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Showing posts from September, 2009

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,…