Skip to main content

CNN- "Human Factor" Note


Recently my story was featured on CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta's Human Factor. I feel blessed to have an opportunity to share my experience with diverse communities around the world. I believe it is important to share my mental health condition with the public in order to help reduce stigma. Yes, sharing my mental illness has been a process.

I remember when I started this blog in September 2008 I was unsure about its theme and how much I would disclose. Initially, I did not share my true identity, and now I am very comfortable disclosing to the public about my health condition, because I have overcome many medical and social setbacks. I believe this illness can be defeated through treatment, support, faith and hard work.

For individuals and families still struggling with a mental health concern: as you know there will be many obstacles to reach peace with mental health and to live in recovery, however, there is hope. I remember the stories my mother and family shared with me about their worries and concerns for my well-being during my own battle with schizophrenia. In the beginning we did not know I was battling mental health. In fact, I thought it was stress and emotional and spiritual battles. However, my condition worsened over time. Therefore, I encourage families to seek professional guidance when debating whether mental health is a factor.

I am so fortunate to have a family of warriors. My mother and relatives stuck by me during my most vulnerable moments. My mother got involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and gained a better understanding of my condition by meeting with my treatment team at the state hospital (after I gave consent).

In short, I encourage families to learn as much as they can about mental health challenges and to get involved in a support group to get more resources and support.

Lastly, I had a great experience during the process of producing the CNN Human Factor story. I am so thankful to the CNN team and my communications staff for working so diligently on my story. My experience is one of millions in America, and I am hopeful that we can "overcome mental illness together!"

Please review the Human Factor segment on CNN and blog entry, and let me know how the story has impacted you and your family.

For more info about schizophrenia visit Choices in Recovery, Embracing My Mind, Inc., NAMI, and Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hi, I saw your CNN piece "YOU KEEP GOIN GIRLFRIEND"...
John Topping said…
Ashley, I am a 55 year old schizophrenic. Keep up the good work. You can still have a rich and fulfilling life even with schizophrenia.
Anonymous said…
I am also a schizophrenic from Pakistan. Your story is really inspirational.It was one of the reasons for initiating my own blog at http://badarabbas.wordpress.com . I will appreciate if you review my blog.

Popular posts from this blog

Religious Preoccupation

After a talk, a woman asked me if my faith contributed to my recovery because she noticed that I mentioned it throughout my speech. In addition to that, she told me that she observed people with faith as having a better outcome in their mental health recovery.

First, I came from a family with Christian values. My faith in God started to get intense during the latter years of high school, which in my opinion, is when I started having symptoms. In my experience religion plays a major role in my mental health- its delusions, its coping skills, and in my recovery. In medical terms they call my religious rituals and delusions "religious preoccupation."

Before I was diagnosed I was highly religious. In fact, I wanted to be an evangelist and to go to a Christian college. I would read my Bible for several hours a day throughout the day, listen to hymns, and meditate. Sometimes I would ignore people if they wanted my attention while I was meditating I was in such deep thought. Also, I …

How Can I Support Someone with Persecution Delusions

Recently, a reader asked how to support, or what to say to someone who has persecutory delusions and confides in them. I thought this question was profound. By investigating this question it could help so many people maintain or develop a trusting relationship with their relative, friend, or client, etc. I asked the opinion of my therapist, and she gave some pointers and asked me to remember a time when I was psychotic and what could someone have said to me to make me feel more comfortable...

When I was at my peak of psychosis everything was a sign from God- that truck making a U-turn meant go back, that taxi cab driver telling me to stay out of trouble meant he was in on it too. While I was psychotic I heard conflicting voices. When I would ask someone a question on the phone the voices would give different information. I was extremely paranoid. And almost everyone was a threat. I couldn't confide in relatives because they would tell my secrets, I couldn't trust friends becaus…

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…