that identifies me such as my Bible, which I carried with me everywhere.

As you may have read in an earlier blog entry, I thought I saw demons. They were everywhere! In all the people around me. I was outnumbered and could not escape. And then I saw a sitting truck with the door wide open and the keys in them. Aha! I thought, this is a blessing from God and my way to escape everyone. I got into the truck and started driving. i …

EMM Jump Starts First Support Group Meeting

Good news:Embracing My Mind launched its first support group, Strengthening Each Other, at the mental health center yesterday, and it went very well.

Group participants engaged in group by sharing their personal testimonies and reading the handouts out loud. My therapist co-facilitated the meeting with me and we took turns asking participants questions related to the exercises.

We studied my personal experience with schizophrenia by reading an earlier blog entry, "What is Schizophrenia to Me," from Saturday, March 7, 2009. Some of the topics we discussed was medication an option? Symptoms and stigma. For example, I portrayed extreme paranoia that led me to stop eating and showering because I thought someone was trying to poison me, and also tamper with my soap causing it to burn my skin. Stigma was mentioned when I recalled I was turned down in housing, the potential landlord assumed I would be too stressed to live there.

The great thing about group was the members could re…

NAMI Georgia Training (Peer-to-Peer Education)

As some of you may have read in the previous blog entry I participated in NAMI training this past weekend, and it was great! The training was set in place so consumers can teach a nine-week course for other consumers about mental illnesses and recovery. The course is called "Peer-to-Peer Education". Now I am a Recovery Education Mentor, (Yay!). NAMI provided the hotel for three nights, as well as lunch and dinner (the hotel provided breakfast). The training was Friday through Sunday. The actual training took place at a local Atlanta university, so it was very nice. Overall, it was the people that made the training great.

There were all sorts of people at the training. Some with their own businesses, others with full-time jobs, and degrees in various fields. They were inspiring to me because despite their mental illness they were able to achieve their goals- running marathons, helping others with mental illnesses, being certified peer specialist, and achieving recovery.

We enga…

Overcoming Schizophrenia Blog Anniversary (Yay!)

Dear Reader,

It has been one year since I started the Overcoming Schizophrenia blog (Yay!) and we have learned a lot about schizophrenia and other mental illnesses together. In short, I have blogged about the gender differences in schizophrenia, hardship with health insurance companies, myths and stereotypes, dating and relationships, and of course, my bizarre encounters when schizophrenia took over and portrayed the other side of Ashley (i.e., confusion, anger, fear, denial,etc.).

Again, I learned of my paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis in the summer of 2007 when I had an unfortunate situation that led to my arrest, hospitalization, and eventual recovery stage. Since then, I have experienced independent living with other women with mental health concerns, reuniting with my immediate family, and volunteering with various non-profit organizations; and starting a support group, Embracing My Mind.

I continue to take medication to help cope with the symptoms of schizophrenia, (i.e., for me,…

How Can I Support Someone with Persecution Delusions

Recently, a reader asked how to support, or what to say to someone who has persecutory delusions and confides in them. I thought this question was profound. By investigating this question it could help so many people maintain or develop a trusting relationship with their relative, friend, or client, etc. I asked the opinion of my therapist, and she gave some pointers and asked me to remember a time when I was psychotic and what could someone have said to me to make me feel more comfortable...

When I was at my peak of psychosis everything was a sign from God- that truck making a U-turn meant go back, that taxi cab driver telling me to stay out of trouble meant he was in on it too. While I was psychotic I heard conflicting voices. When I would ask someone a question on the phone the voices would give different information. I was extremely paranoid. And almost everyone was a threat. I couldn't confide in relatives because they would tell my secrets, I couldn't trust friends becaus…

Horror Movie Sends False Message of Mental Illness

I saw the movie Orphan last night with an old friend, the movie was good, however, it links mental issues to violence which is not okay. I am not going to say too much about the movie for those of you who are interested in viewing the movie, but that the little girl had a history of violence and mental issues. The message the movie made was that people with mental health issues are extremely violent.

This is what puts fear in our neighbors, coworkers, friends, etc. For instance, a while ago an associate from the neighborhood was commenting that he and his daughter do not associate with their neighbor because he has schizophrenia. When I heard this I wanted to jump out and tell him my mental health status to prove that people with schizophrenia are friendly and upright individuals because I am not weird or violent.

Why can't the girl just be a violent person and drop the whole mental illness scenario excuse? Nowadays, people are snapping on people and committing murders because they …

Serious Mental Illnesses?

I was discussing mental illness with an associate and the question came up, what makes mental illness serious? In short, serious mental illness includes: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and borderline personality disorder. My associate said, 'all mental illnesses are serious'. What do you think? What about eating disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and others?

According to the Vermont Department of Corrections Agency of Human Services serious mental illness is "substantial disorder of thought, mood, perception, orientation or memory, any which grossly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, diagnoses of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, psychotic conditions not otherwise specified, bipolar disorder, and severe depressive disorders.&q…

Medication is Imperative

Taking medication can be a huge challenge for some individuals. I am a strong supporter of getting treatment to help overcome mental health concerns. Before, I recognized I had a mental illness I refused treatment to my own detriment. I got so sick I refused food, showers, speaking, and living. I was like a vegetable. Now, I recognize my illness and understand the importance of medication.

Many people do not accept their diagnosis. How can a person support them as they recover? What can they say to get an individual to try taking their medication regularly?

Even now, after accepting my mental illness and taking medication voluntarily, I struggle with the following concerns:

1) Running out of medication
2) Forgetting to take medication
3) Reapplying for an assistance program
4) Trying to get samples until my order arrives
5) Not having enough money to get medication

And the list could go on. I have learned from these experiences that to get medication I could develop a routine in order NOT t…

Closer to Recovery Part III

Recovery for me began when I accepted my diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia almost two years ago, in 2007. Since then I participated in a few support groups, lived in an independent living establishment for people with mental health concerns, and I continue to take my medication voluntarily on a regular basis. The medication allows me to focus and to do what I want and need to do. It is a blessing to have such advanced knowledge to help people overcome mental illness! I hope someone will find a cure for schizophrenia and other mental illnesses so that I don't have to remember to take my medication. I wouldn't have to be put in a separate category as vulnerable or different from the average person because of my mental illness.

The recovery process has taught me a lot about myself and continues to educate me about mental illness. As I said before, I did not even know what schizophrenia was until it became a part of my life. I am glad I recognize what is going on with me, and wha…

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (July)

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) the US House of Representatives assigned the month of July as: Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in honor of Ms. Campbell and the way she reached out to miniorities with mental illness. Ms. Campbell was an author and advocate for diverse populations with mental health concerns. In fact, NAMI gave her the 2003 Outstanding Media Award for her book, Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry. Campbell passed away in November 2006.

Check out a new support group, Embracing My Mind, and also NAMI and Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada).

HIV Testing Event A Success!

Empowerment Resource Center's Take Charge. Get Tested. Event was a success, over 200 people received rapid HIV tests. Embracing My Mind was honored to sponsor and to be an exhibitor for the event. Embracing My Mind pasted out literature from the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Also, Embracing My Mind received a great response from survey participants. Survey participants ranged in age from 14 to 59, and were of diverse connections to mental illness, i.e., some were relatives of those with mental illness, friends, caregivers, and others were directly impacted by mental health concerns.

Check out Embracing My Mind for support, and also the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada).

Thoughts on Support Groups

What other support groups have you participated in? What did you like or dislike about them?

I've participated in NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) groups, WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) groups, and others; including online groups. I prefer small groups, less than ten people. I enjoy sharing my story and relating to other people. Ideally, I would like to find a group that I can grow with, meet friends and people I can trust and spend time with outside of the meetings. I remember in WRAP meetings we developed rules that respected members of the group, that made me feel a little more comfortable. NAMI groups allowed me to bring my family, that was a plus, so that members of my family can be educated about things relating to mental illness too.

Online groups are great because of its diversity of experiences. You learn so much from other people's experiences and questions and answers. The plus for online groups is you get stay anonymous.

I can't say I disliked an…

Personal Fulfillment through Volunteering

People volunteer for different reasons; some have a disability, others may be retired or have extra time to commit to an organization. Whatever the reason, volunteering is a great opportunity to learn new skills and to network. In my experience with volunteering for diverse organizations I have learned how different organizations operate, network, and how they promote different programs.

It is nice volunteering because you can set your own hours. Most of the time organizations are very flexible with you. Also, you learn new things. For example, with the organizations I have volunteered for I learned new tricks on Microsoft Office to create flyers and to use programs I was not familiar with. I am learning how to become incorporated, how to apply for grants, and even have the opportunity to set up a table with a non-profit organization event (Take Charge. Get Tested. Event, June 27, 2009). The things I am learning while volunteering could cost a lot of money if I were to have learned th…

Take Charge. Get Tested. Event-- Atlanta, GA June 27th

If you are in the Atlanta area, come out and get tested at Empowerment Resource Center's second annual Take Charge. Get Tested. Event, Saturday, June 27, 2009 on Auburn Avenue between Bell Street and Jesse Hill Jr. Drive.

Free HIV testing, refreshments, and entertainment will be provided at the health fair. Join key Georgia legislators Senator Nan Orrock, Representative Tyrone L. Brooks Sr., Representative Margaret Kaiser, Fulton County Commissioner Nancy Boxhill, and Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall in support of this community outreach campaign.

Empowerment Resource Center is collaborating with Saint Joseph's Mercy Care Services, and Big Bethel A.M.E. Church. The health fair is expected to reach over 500 Atlantans. Also, Embracing My Mind (EMM) is a sponsor and exhibitor for the health fair.

To learn more about schizophrenia visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada). Also check out Embracing My Mind, a new suppor…

Your Advice for Interacting with You

If you were to give someone advice on how to interact with you what would you recommend?

If I were to give such advice I would tell the person to support my endeavors and to motivate me. They could support me by participating in discussions related to schizophrenia, listen to my concerns and help me to provide solutions or alternatives. And they would motivate me by encouraging me to strive for my passion, get back into school and to do well, and by giving constructive criticism to improve my weaknesses.

What kind of advice would you give?

To learn more about schizophrenia visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada). Also, if you are looking for a support group check out Embracing My Mind.

How Can We Get Them To Understand?

As you know, not everybody understands mental illness. For example, when a student with a mental disability seeks special accommodations from their professor they are overlooked or not taken seriously (I heard of this situation from an on-line discussion group).

Another more common instance is telling someone in the workforce that a person needs accommodations due to mental illness. Many employers do not understand mental illness, so they try to avoid the situation all together by firing or encouraging the individual with mental illness to quit (another situation I learned of through an on-line discussion group).

Once, while psychotic and not aware of my mental illness, I was questioned by the police and sent home with family. However, if the police had been trained in mental illness like how to spot individuals with mental illness, I could have been treated sooner.

Some people do not think mental illness exists. How can we get them to understand?

1) I think mental illness education sh…

Phase II The Bright Side of Schizophrenia: The Beast/Learning Experience

Recovery is an ongoing process that demands time, a good attitude, and support (on-line and/or off-line). While there is no cure for schizophrenia, yet, recovery is possible. To me, recovery is being able to function and to take care of daily activities. This could mean a lot of different things to people. What does recovery mean to you?

Setting goals is a part of recovery. Goals could be long-term and short-term. For me, my goal is to complete college. To keep this goal alive I vocalize this goal by telling people I will return to school this fall. In addition, I visited colleges and did some research on the Internet to see which college I would like to attend. What is your goal?

Motivation to get well helps tremendously and allowing other people to support you helps even more. While I was recooperating in the hospital my mother exercised with me and played word games with me to: 1) help reduce stiffness due to my medication and 2) to stimulate my mind. What motivates you to keep going…

Phase II The Bright Side of Schizophrenia: Changing Attitutdes

I look at having a mental disability as a challenge to overcome. A positive outlook on life with schizophrenia helps me cope with the illness. Also, learning more about schizophrenia through Internet sources and other people's experiences helps me believe I can and will overcome schizophrenia. Refusing to let schizophrenia control me, I have a hold on it through medication and support. I take my medication regularly, discuss schizophrenia information with my family, and I share my experience with other people online.

In my opinion, changing your attitude about schizophrenia or any mental illness is essential to overcome it. To me, overcoming schizophrenia means being responsible by confronting issues. Issues related to schizophrenia include: medication compliance, asking for support and giving support, and educating one self about their mental illness.

For example, discussing a medication regimen with family or a support team. Let everybody know when you plan to take your medicatio…

Phase II The Bright Side of Schizophrenia (A Series): Embrace Your Mind

Now that we have discussed the myths, stereotypes, and fears associated with having schizophrenia it is time to talk about the good things associated with the illness. I am doing a series called Phase II The Bright Side, I will discuss positive attributes related to schizophrenia. You can help me with this series by submitting a success story of mental illness (i.e. bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia) in a 500 word or less essay/article, and email it to info@embracingmymind.org, and in the subject bar label it Success Story. You do not have to attach your full name to the article, but make sure you give your first name and state. Also, please give a title to your essay/article or one will be provided. The success story will be posted on the website Embracing My Mind.

Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) stated: "Studies have indicated that 25 percent of those having schizophrenia recover completely, [and] 50 percent are improved over a 10-year …

Check Out My NEW Website and Give Feedback

Hi,
I am soo excited, I launched my new website Embracing My Mind today. It is still under construction, however, I would appreciate your feedback.

Go to "My Forum" and register to become a member, check out my "Resources and Links" page, check out "Upcoming Events"- check out everything! If you have a mental illness (i.e. schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression) related blog and would like to submit it email me: info@embracingmymind.org.

It is designed to be an all in one location for you to find out information about serious mental illness. It is not all about me, it is about us, so let's work together. Oh yeah, don't forget to sign my guestbook. Thank you for your support, and bye for now!

Ashley
http://embracingmymind.org

Taking Steps to Advance with Schizophrenia

After my diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia in the summer of 2007, and release from the institution at the end of October I took baby steps to wellness. There is a process to recovery, but everybody may not do it in the same order or in the same manner. These are the steps I took toward recovery...

I applied for Supplemental Security Income, moved into an Independent Living home, and enrolled in a county day treatment program for youth with mental illness. Typically, people are denied Supplemental Security Income on their first attempt, however, I was not. I think I got approved on the first try because I had history with the State Hospital and I had a nurse help me with my application. It took six months to get benefits.

The day treatment program was great. I attended Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) classes, in addition to other classes geared toward mental illness awareness. I took a break from school and work for a few months, however, when I returned to school I took one class…

Networking/Schizophrenia is More Common Than You Think

First, I am not good at networking, however, volunteering for the HIV/AIDS non-profit organization is teaching me a lot. For instance, today we spoke with a few tenants within our building and discovered they were friends with a politician who we are trying to get their support from for our upcoming event. While another tenant gave us some really good contacts and was able to donate T-shirts for volunteers. This was a great experience.
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Someone that I am working with has a sister who has schizophrenia. Schizophrenia affects people close to me too, besides family. In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that 1 out of 5 American families are affected by mental illness.

I was surprised to learn that someone that I work with has come into contact with the illness that I am trying to overcome, because schizophrenia affects only about one percent of the United States population. (Maybe th…

Afraid of Rejection

Yesterday, I missed the perfect opportunity to tell my boyfriend (who I have been dating for a little over a month) that I have schizophrenia...

Schizophrenia awareness is a strong interest for me. Am I ashamed of my mental illness because I did not tell him that I have the illness? Or am I cautious of sharing my information with others because they may be ignorant to what the illness is? I think I am the latter, because I don't mind sharing my story with strangers, also I don't think my boyfriend knows much about schizophrenia.

I got scared and did not tell him I have schizophrenia because I don't want him to reject me, but he will find out in the end. Is it better to share my diagnosis so early in the relationship or to wait?

I did not feel comfortable sharing my diagnosis with him, yet. I am going to go with my feelings and wait. I don't want it to not work out for other reasons, really soon, and for him to know my whole life story.

When I do tell him, what will I say?…

When Will We Get Over Sterotypes

In the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) "Schizophrenia: Public Attitudes, Personal Needs" report stated the following statistics:

* 79% of people would want a friend to tell them if they were diagnosed with
schizophrenia, but only 46% say they would tell friends if they themselves were
diagnosed.
* 27% would be embarrassed to tell others if one of their own family members was
diagnosed.
* 80% expressed discomfort with the prospect of dating someone with schizophrenia
who has not received treatment, compared to only 49% if the person has (received
treatment).

Why are people ashamed to admit that schizophrenia affects their lives? Many people have various misconceptions about schizophrenia- people with schizophrenia are violent, lazy, or homeless. While I do not fit into the stereotype of a person with schizophrenia as well as many of my readers with schizophrenia, people continue to believe these myths.

Again, 79 percent of people would want a friend to tell them they have th…

Building Professional Relationships/ Dating 101

This week I started volunteering for a non-profit organization that focuses on HIV/AIDS awareness. I am interested in HIV/AIDS awareness because I believe it is a serious issue in America that needs more attention. I will be working with this organization for the summer.

The other day I attended a town hall meeting that discussed safety and community involvement to decrease the selling of drugs in the business area. After the meeting the executive director and I handed out business cards and networked with participants.

The executive director, who I will be closely working with this summer is going to educate me on how a non-profit organization operates, like an internship, and I will contribute to marketing needs and speaking engagements. I am very excited about this opportunity, and I got to thinking that I could start a non-profit organization or clubhouse that focuses on schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

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An Update

I've been aware of my illness for almost two years now and I take my medication regularly. My symptoms have been repressed with the support of Abilify. I do not have hallucinations, I am not delusional or paranoid.

You would assume that my illness has been cured, but it is not. I know from other people's experience that if I discontinue my medication the symptoms will return. There is no cure for schizophrenia, yet... Have I ever thought of discontinuing my medication- no, because I know that the symptoms will return and I don't want to be afraid, anxious, or paranoid again. My symptoms are under control for now, and I hope to maintain that control through consistent practice of taking my medication.

I am blessed to find a medication that works for me. Abilify has little side effects- stiffness- but it does its job and does it well. I am doing very well, my marketing internship is coming to close and soon I will volunteer with another organization and go back to school.

The …

Another Misconception of Schizophrenia

Lately, some associates have mentioned schizophrenia and assumed it was split personality or a dangerous trait. Schizophrenia is NOT split personality! And it does not make the individual more dangerous!

When I heard them refer schizophrenia to incorrect characteristics I wanted to correct them by telling them that I have schizophrenia, and look at me, I don't act like I have split personality or are a danger to anyone, but I couldn't. I don't want to risk being alienated or discriminated against because of my illness. I just had to remain quiet and let them finish their preposterous explanation for why they don't hang out with their neighbor who has schizophrenia, and that actor who played someone with schizophrenia in that movie.

I think back and wish I would have commented by saying something like I have a relative with schizophrenia and they don't have split personality, or are a danger to anyone, just to set the record straight...I feel like a punk for not sayin…

Coping With Schizopohrenia, When A Loved One Is Affected

by Sarah Scrafford

It’s not easy to digest the fact that a loved one, friend or family member, has schizophrenia, especially if it’s someone you live with or interact with on a regular basis. It’s hard to accept that the person you know so well and love so much is now at the whims and fancies of hallucinations and delusions, some of which may be directed at you. It’s not easy to lead a normal life when you’re living with a schizophrenic, but there are reasons to cope as best as you can, because:

Their recovery depends on your attitude too: Yes, there are medications like antipsychotic drugs that help control the symptoms and prevent them from occurring too often, but what really matters is your support and understanding. If you’re not patient with them, they’re going to relapse into the depths of this illness more often. Your acceptance of their condition goes a long way in making medical treatment more effective.

It could take its toll on you: If you don’t accept this as part of your l…

Anything Can Be Controlled

I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia for less than two years and I have my symptoms under control through the blessings of anti-psychotic medication. Through my experience with this illness I have learned that anything can be controlled with the right resources and a great outlook on life.

Whether it be asthma, diabetes, a learning disability, or mental illness, you can manage it. Working close with your treatment or support team, medication regimen, and strategic alternatives anyone can succeed at leading a positive lifestyle. Here are some tips I use to live with schizophrenia.

First, I follow a customized routine. I learned that taking my medication at night reduces the side effects of medication which is for me, stiffness. Therefore, I take my medication just before I go to sleep.

Second, I am conscious of my illness. Through conversations with my mother I have learned that sometimes I look as though I am in a daze. This is a negative symptom of schizophrenia, which in general i…

Help Find A Cure

Schizophrenia is a seroius mental illness that affects one percent of the population or 2 to 3 million Americans. The illness affects the mind in the form of hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking and other symptoms. There is no cure for schizophrenia, yet, however, there is treatment that reduces symptoms.

You can help scientist come up with a cure for schizophrenia through giving. Here are just some of the organizations where you can donate your financial gift to, I encourage you to learn more about an organization and to support them:

1) National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression or NARSAD

2) National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI

3) Schizophrenia Research Institute (Australia)

4) Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada)

To learn more about schizophrenia visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia. Thank you for your support!

Schizophrenia: Medication

I have not written any blogs lately because I was involved in several different activities the last couple of weeks. For those of you who are reading this, thanks for not forgetting about me.

This post is for caregivers and patients with mental illness. Medication compliance can be a difficult thing to cope with in the beginning, but as time passes things get a little easier.

When living with schizophreniak, your priority should be following a medication regimen. Taking your medication regularly relieves symptoms and makes you feel better than you did when and/if psychosis actually took over. Psychosis is a combination of symptoms including delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking, etc. For example, I believed people were poisoning my food even though I had no evidence to justify this belief, this was a delusion.

There are many reasons why people with mental illness do not take their medication. It can be due to the side effects of the medication, truly forgetting to take the…

Schizophrenia: Bizarre Behavior Part I

Part of schizophrenia is irrational behavior and disorganized thinking when untreated. Before I knew I had developed adult onset schizophrenia I believed some strange things.

For instance, I questioned family members, to distinguish if they were really my relatives or impostures. I believed they were impostures when they did not answer my questions the way I wanted them to. Where the real relative went, I did not know.

As I asked these questions I had a blank stare that scared my family: "Who was your childhood friend," I asked my sister..."What high school graduation gift did you give me," I asked my grandmother."..."What did I write on your Mother's Day Card?... Was it taped or sealed?" I asked my mother..."What restaurant did you take me to before we went to the zoo a few years ago," I asked my uncle. These questions seemed minor or mediocre, and of no significance, but they were very important to me.

"Where are your glasses?...…

What is Schizophrenia to Me

This is what schizophrenia is like when untreated...

It is a nightmare that you cannot wake up from. The illness causes you to believe that everything is about you; a television program, a song on the radio, a stranger's glare. The illness makes you feel trapped, as if everybody is watching you and trying to harm you, but you can't escape- you're outnumbered.

You can't eat food because someone is trying to poison you. You can't take a shower, because someone has tampered with the soap and it will burn your skin. You can't tell your family what's going on because they have been replaced too, they're impostures! You can't trust your friends because they will run and tell someone your secrets. You know they are gossiping about you and they are out to get you, you can feel it, God has blessed you with special powers that enables you to feel menacing and positive spirits in people; you are sensitive to people's emotions.

Everything is a sign, that tru…

Coping with Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that disrupts a person's thinking, emotions, and behavior, which can lead to the extent of isolation to suicidal thoughts. There is no cure for the illness, yet. Schizophrenia affects males and females alike and people of all cultures. It affects 2 to 3 million Americans, and one percent of the world population.

Despite my illness, I am motivated to keep going because of my family, online peers, and self determination to not go backwards. Nearly two years ago I was distraught at thoughts of people following me, people trying to poision me, and the voices telling me 'I was a dishonor to my family.' Before all of this, I was a junior in college, an AWANA church teacher, a cross country runner, an intern, a daughter, and a sister. Like many of us with a mental illness, I would not have thought I would have had a mental illness, but something had to explain the paranoia and symptoms. The illness sneaks up on you and snatches away every…