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Showing posts from 2018

Counseling Helps the Whole Person

When I started engaging in counseling 11 years ago I assumed the scope of the sessions would focus on medicine, and my mental illness. However, nobody should assume. Counseling applies practical problem-solving demands to the stresses of life that impacts peers living in recovery. Counseling may help an individual manage diverse concerns such as codependency, low self-esteem, and motivation to be your best self, etc.! Therefore, if you're newly diagnosed, or do not have diverse experience with counselors my experience, which I will share can help. I will focus on the benefits of counseling from personal experience. There are several benefits to counseling, however, I will focus on only three, here. #1- Counseling focuses on the whole person. #2- Counseling encourages growth. #3- Counseling can be ongoing. First, a significant benefit of counseling is its focus on the  whole  person. The doctor or psychiatrist concentrate on treating symptoms, and prescribing appropria

Psychiatric Advance Directive (PAD): Discuss With Your Therapist and Loved Ones

Living with a mental illness can be challenging, however, with insight and proper interventions we can regain control of our lives, dignity, and independence faster by planning ahead. Over the course of 11 years in recovery from schizophrenia I was hospitalized twice;  at age 20, and age 31. I was single during my first hospitalization. However, I had much at risk during my second hospitalization; my family, home, and thus, livelihood. My experience will further support both newly diagnosed peers, and fellow peers already in recovery who can attest to the disruptions of crisis and hospitalization that may have been handled better had a post-crisis plan and intervention been in place. From experience I learned an even greater lesson than 'take your medication.' The lesson I learned is simple, and not an innovative idea, but sadly overlooked across treatment planning and visits, which is to plan ahead and document it! The psychiatric advance directive (PAD) much like the adv

Re-play on Janssen's Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma- Panel Discussion

Shade. Labels. Darkness. Negativity. Secrets. Shame. Guilt. Hiding. Discrimination... I am referring to the stigma of mental health conditions that plagues conversations, worsens our reality of living with a life-long health concern, and prolongs suffering, and silence.  Janssen Pharmaceuticals' panel discussion about stigma, and art opens the conversation to so much! Dr. Adam Savitz (panelist, psychiatrist, Janssen), Jeff Sparr (panelist, Peace Love), and myself (panelist), and Vickie Mabrey (moderator) held a lively hour-long discussion, Tuesday, November 13, 2018, on a range of concerns impacting people living in recovery, and coping strategies. We spoke first-hand experience on how we cope through artistic means, therapy, and self-expression, and the role of creativity, specifically painting and writing. The arts play a significant role in the healing process of recovery living with mental health conditions including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and schizophrenia. 

Recap on Virtual Panel Discussion Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma

Last night I participated in a virtual panel discussion to promote Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma, which is a an online gallery, and campaign that brings awareness to coping skills through the arts of self-expression. This website is a great resource for peers like myself living with a diagnosis, caregivers, and individuals seeking awareness on mental illness, and recovery. The discussion was moderated by Vickie Mabrey, who I had the pleasure of meeting and working with through Mona Terrell & Associates, The National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ), and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, in the past. Vickie Mabrey is a former ABC News Nightline Correspondent. I enjoyed working with her again on this important discussion, because it covered an array of information that the public should become familiar with such as coping through artistic means, and expanding our support system.  Our discussion mentioned support groups, which the National Alliance on Mental Illness

NOV. 13 - Virtual Anti-Stigma Panel Discussion

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 7-8 PM Eastern Time I will participate in a virtual panel discussion sponsored by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, "Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma." This will be a lively conversation that I don't want you to miss! This event is important to me because people living with a mental health conditions like myself cope, and manage, our diagnosis in diverse ways including artistic means. The Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Sti gma is an anti-stigma campaign by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, who I support and worked with in the past through a documentary, Living with Schizophrenia: A Call for Hope and Recovery (available to view on YouTube). As an advocate, peer, and writer I am looking forward to this conversation to share the truth about mental illness, which is recovery is possible despite stigma and setbacks. Individuals living with mental health conditions can overcome silence and stigma by coping within the

International Survivors of Suicide Day- November 17, 2018

In 2016, "[s]uicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54" (National Institute of Mental Health). Untreated mental illness could lead to premature death, suicide, for anybody despite age. Suicide is not a wish, it's relief to seemingly limited solutions, tormenting states of mind, and a range of different signs and symptoms associated with mental illness. Suicide is not always related to mental illness. However, I will focus on the mental illness and suicide connection. Everybody has a breaking point where one experiences a catastrophic event or events. Many may seek refuge, but do not get what they need in time for recovery. Common problems leading to suicide are financial issues, broken relationships, and trauma, and untreated mental illness. Having such problems coupled with minimal healthy coping strategies, and limited access to r

Coping in the Spirit

I am fighting schizoaffective disorder every day through my spirituality! Living with mental health concerns is challenging. Constantly, I am reflecting on my relationships, self-care demands, and responsibilities, and commitments. Currently, I am challenged most by controlling my high energy, and thought-processes regarding my general interactions, and work. But I maintain hope. A combination of mania, the side effects of my medication, and concerns with self-motivation to perform is a frequent concern. However, I strive to practice balance among my list of general coping skills that I use. I communicate closely with my treatment team; psychiatric doctor and therapist, and I also vocalize concerns with those that I can trust within my circle of influence. In other words, I am managing both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder daily through medication, faith in my medication, and effort to maintain optimism, and self-care! Every day I strive to maintain wellness by focusing on bala

Remembering the Amazing Month of September 2018

Thank you... I thank my readers for exploring mental health concerns with me for 10 YEARS, and counting, on this blog! September 2018 was an exceptional month; full of highs AND lows. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to speak at two conferences, and to share insight on my lived experience. Also, I am grateful to celebrate another birthday with my family, friends. Mark Lawrence, Stomp the Stigma First, the  Stomp the Stigma conference addressed youth, families, schools, and the larger community. Now having experienced two major setbacks, and hospitalizations away from home, life, responsibility, my norm, etc. At Stomp the Stigma , I was a panelist along with four caregivers, and parents, of individuals like myself; living in recovery. We had lively discussion about concerns, and our ways of coping as family to support, to endure recovery, and to live a hopeful life, which can be difficult for the individual, and loved ones. Again, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia

Ashley's Upcoming Workshop September 29, 2018

What’s On My Mind? Coping Takes Work! The Workshop (Description) What’s On My Mind? Coping Takes Work! The Workshop An introduction to a peer’s second book, based on her lived experience with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Despite maintaining wellness, her condition is still an illness that requires work! Eleven years after her first breakdown that resulted in her diagnosis, she has yet another experience where her reality is in diverse worlds in her mind, only. Coping Takes Work! focuses on how she endures the second-time around, still struggling, but not giving in! Through these experiences, reflecting on her first break, and her recent, she still sees hope. What To Expect from The Workshop A group discussion on the following concerns and needs to prepare an individual for a crisis and/or hospitalization: Warning Signs Triggers Practical Scenarios  Your Coping Skills  Advance Directive The Facilitator Ashley Smith is a lived experienced expert, certified

Continue Acknowledging Recovery -September "National Recovery Month"

September is "National Recovery Month." It seems that I almost forgot this?! However, I do not want you to let this special month of recognition go by without additional reflection on the meaning of recovery. Despite living with mental health challenges since my diagnosis in 2007, my definition of recovery changes to me! Although I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, my treatment team switched my official diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder early on without much discussion. As you may be aware, already, schizo-affective disorder is schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Over the years I gained a lot of knowledge about schizophrenia, and not enough about bipolar disorder, which I will work on, every diagnosis requires attention at recovery! Every diagnosis can damage a good person and their loved ones, however, recovery can overcome many struggles with mental health concerns... In 2007, I was hospitalized. And, in 2018, I was hospitalized, again. Through my experience

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

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? “HEALTHY MINDS MATTER”  COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH FORUM & DISCUSSION  SATURDAY, MAY 5, 2018 8:30 AM - NOON  THE HEARTS TO NOURISH HOPE FACILITY  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: - THANK YOU

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

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

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... 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 period