Despite the progress I've made in my recovery I still have setbacks. Recently, my doctor changed the dose of my medication and as a result I've been experiencing some side effects. Initially, I did not know I was experiencing side effects, and I assumed my concerns were happening because I was not taking my medication at the same time daily or that it may have only occurred as a result of me missing a dose.
Moreover, I noticed the side effects were starting to bother me more and more to the extent that I had poor concentration which prohibited me from maintaining eye contact with others, and my ability to read, write, or do any type of work that required attention. Although these side effects were not as bad as some that I've had in the past such as feeling jittery or having restless legs, they were still bothersome to me.
My lack of concentration bothered me very much because in the past people complimented me on my ability to maintain good eye contact. So when the concern of my eye contact was brought to my attention by a relative I don't know why, but I became embarrassed and I shied away from explaining what was really going on with me.
After discussing these concerns with my doctor I felt more confident that I was able to manage the side effects better; and my doctor prescribed me another medication to counteract the side effects. Now, I am not embarrassed anymore and I've had discussions with my family so that we all can be on one accord.
Three things I've learned from this experience: (1) to not assume things when it comes to my mental health and to share even the most minor thing with my doctor, (2) to always communicate with family and/or supporters about my concerns, and (3) to not be ashamed or embarrassed by my experiences with mental illness.
If you would like to learn more about schizophrenia visit NAMI, Choices in Recovery, or Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).