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Recovery: What Helped Me to Recover from Schizophrenia

A woman with a 16 year old son who was diagnosed with schizophrenia once asked me how did I recover...

At one point in my life I was lifeless...I was not moving, speaking, eating, or showering. I stayed in my room and let the hours pass with no particular thing to do. I had no interest in life itself. I did not watch television, write in my journal, or go outside to feel the sun on my skin; or converse with other people. This person was not Ashley, schizophrenia snatched her away. This was a major set back for me because I used be very involved in sports, theater productions, and other extracurricular activities...So how did I get better?...

My family had the judge mandate medication compliance for my mental illness. The psychiatric ward where I was staying forced medication on me, and offered many groups where we interacted with other people through games, reading, and creating art work. This sort of therapy took months before there was any sign of hope to my recovery. The next stage in my recovery was attending the State Hospital in California. There I took classes to learn about my illness and other life skills. My mother also visited me daily, and exercised with me because a side effect to my medication was stiffness.

The following stage was when I entered the Catalyst program for young adults (ages 16 to 24)with mental illnesses in San Diego. There I attended groups where I took part in WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) classes and discussed symptoms, and learned about other life skills such as cooking, sewing, and finding a job. This program also offered a clubhouse where I could mingle with other people.

After living in an independent living establishment I moved back home with my mother in Atlanta, Georgia. From that point forward I would attend weekly groups at the local clinic. Again I would learn more about schizophrenia and connect with other people who had the same mental illness.

In all, my recovery was contributed to a combination medication compliance, groups, self motivation, family, and prayer. I have been in the recovery stage for about a year, now I am doing a marketing internship for a nonprofit organization that helps children around the world medically, and through educational scholarships, and nutritional programs. In addition to that, I plan on going back to college this summer.

For friends and families to force medicate a member of the family with mental illness it is called Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) or "outpatient commitment," so far forty-two states provide laws for this sort of help. To read more about AOT go to the October 3, 2008 post, "Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT)."

How did you or a loved one recover from mental illness?

Comments

You've come such a long way since your first days of illness. You're such a strong person to be dedicated in such a way to your recovery. You should be very proud of yourself.
andrew said…
Drew inspration from yor courage and strength. I have been a depressive for 25 years and recently suffered a major depressive crash. Writing about my feelings has helped, especially with the crushing isolation, despair, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. All the best.
www.strayblackdog.co.uk
Anonymous said…
This is a very inspirational, informative and helpful blog. My uncle suffers from schizophrenia brought on by a car accident so I have seen first hand what a fight it is to keep things under control. I applaud your courage and strength in sharing your experiences.
aries28 said…
WOW you are a brave soul. I admire you strength and energy to heal yourself. I appreciate your recipe today and hope you will follow me and I will follow you. I know this blog world is a great medicinal journey and I know you can achieve what you want from being in control of this illness. Stay in touch Ashley, Peace.
Cathy
Valash said…
Thank you all for your encouraging comments...Aries28 I will follow your blog.
ACDesign said…
Thank you for posting about this. When my brother was diagnosed, the one question I kept asking was when will he accept treatment. We may be heading down the same road soon because these relapses are becoming very cyclical. I will check out Assisted Outpatient Treatment and tell my mom about it. But I look forward to the day when I can talk to him again the same way we used to.
my friend is olso suffrning frm shizopherinia. when frstly he ws
diagnosed by it.....he recovered bt aftr one year he again is suffering from it......help me out pls......
my friend is also suffering from shizopherinia....pls help me out how i can help him out!
very interesting information and I was lucky to get this information
Anonymous said…
I read your blog and I am very proud of you. There are only a few things that help us move forward through hard times and those are prayers and families. God bless you and continue to show your mother your love and appreciation. God bless you again.
Ashley Smith said…
Hi Anonymous (January 18, 2013),

I agree with you- prayers and families play an intricate role in recovery along with treatment and peer support.

Thanks for sending blessings my way!

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