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, February 24, 2009

HELP Solve the Problem

Before my diagnosis of schizophrenia I did not take medication, in fact, I tried to fight my cold or allergies without medication because I did not want to be addicted or dependent on any medications. This is not a good practice for anyone. Schizophrenia is not like any flu, cold, or allergy, it is an illness of the mind that worsens as time goes by. Schizophrenia is a debilitating illness that corrupts a person's thinking processes. It cannot be conquered by will power alone like other common sicknesses. Through my experience, I have learned that medication is good for you, why not take a pill if you are coughing or sneezing all day? Solve the problem and move on! Medication is a good a thing that we should appreciate when used properly.

Schizophrenia makes a person do bizarre things because they cannot think clearly. For example, before I knew I had schizophrenia I did not eat or shower for a little while, NOT because I did not want to eat or shower, but because I was afraid. I feared that someone poisoned my food, and I thought the soap would burn my skin. These things sound absurd to me now, but back then it was very real and nobody could tell me otherwise.

The illness destructed my thinking so bad that I became catatonic and I did not speak much. It started out as simply worshipping God by staying still and meditating, however, it went to the extreme. I did not acknowledge people when they came into my presence. In fact, I think the voices encouraged me to be still and to not move a limb for hours. Before I went into a catatonic state I said very little to peers and professional health care providers. I isolated myself from people, not going outside or even leaving my room to eat. Also, my anxiety was so high especially around groups of people, I had a low tolerance for group settings, and I steered away from them.

A few times I thought I was being watched everywhere I went, I thought I was on a reality show, involuntarily! I felt like everywhere I went there was a camera watching me- on the street, in the car, etc.- and I could not escape "them". I thought the devil was sending messages through television and radio. One scene on the television read: "How to commit suicide," fortunately I was not suicidal, however, these words broadcast on the television frightened me.

Therefore, I take my medication to help solve the problem. I take my medication in order, to eat my food in peace, to shower without any worries, and to interact with groups of people to do the things I enjoy doing. I talk about these things a lot because this was a very frightening moment in my life as a result of schizophrenia.

To have peace of mind, take your medicine. To get your mind back, take your medication. To live life to the fullest, take your medication.

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that needs to be addressed with medication,therapy and support. If you or a loved one has schizophrenia, seek immediate mental health care attention. If you do not know where to seek help, organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada) can help. There is no cure for schizophrenia, yet, however, there is treatment.

5 comments:

ACDesign said...

I am still amazed by your strength to overcome a very serious, chronic illness. I was curious. While you were off your meds, would you say you lacked insight? I know this is a symptom of the illness and one my brother seems to have when he is not well. Does this symptom diminish as medicine begins to lessen other symptoms? One of the reasons why he stops meds is due to weight gain and because he was once told you loose ten years of your life by taking meds. It's horrible a doctor would say this. Some doc's even tell us that my bro may never improve. However, I think of stories such as yours and think it is possible. So thank you for sharing your progress!

Valash said...

ACDesign,

Why would they say this, what's going on? First of all, I am very outraged by your brother's doctor and want to say switch the doctor because their advice seems very negative and that is not good for your outlook on recovery. Secondly, I am very slim and always have been, therefore, some medications cause weight gain while others don't, talk to your brother's doctors and see if they will change his medication, because he does not want to take it because of the weight gain. Third, the doctor seems to have little faith and/or belief.

That is a myth that people with schizophrenia will not recover. What about Carol North, Elyn Saks, and a few of my followers with schizophrenia. I am very disappointed in your brother's doctor, why is he in profession if he has no hope for his patients?

To answer your question about insight into my illness, I lacked it until I was on medication for a while. It was after I was stable on meds and therapy that the doctor sat me down and explained to me that I had schizophrenia. He said it explained my paranoia and other symptoms, and I believed him because we built a great relationship where I trusted, respected, and valued his opinion. I believe your brother will also gain insight once he is stable on meds and finds a great treatment team that he can grow with. I was very fortunate to have people that believed in my recovery and were praying for me. I wish you and your brother the best.

Ashley

ACDesign said...

Ashley,

Thanks for the info. My bro's first doctor didn't seem to have a lot of experience. He did try to create a trusting relationship but in doing so, didn't failed to focus on the positive. He was trying to be realistic, I think. It seems like many doctors don't want you to get your hopes up. Then there are doctors who are concerned for my brother and do want to see that he gets on track. It is so confusing because some doc's are better than others. Maybe he has to see doctors just out of school because he is on Medicaid (not sure). He is in the hospital now (involuntarily) and on meds but as you may know it takes longer to get well each time you end treatment. Some good news, my mom was told that they are going to try to get him admitted to a long term facility. Josh's permanent doctor right now seems to care very much about my bro's recovery. I guess she cried in a session in front of my mom. I thought this was unprofessional but you can't help but to feel for him. Thanks for your response!

earlyriser said...

I'm a firm believer in taking meds. I take my meds the same time everyday. I had a doctor tell me once that I'd be in the hospital every year for the rest of my life. After hearing that,I set out to prove her wrong. I stayed out for three years, and then I stayed out for 7 years. Recovery is possible. Thank you for sharing your life.

Valash said...

earlyriser,

I am very happy for you, this gives me even more to look up to. I, too, will be able to share similar information such as yours. That's a very long time and I am glad all of us are able to hear it from you. I commend you for your successes. Thank you for your comments and following me with my recovery!

Ashley