Hey, Victoria here. Hope everyone is doing well. I am ok for today but yesterday was a different story for a different day. Today I was asked by Schizophrenia researchers to write a blog about how to get the most out of the patient/psychiatrist relationship. So I am working on it and will hopefully post soon.
Happy New Year 2016 to all!
A year ago I was hospitalized for the third time, when the stress of my full time work in the mental health field became too much for me and I became passively suicidal (didn’t want to live but had no active plan to commit suicide). I just finished paying off my share for it and felt it was time to reflect on this past year.
Several months went by and every time I thought to return to work I got incredibly anxious so I quit my job and went on disability for the second time. Then my work offered me part time work which I happily accepted. It was obvious that I couldn’t make it full time but maybe part time would be better I thought. I gave it my all but the stress from being at a job even three days a week was too much so I quit and am now applying for permanent disability.
I don’t even feel bad that I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology and can’t use it. I don’t feel bad except when I have no money although I just recently had all my school debt forgiven ($100,000) due to being disabled. I don’t feel bad because not working feels so right. My biggest stress these days is what I am going to cook for dinner for the family. I also get to spend a lot of time with my elderly parents so that is cool. When I worked I rarely saw them but now I see them every day. So there are benefits to not working.
But this disease makes my life so hard that I don’t wish it on anyone. My memory is affected greatly, I have a hard time in social situations, I make poor decisions despite trying my hardest to do the right thing and I still have some delusions which just aren’t very fun. I work very hard to combat the negative symptoms of this disorder, which include lack of motivation, constant fear at times, and battling depression and suicidal thoughts. If it wasn’t for my parents and children I would consider this more of an option so I thank God for my protective factors.
I do not mean to be a downer but I think it is important to state these negative factors in having Schizoaffective Disorder. If all I write about is how well I am doing, people may be jealous and not have a reality check if they too suffer.
I fight every day to do better and some days I win but then I go to bed and the next day is a new battle and once again I fight for my sanity. The days at times seem endless and tedious. For goodness sake I can’t even work to help support my family. Thank God for disability!!!
Soon I will list my goals for 2016. They are less lofty than previous years because I want to be realistic. I do enjoy life some days but some days are really hard.
To all my readers who have been following me for a while I just want to thank you for your friendship. This blog is a huge part of my life as it is the only place where I can write about what is really going on and when people email me or make comments it makes my life a little bit better when I can help others who are afflicted or who have loved ones with this disorder. I wish I could do more but this is who I am and I have realized my limitations having this disorder and they are what they are. Nothing less nothing more. It is what it is although I fight every day and although there are days I feel like I have lost, all in all I feel like i am doing ok and that must be enough.
Having this disorder can be especially challenging for several reasons.
First on my list is the social gatherings. I do not do as well in groups and feel awkward when I try to jump in the conversation. To counter this I am trying to focus on one or two (at most) people to talk to during festivities. So often the holidays go so fast and I sometimes feel left out. This year will be especially hard due to the fact that I am trying to go on permanent disability so I don’t have work to talk about.
To catch some of you up I was working in the mental health field until it became clear that working caused too much stress which ended in my last hospital stay last year at this time. I finally figured out that I can’t work. Hospitalizations are expensive even with insurance. I have also had all my student loans (100,00$) forgiven due to my disability so that is pretty cool don’t you think?
The other hard part of holidays is all the food. Because of the medication I am on, I cannot eat like regular people. I joined Weight Watchers April 2015 and have lost 30 pounds through making good food choices and exercising a lot. I walk from 3 to 10 miles a day depending on my mood and the weather although I go to the gym sometimes when it is too cold outside. I love food! One hypnotist I saw last year explained to me that it isn’t just the medication which causes weight gain but that the medicine actually causes one to crave sugar and bad carbs. Weight watchers helps me to find food which is still tasty with less calories, sugar and saturated fat. I hope to be at goal in April 2016 so that is only a year of hard work even though I still slip up. I am hoping for a better holiday season than ever before but it is hard with all the temptations around me at the holidays.
My daughter is here for the holidays and we walk every day weather permitting and it is fabulous to have her around for two weeks as she is such a support for me and my disorder. I do have a couple of good friends who I use for support when she is away but it isn’t the same so I am really enjoying her being around to help motivate me.
Speaking of motivation my goals for the New Year are to wake up every day and after coffee and a light breakfast to walk or go to the gym. I really feel like I have wasted the day when I stay in my jammies all morning. Part of the problem is that the medication leaves me drowsy in the mornings but I have been able to get up and get out with my daughter this past week and a half so I am hoping I will keep it up.
Other goals are to cook more healthy recipes, work on my photo albums, find some new music I like, continue to help my parents in whatever way they need it and to finally get to my gardens this spring. Without goals I have nothing to reach for, which when I feel like I am not productive all I have to do is look outside or in my fridge and I will feel better about myself not working right now.
What are some of your goals this new year? Share in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hoping everyone has good holidays this year and Happy New Year!!!
My house is half decorated, no gifts have been bought, and trying to get in the mood to write Christmas cards. I could use the excuse that I am putting it off because of my disorder but I think that would be oversimplifying the real reason is because my daughter is usually the one who helps me the most and without her around I am just not in the mood.
The good news is that she comes home for two weeks next week and I know I will be more in the mood. I miss her so much, her laugh, her determination to get things done, our long walks, our long talks. We text every day and talk once a week but it just isn’t the same as having her here.
I try not to be selfish as she is fulfilling her dreams being in Colorado. She has a new boyfriend who I am sure she will share all about him when she is here and school is going really well. I am so proud of her but the truth is that I don’t do well with her being gone although I will not tell her that. I don’t believe in guilting her to come home as tempting as that may be. I tell her I miss her and that I am doing good most days but the truth is that having her around really helps my condition. I don’t share with too many people how much I suffer still from this disorder.
I am not having any strange thoughts is the good news. Not working is the best thing for me although the days sort of run together without having any real direction which work did for me. I help my parents a lot still and have my sixteen year old son to take care of and he is having some mental health problems this year which is interfering with his schooling. So life has meaning but I am just so sad that my daughter lives so far away! She is my main support and it just isn’t the same on the phone…
Anyway sorry to be a downer but this is where I am right now. Hope all my readers have a great Christmas and a happy new year!
Before I share this boring topic of getting permanent disability I want to welcome the new followers and people who have emailed. I appreciate hearing about others and try to share my experience with them and in the process I have made a few new friends which I cherish.
So back to this boring topic, basically I am now in the second phase of hiring an attorney to fight for me which it is expected to take 4-7 months! I have been careful with deadlines, gathered all my necessary information and hopefully all this hard work will pay off. Once I get permanent disability I can work below poverty level and have a supplement to my permanent disability which will help us to make ends meet. I don’t know how I will do working but will choose a low stress job maybe a hostess or at my local favorite cafe. I know I can’t work full time but hopefully will be able to handle a part time low stress job. For now though I am just barely making ends meet with my husband’s income and my state disability payments.
We are in such a tight budget that there is nothing left for Christmas presents this year. That makes me very sad but we have to learn to live within our means. My youngest son is 16 and he actually understands our situation.
My days these days consist of working out, hanging with my elderly parents, watching my fave show (Criminal Minds) and taking care of my son and the house to the best of my ability. The rose garden somehow is thriving but I still haven’t gotten to the other gardens which are huge projects. I keep planning with my son to help me but it is hard due to the weather and his busy schedule but I have hopes this weekend to get out and get going on them! Mornings are still hard for me to get going but around noon I start to get things done and squeeze in a work out of some sort. The medication really leaves me drowsy in the mornings which I have come to expect so I plan for everything to get done after that.
Happy to report no delusions or voices for a while now that I am not working. And on the 9th of this month I will celebrate a year of being clean and sober. I forgot to mention that I do go to my AA meetings 4-5 times a week and get together with friends of the program weekly along with some good friends I know from work and around the community.
There are days I still feel like I have no purpose which is one reason why I don’t blog much. Same old stuff ya know and nothing really exciting to report but that is to be expected during this season of waiting on my disability to come through.
Keep writing in please it really is great when I check my email and it is a follower of my blog checking in or asking my opinion on so many things.
Have a great weekend!