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Comparisons, Perspectives, and Struggles

I, like many of my peers have experienced disturbing thoughts, anxiety, and have missed doses of medication when I should not have, over the past year. Part of me desires to be normal- I mean to not be dependant on medication daily- but I've experienced a glimpse of the consequences, which can be detrimental. I understand how critical it is to stay complaint even more so than a professional can express to me, because I've witnessed the dark side of Ashley, which has been out of control, out of character, and very scared.

Some individuals get the wrong impression about me from my blog- some think I handle my illness perfectly or that I am too optimistic- when that is far from the situation. I was not diagnosed with all the answers- I, like my peers have challenges- and it took a lot of practice, effort, and support to get to where I am today. Yes, I am proud of my recovery and have come a long way with the support of treatment and others, however, I have setbacks too, which I articulate sometimes.

There are a lot of struggles I leave off the blog because it is too personal and complicated to explain. For example my personal relationships, family life, and family struggles. Because this blog is about my illness, I leave a large part of my life out and focus on a big but also narrow aspect of my life- schizophrenia.

I do not like to be compared to because I am not into that, and I believe we should each compare ourselves to our best self. I am grateful that others look up to me, and I love to mentor peers and offer support when asked, but sometimes that puts a lot of pressure on me. I feel pressured to stay well. Yes, I maintain recovery for myself and family, but I also challenge myself for my peers that look to me for answers.

I could not have managed my schizophrenia without my peers- online, from NAMI meetings, and several other networks. I am not here to dictate anything about anybody- I am sharing my story to let others know some of the experiences a person living with a diagnosis endures- and if you can relate please comment to let our peers learn and understand from each other's experiences.

If you or a family member are struggling- recovery is a process that takes time and commitment. No matter what- there will be ups and downs sometimes beyond control. Here is something my doctor told me- 1) manage your stress, and 2) take your medication regularly- it sounds straightforward, but it is a huge task that requires one's full attention.

I understand that many of my peers do not like medication, I don't either, but I take it to maintain control of my mind and actions. However, for some, they have not found the right combination yet, it is trial and error- and I am an advocate for whatever treatment regimen works, whether it is alternative forms of treatment or traditional (medication), just DO IT!!

To learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind, NAMI, Choices in Recovery, or Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).


LuLu said…
Just found your blog today. Thanks for keeping up with it. It gives me hope that one day my brother will accept help, too.

Breakfast After 10
Tour Guide said…
Hi Ashley - your blog has been really helpful to me. I'm dealing with my wife's mental illness and reluctance to take meds - reading your writing gives me some perspective, something we all can use. Thanks.
Ashley Smith said…
Tour Guide,

It makes me feel good to know that. The more information you know, the better off you are in handling its challenges.
your blog is beautiful, please continue it!! i'm an ATL college student :) <3

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