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?