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 relate to me and to each other. At the end of group my therapist had members share something positive about group, which made me feel really good, and then she said she is proud of me for taking on this group. I am very excited about having the opportunity to host groups and to directly advocate for mental health education and recovery.
To learn more about schizophrenia visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Embracing My Mind (EMM), or the Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada).