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Showing posts from February, 2009

Why I Take My Medication Part II

Taking medication is important because when one does not take their medication it could affect not only their own functioning skills but also other people as well emotionally and/or physically. For example, severe psychosis could lead someone to harm themself in the form of suicide, or other people in self defense if the voices tell them, or they think, other people are out to get them. This could lead to lengthy legal manners and hospital stays. I take my medication for myself and for my family. I do not want to experience psychosis again because I will feel like I have special powers, to read other people's minds, and that they can read my mind too, which is very uncomfortable and scary. And I will feel extemely confused and scared of people around me. While I was psychotic, and I did not know I had developed adult onset schizophrenia, I thought others were out to get me so I took a military truck to escape the demons around me. Luckily nobody was seriously hurt, but it could ha

Good Doctor Bad Doctor

One of my followers mentioned something to me that disturbed me, it was about their relative's doctor they lacked faith in their recovery, they implied that the relative may never improve; they did not want to get the family's hopes up. I think doctors should have high standards for their practice. I think this is one of the worse things a doctor could say! I wonder why people are in those professions if they don't think their patient has a chance, or have faith in their work? I just want to make one point clear: it is a myth that someone with schizophrenia cannot recover, they just have not found the right treatment that works for them, yet, but they should keep looking and keep hope alive! A lot of my readers with a mental illness are success stories. I had a doctor that I don't think really cared about her work. She wasn't there for me when I needed her. I complained to her about the restlessness I was experiencing from the side effects of my medication. I had


This post discusses how I feel now living with schizophrenia and how far I have come in recovery. These are my reflections... Almost two years ago I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I never in a million years would have thought I would be handling a mental illness, now that I have it I am coping very well with it. Since my diagnosis, I have been taking things slow. I am optimistic about my recovery or getting to a state where I can get back to the way things used to be such as going to school and working. I have really progressed with my recovery. At one point I was so sick I did not even know the date or who the president was, I was out of it completely. I am so thankful for antipsychotic medications such as Abilify, the medicine I am taking now. The medication does wonders, it gave me me back! While I was sick I was a different person, stand-offish, isolated, and quiet. Now I do not feel that way anymore, I am more focal and sociable. I am doing well on meds, taking them regula

Schizophrenia and Violence

In general, people with schizophrenia are not violent. In fact, they are more likely to withdraw from people and not want to be bothered. However, in the case of violence for the person with schizophrenia it would most likely be against themselves in the form of suicide. Suicidal thoughts is a symptom of schizophrenia, the voices may encourage one to harm themself or others in some cases. Ten percent of people with schizophrenia will commit suicide. This is especially true for young males. Also, suicide is prevalent among the first ten years of illness. 50 Signs of Mental Illness states: "Rates of suicide are twenty times higher among drug and alcohol abusers than among nonabusers". If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts they should seek immediate professional assistance. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. The following factors make a person with schizophrenia prone to violence: 1) past history of violence (pri

HELP Solve the Problem

Before my diagnosis of schizophrenia I did not take medication, in fact, I tried to fight my cold or allergies without medication because I did not want to be addicted or dependent on any medications. This is not a good practice for anyone. Schizophrenia is not like any flu, cold, or allergy, it is an illness of the mind that worsens as time goes by. Schizophrenia is a debilitating illness that corrupts a person's thinking processes. It cannot be conquered by will power alone like other common sicknesses. Through my experience, I have learned that medication is good for you, why not take a pill if you are coughing or sneezing all day? Solve the problem and move on! Medication is a good a thing that we should appreciate when used properly. Schizophrenia makes a person do bizarre things because they cannot think clearly. For example, before I knew I had schizophrenia I did not eat or shower for a little while, NOT because I did not want to eat or shower, but because I was afraid.

Take Things Slow

Prior to my diagnosis of schizophrenia I was very active in school and extracurricular activities. I played a role in cross country, an internship, AWANA church program for youth, and school. Eventually, my illness interrupted my studies and I was forced to drop out of school temporarily due to the stresses of school, finances, and life changes. I worked for a little while until my illness took that opportunity away from me too when I had a nervous breakdown. When my illness was made known, everybody (i.e. psychiatrist, therapist, mother, treatment team) suggested that I make a change and to take things slow for a little while. Therefore, I did not work for the first year after my diagnosis, and I applied for Supplemental Security Income. In the meantime I participated in a clubhouse for young adults and I was fortunate to return to school for one class. Making the change was challenging for me, because I am used to juggling so many different activities. After it is said and done, I

No, Please, That's Not Me

Prior to my diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia I did some things that I am not proud of. Now that I look back on things I blame my illness for my poor judgment. I am by no means condoning the behavior I carried out, and will share with you here. I will provide a few instances where my behavior was unlike me and caused an uproar. This post shows how schizophrenia affects other people. This post is for the family members and friends of people with schizophrenia, or showing bizarre behaviors. First, I asked my mother permission to give my friend a statue that was in my mother's house. My mother agreed to give my friend the statue, however, I took her permission a step further to get rid of what she had at my discretion. At the time I did not live with my mother who was away on a business trip. My mother buys and sells things so she had a lot of collectibles, antiques, and other interesting stuff. While my friend and me were in my mother's house my friend saw a lot of stuff that

The Other Side of the Storm (Count Your Blessings)

While I was displaying different symptoms of adult onset schizophrenia I did not have any idea I had a mental illness. Gradually, I became paranoid, not speaking much or thinking clearly, catatonic, and hallucinating, etc. While I was sick I thought the world was focused on me and I thought I was being watched and critiqued about everything. Also, I thought everybody was against me and were demons. I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia less than a couple of years ago. Now that I am aware of my illness I can try to overcome it through various treatments and support. I know I am blessed because I have the ability to live again! I can hold a conversation again, walk down the street without fear of people watching me and/or following me, and eat my food knowing that nobody is trying to poison me. I can reprioritize my activities to do the things I want to do like fulfill my obligations to an internship, finish college, and do the things I enjoy doing. God has opened my mind up to

Building Friendships

Since I moved back to Atlanta (in August) I have not developed many friendships. Friendships are important for additional support. I found someone I could relate to in my support group at the local mental health clinic, however, she doesn't attend groups much and I didn't get her phone number. I don't think my lack of friendships is a result of my illness, I think it is because I have not been getting out much. However, I feel like I get a lot of support online. Now I am ready for some more friends. To find some friends I could join a church, gym, clubhouse, or get involved in activities at the college I plan to attend next semester. I used to be a member of a clubhouse in California, where I am from, I had a lot friends and associates there. However, the clubhouse my sister found for me here in Atlanta is expensive, maybe I should look into this again and try to find a free county mental health program. Also, there is a scrabble club that meets every Saturday, I could t

Paranoid Schizophrenia

Paranoid schizophrenia is a subtype of schizophrenia. It consists of paranoid characteristics such as persecutory delusions, thoughts that others are following you, the belief that others are trying to poison you or harm you. I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. At the time, I believed my family was against me. I thought my family had contacted friends and told them bad things about me. I believed a relative of mine poisoned me or drugged me which led me to commit a crime. In reality, I committed the crime of taking a military truck as a reaction to my psychosis. In addition to that, I thought this same relative tapped my cell phone and had a device in my phone that monitored my whereabouts. I even thought peers and professors were conspiring against me. Once, I told a friend: "I could feel people gossiping about me." She looked at me like I was crazy and told me nobody was gossiping about me. At one point, I thought the neighbors were spying on me and giving re

Finding the Strength Within

In general, life is not an easy journey, and having schizophrenia or any sort of mental illness does not make it any better. However, everyone must work with what they have and make the best of it by finding the strength within. To cope with my illness I found peace in praising and meditating on the Lord, and also talking to my family. I would read the Bible, recite my favorite scriptures, and sing hymns and pray. I would call my mother and sister daily and tell them everything; what I ate, whether my relationships with friends was going well, and the status of my treatment. Instead, of being discouraged I told myself I would push on and not let my illness get the best of me, for me there was no other option, but to live. Building strong relationships with health professionals is important. To this day, I still maintain a relationship with my case manager, Tamika, from California, and my current therapist, Ms. D. I trust them because I believe they have my best interest at heart. I

Tough Decisions

This is for the family members of people with schizophrenia. Sometimes people are faced with hard decisions such as allowing their loved one to go into the hospital. Remember the benefits when such choices as these are made. A mother of a boy with schizophrenia is challenged by the choice to let her son live in a medical facility, temporarily. I know of her situation through an online support group. I said she should allow it because the boy will get the best mental health support that's needed for that moment. A lot of attention is required for a person's wellness. And professionals have learned techniques to help individuals with mental illness overcome it. Trust professionals and know that your loved one is getting the help they need in order to get well again and to return to you. Sometimes a person may require undivided attention until they figure everything out. Think about it, it may be difficult for you to provide this need, especially if you do not know much about i

The Path that God Chose for Me

I am not upset that I have schizophrenia, this is the life God chose for me. The other day I was telling my mother I am glad I took a break from school, but I wish I had taken it sooner so that I could have recognized my illness sooner. She reminded me that everything happens for a reason, and that had I took a break sooner I would not have been able to know my full potential in college and in life. I went to college and got really involved in it through sports, internships, and mentoring peers. I was involved in so many things, school, church, home, friends, family, you name it! She was right, I am glad I took the path I took. I did not always have schizophrenia, but now that I have it I will work hard to overcome it. I try not to use the word schizophrenic because that identifies the person by their illness and that isn't fair. I am Ashley and I have schizophrenia. I will not let it limit my potential or define who I am. I can and will overcome these symptoms with medication, th

Schizophrenia: Rehabilitation

After my illness progressed I had slow motor skills and I could not spell words like I used to. My mother informed me of these changes just recently, I did not realize how slow I was or that I lost my ability to spell at the time this was happening. I was very stiff, like a robot, because of the side effects of medication. However, doctors gave me Cogintin to cope with the stiffness. In addition to medication to overcome the stiffness, I did yoga and practiced kick boxing, because other people told me I was stiff too. I learned kick boxing in high school, and remembered some of the routines. I remember my mother visiting me in the hospital and telling me I was stiff. She helped me by exercising with me and teaching me how to walk again. She would tell me to move my arms more and put some pep into my walk. We also played scrabble and card games to enhance my memory and motor skills. That's when my mother realized I lost a little of my memory of how to spell. She knew I could spe

Schizophrenia: Disorganized Thinking

A part of cognitive symptoms include disorganized thinking or specifically for me loose associations and poor concentration. I would make two different things connect that had nothing to do with each other. I was also delusional or believed things that was not true with no valid evidence to prove anything. Also, it was hard for me to focus and to complete homework and work assignments. (Side note: while I was experiencing these symptoms I did not know I had developed adult onset schizophrenia). For example, a taxi cab driver told me to 'stay out of trouble,' this statement led me to believe that he was following me or watching me. This was also another type of delusion. Another example, is while I was working for for a relative we received a piece of mail from New Jersey. (Side note: New Jersey is also where my ex-boyfriend visited a lot). I assumed my mother went to New Jersey and drove my ex-boyfriend away from me. I accused my mother of taking away my ex-boyfriend and my fa

WHO AM I...A New Introduction

I am a daughter, a sister, an auntie; and a student. "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, I ordained you a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5). This is my favorite scripture, because God knows everyone and everything before it happens. In the past, I had a little setback, however, I do not let it define me. I am persistent, passionate, and excited about my work. I enjoy going to the movies, running, and painting pottery. I am more expressive, open-minded, and my moods are more stable. I welcome constructive criticism and I am very optimistic. I enjoy being around family and people in general, and I excel at challenges. I like the thrill of accomplishing my new dreams and goals. I am explaining who I am because there are a lot of stereotypes about people with schizophrenia...They are lazy, they are not motivated, and they do not show emotion. However, I show a lot of emotion- I laugh, I cry, and get I upset at the appropriate times. They are violent, have spli

My Creed

Now that I am aware of my mental illness and is recovering from schizophrenia I can help myself and others by promising myself to... 1) Take my medication regularly. I know that without medication I have a high chance of a relapse, recurring symptoms, and going back to the hospital. 2) Educate myself on this illness. I agree that "knowledge is power," and with it I can accomplish a lot. Researching information on schizophrenia will keep me aware of symptoms and news. 3) Tell my doctor if I have recurring symptoms. My doctor is there to assist and to provide solutions for me. 4) Ask for help when I need it. Going to the hospital is not punishment, it is to get well again. So if I feel that it is needed, I will ask for help. 5) Educate my immediate family on the illness. I will share my knowledge with the illness with family to further encourage support. 6) Support others. I will share my experience and offer advice to others with schizophrenia or relatives of tho

Schizophrenia is not Caused by BAD Parenting!!

The situation that I am about to discuss with you is very personal and a sensitive topic, however, similar things most likely occur in other people's families as well. After I had my psychotic break, relatives believed my mother was to blame for my illness. They believed I wasn't raised right and my mother's parenting skills were to blame. Although this was a harsh attitude towards my mother, it was another form of denial. Family made accusations, although I was not even raised in the same state as the rest of my family. Once a person has a mental illness the whos, whats, wheres and whys really do not matter. The only thing that should matter is getting that person back on the right track and moving forward toward recovery. During my childhood, I always felt loved by my mother. She would call me her "princess," "little queen," "pumpkin pie," or "ratcoon." I remember her telling me "I love you," and exchanging hugs before b

Recovery Question

Anonymous Drifter from Disjointed Thoughts asked : "I'd like to know why some of those with schizophrenia are so functional despite their illness while others are totally debilitated." Answer : There are several factors that determine a person's recovery. How one responds to treatment, coping skills, whether negative symptoms are treated, consistent medication compliance, time of treatment, personal history, insight, substance abuse, and support. The statistics mentioned come from a study of 23 cases of schizophrenia patients who have successfully returned to school or work, the study was performed by UCLA. Everybody is different, Sally may respond to X treatment, but Bob may not. One's success with treatment requires trial and error until the proper medication is found. For example, Carol North tried several treatments for her schizophrenia until finally finding a solution to rid herself of the voices. How one reacts to stressors is indicative of how they m

Identical Twins and Schizophrenia

Did you know that both identical twins usually do not develop schizophrenia. Schizophrenia, or any other mental illness, is not developed solely by genes alone, other factors contribute to its development. Identical twins prove this theory, one could develop schizophrenia and the other does not develop a mental illness, this is said to be discordant. Discordant illness in twins is more common than concordant, or both twins having a mental illness. However, it is clear that bad parenting or a dysfunctional family is not one of the factors to develop schizophrenia. "Schizophrenia is caused by a genetic vulnerability coupled with environmental and psychosocial stressors, the so-called diathesis-stress model(". Complications prior to birth, or after birth, contribute to the likelihood of getting schizophrenia. Also, the underclass is more prone to developing schizophrenia than the upperclass, because the underclass is

What Is Remission?

Remission is the absence of symptoms for at least six months with the support of medication. In other words, a doctor who has never seen you before may not diagnose you as a person with schizophrenia anymore. Remission is also high functioning in several aspects of life, living independently, goinig to school or to work, and socializing with other people. However, this does not mean the patient is cured or the illness has went away, the illness is still present, however, under control. Remission is achieved with the assistance of medication. "Published studies suggest that 10% to 20% of people with schizophrenia have remission of their illness as they get older, 20% get worse, but in a large majority (60% to 70%), the course of illness remains relatively unchanged." To reach remission it is recommended that you aim for a stress-free environment. Therefore, do things to relieve stress such as journaling, exercising, talking to friends, listening to or creating music, making