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Showing posts from April, 2011

The Importance of Peer Support To Me

Peer support is not a new phenomenon in recovery. According to the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Peer-to-Peer Recovery Education Course manual, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups and their 12-step model have been practicing peer support since the 1930s. Peer support is when an individual with similar concerns share knowledge and practical experience with each other to have a better understanding of their concerns and to mature in recovery.

As a person living with mental illness, a facilitator, and researcher, it is common for a person living with a mental health diagnosis to also have a substance abuse concern. This combination of concerns is called dual diagnosis.

Even though I do not have a substance abuse concern I feel like I can relate to people with substance abuse concerns. From my experience with mental illness I once lost close relationships, college education, and my livelihood. Similarly, people with substance abuse concerns may have lost close relationships, caree…

Lack of Trust: A Byproduct of My Mental Illness

In this entry, I'll share my experiences with Schizophrenia in regards to feeling lack of trust in others, paranoia, and isolation.... I remember my many episodes with Schizophrenia where I felt uneasy because of lack of trust in others. In the past, isolation was a giant bullying me around.

Sometimes my mind would take me to a place of fear, hurt, and an unsettling spirit, which started with what seemed like a strange look, or a different feeling around an individual, when in reality it was another symptom of my undiagnosed illness- paranoia. My paranoia was rampant and dictated my life prior to experiencing a crisis, which led me to jail and into forced treatment and to receive an official diagnosis of Schizophrenia in 2007.

In other words, my illness created enemies in my mind. For instance, I once believed my favorite kin was against me and I felt like she wanted me to fail, and I eventually thought she was conspiring to harm me. However, she never said anything to imply these f…