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Getting Help to get to the Next Step

Some people would come to me and ask for advice on how to get through a phase of schizophrenia, like overcoming a lot of sleep and not interacting with people. However, sleeping a lot could be a side effect of medication or not having anything to do, like in my experiences. I do not give medical advice when these situations arise, because I am not a Doctor, however, I do mention experiences and things I did that worked for me. Furthermore, it makes me recall my own experiences and bizarre thinking processes I used to believe.

For instance, after I moved back home with my mother I became very comfortable not doing anything but either sleeping or staying on the computer all day. I did not socialize with other people outside of the family which eventually bothered me. Therefore, I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone and to interact with other people by attending group therapy. Over time my decision to go to group turned out to solve my problem. Accordingly I got more than I intended. I gained more education on my mental illness by participating in group, socialized with group participants, and I learned to trust my therapist even more. Now, I am a social butterfly. I talk a lot everyday and network with others in the mental health field.

Recently, I remembered I used to have a problem showering. This can be a problem for many people living with schizophrenia at one point in their illness, but not all people with schizophrenia have this problem. It is not that I did not want to take a shower, I did but my thinking processes would not allow me to carry out the task. Therefore, I chose not to shower because I thought the soap would burn my skin. Having an illness like schizophrenia distorts one's thinking processes. When in reality the soap did NOT burn my skin, but was, in fact, cheap, and made my skin very dry.

Moreover, I thought I had a connection with God and that He made me immune to NOT stink and to NOT get sick by not showering. However, I later realized that was not the case. At times, nurses would ask me to shower because "it was starting to become offensive." And I would be thankful that they asked me to shower because I did not have the initiative to perform that task.

Another problem I had was not talking much. I did not have anything to say. During group sessions in the institution I would just sit there during group therapy and wait till the session was over. I understood that I had to attend group therapy, however, I did not have to participate. I was very patient as well. Although in the beginning I did not want to participate in group therapy in the long run it was very beneficial. Therefore in my experience going to group therapy has many benefits and having someone to help me get through the things I found slightly difficult helped me a lot.

To learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind, Inc., the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).


Lady_Amanda said…
Yea, I get to be the first to write on a wonderful topic! Ashely, that's very brave to write about such personal topics. All of these things have happened to me at one point or another in the course of my illness. And you're right it's the love and support of others that help us through. I remember about a month before I was diganosed at age nineteen, I wasn't eating. My friends would make sure I ate. I was living on campus at the time, five hours away from my family. My friends knew something was wrong, but they were only nineteen too! So they made sure at almost every meal that I was eating with someone so I didn't skip it! Now I eat like crazy. Food is comforting to me! But I may have develop an eating disorder on top of my mental illness if it wasn't for my friends. I think an ED would have been my way to self medicate, but help arrived. Thanks for the honest post.

Hugs with blessings,
Valash said…
Thank you, Amanda. I appreciate your comments that relate to my many experiences.

Take Care,

DeMoss said…
I have a similar problem with showering, I just plain forget though, I'm too busy doing other stuff. Anyways, Ashley, I'd like you to check out Its a social network for like-minded schizophrenics that want to foster a community online where we can help one another. I just started it, so check it out if you have time. Not trying to spam, just passionate about it.
Valash said…
Thank you, DeMoss!

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