Mental Health Friday #15

Mental Health Friday #15

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When the psychiatrist first told me I had paranoid schizophrenia, she started it off with, “I have some bad news.” I have heard my diagnosis described as, “Every parent’s worst nightmare” and many other almost fatalistic phrases.

How are you supposed to feel about yourself when people describe something that is so much a part of you as awful, terrible, tragic, or sad? Living with paranoid schizophrenia is not for the weak, but it isn’t the worst thing in the world either. Those of us with a mental illness know that suicide is the worst thing, because in the case of suicide everyone loses and the illness is the victor. Suicide should be every parent’s worst nightmare, not schizophrenia.

Unlike suicide, there is hope with schizophrenia. I have symptoms every day, but I live a good life. I worked most of my adult life as a social worker, a library assistant, and a marketing director. I am happily married to the love of my life, and I am currently enrolled in a certificate program for writing at UCLA. I am an aunt to some wonderful young women and men. I am a sister to all five of my brothers. I am an only daughter to my parents, and I am a niece, cousin, and friend to many people. Does that sound like “a parent’s worst nightmare?” No, it doesn’t and it isn’t.

Having schizophrenia doesn’t look the same for everyone though. I managed to get through college before having my first psychotic episode. Many people have early onset schizophrenia which can have more severe or frequent symptoms. I only hear voices when I am actively psychotic, but there are people who have schizophrenia that have to maneuver life while constantly hearing voices. The two symptoms I battle most frequently are paranoia and anxiety. Many symptoms are getting less frequent as I age, but anxiety and social isolationism are getting far worse.

If I could change the fact that I have schizophrenia, I would. But if I had to switch my schizophrenia for another illness would I do it? No, I would not change the known for the unknown. I have lived with schizophrenia for over two decades and some of the symptoms of mental illness I have lived with almost twice as long (like depression).

All during that time I have managed to love, laugh and live. In fact, I rarely go a day without laughter. Laughter is an essential and huge part of my life. I have a big laugh that fills the whole room, so when something is really funny to me, many people join in and laugh with me. I am frequently told that my laugh is contagious.

There is so much misinformation, fear and misunderstanding around schizophrenia. Many of the people who suffer from it live in the closet because of stereotypes, discrimination and stigma. I have only been public about my diagnosis for just over a year, because prior to that it caused me too much shame. Now that I live out in the open, I plan to look as many people in the eye as possible, and say, “I have schizophrenia.” Just meeting me can smash all the stereotypes, and that is empowering and beneficial.

I wish I could meet you, so you could see there is so much worse that can happen in life than being diagnosed with schizophrenia. It can be bad, but it’s definitely not the worst.


Today’s guest post is by Rebecca who blogs at a journey with you where she writes about surviving schizophrenia. Rebecca is a writer, a mental health advocate and recently released a book “pills, poetry and prose: life with schizophrenia” which is available on amazon.

For more information on Schizophrenia, Here is a link.

If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’d love to have you. You can contact me on My email address is: mykahani@yahoo.com. Image credit: HealthyPlace.com

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28 thoughts on “Mental Health Friday #15

  1. If Rebecca had made that presentation from a stage, I would have given her a standing ovation. Wishing her all the best in her endeavors to change the public perception of such medical conditions. Great post. 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Nena sent me. I left a rather long comment on her blog about a life changing experience. I call it my born-again experience. I’m at the end of my manic phase so I don’t think I’ll be making any long posts for now.

    I understand the familiar feeling of shame and embarrassment. I was in denial for a long time. I went to a church and they insisted God would heal me and I didn’t need my meds so of course I believed them and quit taking my medication. It was not good.

    What methods have you used in the past to cope with different aspects of your disorder? If you have reliable methods are you still using them?

    One thing I’ve found effective is to learn what my vulnerabilities are. For instance, money management, overeating, relationships.

    I got so tired of being broke all the time money was one of the first things I addressed. This was years ago and I’ve come a long way.

    Overeating well…I’m fat and have no real plan to change anything about that. I like to think of it as acceptance 🙂

    I quit relationships years ago after several bad experiences. I do much better on my own!

    Those are just to name a few.

    The two most pressing areas I have to focus on is:

    1) Become more assertive in establishing boundaries and enforcing them.

    2) CONSISTENCY!! Getting into a solid routine! I’ll do well for a while, but I LOVE mania!

    I just wanted to give you a short introduction. By the way, I am Bipolar, among other things. Check out my about page. I don’t go into depth on mental illness, but I have some blog posts about it.

    Nice to meet you 🙂

    Sincerely,

    Marsha

    Like

  3. There no shame in mental illness, it has to be tough living with it, but you can live a pretty normal life. My cousin who suffers from this disease takes his meds and is able to work and live a happy life. And glad you brought the topic up, since it less stigmatise people with this mental illness.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Rebecca seems very positive in life. And why not? Life should be all about surviving the difficulties and going strong! And, she is a perfect example!

    I am not sure if Yoga can help, but i would certainly give it a try – it has amazing benefits, though many take it for granted!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Such a great post. My sister got schizophrenia when we were teens and both our parents and everyone were so negative about it. I was the only one who tried to be positive about it as something.we could surely tackle, (which they didn’t believe). I wish we had had someone like you at the time to show those in despair what’s possible.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Rebecca you took the bulls by the horn and demanded that it made you live and not simply existing. Way to go in encouraging others with the same health condition as you. Shoot, I am not in the same condition and I feel inspire to kick disappointments and just go on striving to laugh and live. You go Rebecca!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I am amazed at your honesty and at the same time the education that it can give many people about schizophrenia. My brother was diagnosed with it and is home for the holidays. I cry sometimes when I think about the things he talks about that are clearly not true but he seriously believes them. He’s not the brother I spent time with growing up and as a teenager. I battle depression and have been on meds for the last 15 years and I try to talk to people about how it’s not something I can will myself out of without the meds. It sounds like you are doing well which is great! I am thinking of touching more on mental illness struggles on my blog, I’ll continue to work on that. Thanks for the post
    Patty

    Like

  8. This is truly a beautiful and inspiring post. I’m sure just by this post you have spoken to some that really need the encouragement and have no one to turn to. Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    Like

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