Sunday, September 16, 2018

My Blog, My Recovery, My Book, & My Life!

I just made it back home earlier this week... My spirit was fighting for my mind, daily, second by second. The mind is of this world, however, The Spirit of Him within my soul, always wins the victory! To my God, The One, The Spirit, to Him, the glory, forever! I thank You, always. Love, Ashley 
(Embracing My Mind, Facebook, September 15, 2018).

Ashley Smith, Author/Blogger, "Overcoming Schizophrenia" (2008-2018)
First, I thank you for reading about my recovery on this personal blog (not for pay), Overcoming Schizophrenia (started in 2008). I blog to learn, to share, and to inform someone about LIVING with mental health concerns, such as schizophrenia. I do this for me, for other individuals, and most importantly, for my God, He restores my mind. 

I am grateful for my mind, life, and another opportunity to share my lived experience, in order to support another peer, family member, and supporter. We, us, we welcome: self-improvement, awareness, hope, and support as we strive to practice wellness. I write, we read, I write some more, and WE share, and then write some more. I thank you for visiting, reading, and checking on me, my blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia.

In short, my blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia, is about- my lived experience with schizophrenia, which for me began in 2007. I was arrested, jailed, and hospitalized for five months. Ultimately, facing felony charges, predominately, because of my unknown life-long challenge, my medical concern; my mental health condition; SCHIZOPHRENIA.

Fortunately, the felony charges were reduced to misdemeanors, with time-served. I was 20 years old, I spent my 21st birthday in a court-ordered state psychiatric hospital in California. My family, and I did not understand, or know the challenges, and setbacks that my mental health problems would create, worsen, and disrupt.

Last month, (August 2018), I was arrested, and hospitalized. Eleven years later... this time in my other home state, Georgia. This time without my mother, who passed away in 2013 with breast cancer. In spite of living with these concerns, my faith enables me to find something, at least one part of my experience, which was negative, but can be turned around into a positive asset into my own recovery, as well as somebody else! 

Although my mental health condition improves in comparison to my first nervous breakdown (at age 20) having more work experience, and birthing, and caring for my son; and taking care of our daily needs, regularly, everyday, is precious. And so is my mind, "precious." My mind is precious to me because it helps me to maintain my livelihood; my motherhood, my independence, my opportunity to grow, and to learn, and to experience life; to love life, by sharing my recovery story with others; on this blog. Still, I have a strong foundation, the support of my family, in California, and also here, Atlanta. Moreover, a strong support system that include: family, treatment team, peers, and friends.

However, my schizophrenia did NOT disappear. Despite my many accomplishments my mental health concerns NEVER disappeared. My diagnosis is officially, schizo-affective disorder, or a combination of schizophrenia, AND bipolar disorder (mania), which was probably true for me in 2007, but was misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, alone. I experience depression, mania, and several other symptoms that schizophrenia possesses. To me schizophrenia is a thought disorder that alters an individual's thinking, thought-processing, behavior, and emotions and such.

I take at least three primary medications to help minimize the drastic impact that my diagnosis can have on my senses, and reality, and thus, lack of- reality. To help me maintain my livelihood, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; I take medication for the severity of my condition. I take medication because I see the benefits. Under the supervision of my psychiatric doctor, therapist, and other professionals in my treatment team's office, I take at least three medications: 1) an anti-psychotic, 2) a mood stabilizer, and 3) an anti-depressant.

This month, September 2018, is HUGE to me. Right now, I am celebrating my Overcoming Schizophrenia blog! My blog is 10 years old, and alive, still... Also, this month is my BIRTHDAY-MONTH (September). Despite my recent setback, and issues, I am still working on me, and my recovery. Unlike my last major setback (2007), this time I advocated to the judge for myself.

I have a lot of experience with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), here known as NAMI Georgia. Specifically, its presentation "In Our Own Voice," where the presenter(s) share their recovery story according to specific themes, and /or topics.

Also, I am a Respect Institute graduate that is a trained speaker, and individual living with a disability, who skillfully articulates the lived experience for themselves, peers, and others. Also, the Respect Institute of Georgia is sponsored by the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network.

Lastly, I am excited about my rekindled spirit, and energy, on writing... Writing my next book:

Coping Takes Work!
by Ashley Smith

This book is a follow up to my first book, What's On My Mind? A Collection of Blog Entries from Overcoming Schizophrenia. Coping Takes Work! This book will focus on how I managed to endure the systems, specifically, the court-ordered hospital visit.

Finally, I am still recuperating, and writing. However, it is important to note that Coping Takes Work! is inspired by my journal, which I wrote in the hospital. I had to minister to myself, in order to stay hopeful, and positive about my potential release, and opportunity to be with my child, to share my experience, and to enjoy my life, again!

Eleven years ago looked similar to a few short weeks ago. However, I am well now. I am sharing my experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to live, and to enjoy the journey that my Higher Power chooses for me, still! Thank you. 

Much love,
Ashley Smith,
Blogger, Author, Peer, & Mother for My Higher Power- THE SPIRIT, THE ONE, THE CREATOR

Ashley Smith, Author of forthcoming book:
What's On My Mind? Coping Takes Work!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Healthy Minds Matter Mental Health Forum- Saturday, May 5th

I will share my story and book at "Healthy Minds Matter" Mental Health Forum May 5, 2018!
Sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.,
Psi Alpha Omega Chapter and Hearts To Nourish Hope

Ashley Smith, author of What's On My Mind?



SATURDAY, MAY 5, 2018 8:30 AM - NOON 


640 GA-138 RIVERDALE, GA 30296

Register for FREE Today!

After the Show- Spoken Sounds of Soul

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and what better way to recognize this month than with an open candid discussion on mental illness! I had an AWESOME experience on Spoken Sounds of Soul show with T Love, Dr. Angela Harris, and Zovon Lee, and Shanbin. Here are some pictures of us after the Show:


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Watch Spoken Sounds of Soul with T Love

Ashley Smith will be featured on Spoken Sounds of Soul 

LIVE Tonight Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 6 pm Eastern Time

LIVE Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 6 pm, call-in 404-382-0417

Hostess T Love, Spoken Sounds of Soul

Blogger & Author, Ashley Smith of What's On My Mind? Overcoming Schizophrenia

Friday, March 9, 2018

Shout Out to My Blog Readers & EMM Facebook Page Fans

Recently, I established EMM Enterprise, LLC, which is primarily about me encouraging and motivating individuals to write. Moreover, the EMM Enterprise, LLC Facebook page shows me as the writer, speaker, and book-writing coach, which I am, offline.

However, you all, including my Overcoming Schizophrenia blog readers will always, and forever hold a great part of my vibrant recovery spirit! You've seen me grow over the years in my recovery since 2008, and my journey to focus on my mental health related career as a writer and speaker, which is my livelihood- I thank you! Embracing My Mind, Inc. Facebook fans, and Overcoming Schizophrenia blog readers you've helped me grow in so many ways as an advocate, writer, and into the person I am today- Ashley! -who also lives in recovery with mental health challenges. I love y'all!

Lastly, I want you to glance at my EMM Enterprise LLC Facebook page, and "like" the site.  -Ashley

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

I Am Happy Today Because...

I am 31 years old. I am a single-parent. I am a writer, an advocate and peer counselor for mental wellness. I also have schizoaffective disorder; schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder (mania), and anxiety. And today, I am happy...

I have a beautiful son that I am thankful to have and to love on every second of my life! I am working on a book with two great friends on recovery, Angela B. Franklin and Charlene Flagg. Our book, Out of the Darkness: Faces of Mental Illness and Recovery REVEALED, is for release this year (2018).

Ashley Smith
Because of my condition I am more aware of mental illness. I am passionate for the cause to fight the ongoing beast of widespread stigma, and negativity on persons living with mental health conditions. I aim to encourage mental wellness for myself, peers, and EVERYBODY. Living with my diagnoses enables me to be conscious of my self care needs, demand to engage in self-love activities, and to strive for overall wellness with my many goals, and attempts to get it right! 

Now my greatest challenge is my depression, anxiety, and side effects of my medication. With my depression I've slept for extended periods of time as if exhausted, but no physical labor to validate the sleep. It could be difficult to maintain energy to function at the pace I am accustomed to. My anxiety and side effect of my medication, which is poor focus and vision impacts me at work today. 

However, I am fortunate to manage these concerns with my doctor's prescriptions, regular therapy sessions twice a month or more often depending on my levels of stress, and engaging in my support system; and coping skills that include: journaling, creating a monthly budget, talking to close friends and family regularly, listening to music, lighting candles, buying flowers, and greeting cards for myself to keep me uplifted. I journal and write about my daily activities, give thanks to my Father God, and reflect on disappointments and happenings in my life. 

Currently, I am working part-time for a non-emergency resource information line for a mental health advocacy group in Georgia. My position requires me to respond to requests for resources in Georgia by phone and email. I talk to peers, care partners and caregivers, mental health professionals, activist, educators, law enforcement, and people like you! I love my job, because I feel like I am helping the recovery movement whenever I share my personal experience living in recovery, and to make effective local referrals and linkages to care in our communities.

Despite working 4-hour shifts I have to manage myself by attending to self care demands, because I am stationed at a desk and constantly on the computer, and calling individuals back with a list of resources. My self care needs at work are to take a mini break that may include reflecting on the moment, only, eating a snack, checking in with a friend, and self encouragement. My self encouragement may be motivational self-talk such as 'Ashley, you can do this... Ashley, take your time... Ashley, you got this!' During really difficult days, which are rare, I may journal on my light work break, pace the parking lot, and to take my anxiety medication. 

All of my coping tactics help me maintain my position at work, and to live well. There is no single coping act that trumps all coping skills to me, because I must rotate them for effectiveness, practice routine, and to 'be gentle with myself,' as a close friend says. I am not for or against medication, I support whatever helps my peers with professional support, but I take my medication because it works for me.

I am happy today, because of all of these things. I've been in recovery for 10 years! I am proud of myself. I may not have the fantasy life I envisioned growing up; I do not have a bachelor's degree. I do not own my home. And I cannot sing, but I am a proud mother. I am a proud daughter, sister, auntie, cousin, niece, friend, girlfriend, and peer... And I have many great relationships; 1) with my God and family, 2) best friends, and 3) my many peers and associates that add to my life and help with goals. 

Finally, I am working on completing, Out of the Darkness: Faces of Mental Illness and Recovery Revealed. Afterwards, I plan on getting back to my follow up book to What's On My Mind? A Collection of Blog Entries from Overcoming Schizophrenia, Volume I. My follow up book will be titled: What's On My Mind? Coping Takes Work, Volume II. 

Lastly, thank you for checking on me- much love! Ashley

My Blog, My Recovery, My Book, & My Life!

I just made it back home earlier this week... My spirit was fighting for my mind, daily, second by second. The mind is of this world, howe...