In Boston…

Dear readers,

Sitting here relaxing in a elegant hotel room listening to music and watched a ted talk on body language which was enlightening.

Can’t believe I’m here moving forward in my recovery doing things I couldn’t have imagined!

I blogged on the plane ✈️ and will post it when I get back but it was about an article that promoted people like us not being medicated the rest of our lives but I know the opposite to be true…

I have tried going off my meds and the results were dangerous and led me to other hospitalizations.

Didn’t finish the rest of the article ha ha! Light reading for the plane.

Still don’t know what I’m here for but reception is soon and hopefully will know more soon!

Peace and love to all of you!

Pax

Victoria

Epiphany of some sort…

Dear readers,

I have had an epiphany with my life. I used to be scared of epiphanies and still am a little because they can be a sign of symptoms of my disorder, Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder.

But recently I started a new weight loss program as I have regained all I had lost before plus ten and it is mostly due to poor diet and lack of exercise.

Well I am back on the plan that I previously lost fifty pounds and kept it off for several years. One of the side effects of my med Risperdal is that I am always hungry and I eat sugar and high fat foods. Well with this meal replacement program I have all my meals figured out for me so it is a huge relief and I know I will lose weight. This time though I am doing it with fruits and veggies so it is much easier to stay on the diet.

Well the epiphany came last week when I was sick and tired of being overweight and I felt a calling from God to do HMR which is the name of the program. So after several of these messages, non intrusive I must add, I joined and bought my food right away. It is expensive.

Well ever since I have started I am in this almost hypervigilant mode of getting things done. I finished my tax preparation last night and also have been very productive in many ways. It may also be that my trip to Boston of which I leave tomorrow is forcing me to get things done and the fact that my mom is doing great at her new care facility or the diet and knowing I will lose the weight that just weighs me down so much.

I really don’t care the reason nor know how long it will last but my suffering has lessened and I feel great!

May or may not blog from Boston. Still deciding if I will bring my laptop as I will be busy with other things and lately been taking breaks from my phone and computer which feels great as I know at times I am addicted as are many people to being connected. So we shall see but will blog after I return for sure.

Hope you all are well. It may sound like a small epiphany but my mindset is much better being on this controlled diet and with a wedding to Hawaii coming up in April plus so much I want to do offline I am really looking forward to what the next few months will bring.

Pax

Victoria

Struggles and Successes…

Dear readers,

It is early, went to bed early and I sleep my 8 hours faithfully every night.

I have sure had a roller coaster ride lately. Much sadness and good things too. And I am dealing with it the best way I know possible.

With the scare of my mom losing her full memory, seeing my dad a lot who has lost most of his memory due to a major stroke and then another one, and then the good news of a new journey for me in speaking up for our mental disorders I am all tuckered out.

My daily struggles are just that and although yesterday was an amazing day it still sits with me that this disorder is always right there waiting for me to give in to feelings of despair or despondency….

Some days I struggle to find something in my purse. Yet other days I am alert and ready to conquer anything and everything almost. But when I am busy like yesterday (ate lunch with my mom, went shopping for Boston with a friend and then later by myself to stock up on food while I am away, I get to a point where I just need to be alone and it usually takes a whole day to be alone and regroup but today is another busy social day.

I am taking my mom to Mass, and shopping for her and then my son and fiance are coming over for a bbq. No alone time till the night except for right now till ten.

If there is something I know I have to do I do it. And when I am working I have a schedule of some sort but the days now sort of blend together as I jump between alone time and social activities. But not working I have more down days than I care to admit but that is just how it is.

My struggles are real and I pray often to the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction for my day and it is amazing how He always answers me.

It’s weird because I have been feeling deep emotions again and I think that is due to the new antidepressant meds. When I look back at my old blogs I think that I have come a long way yet I am doing worse than other years. I still can’t believe that I earned my Master’s in Psychology post diagnosis. But I am a good student although I am definitely done with school.

But when I look back to 2008 when I was first diagnosed and now 2019 knowing everything I have been through I think I am very fragile and know that stress brings on a relapse of sorts. Although I am not in a relapse right now I struggle to get through each day where before it wasn’t the case.

I see my psychiatrist every month now where before I would go 3 months between visits. But he really helps me to balance my highs and lows so even though he is an hour away I make the trip and feel it is necessary. Perhaps I will be able to go back to three months in between but for now every month is where I am at.

I know I am deeply affected when my loved ones are sick or travelling. But I have much faith in God to see me through all of this and although I may not constantly be able to look to Heaven for help, He hears my pleas for assistance and although lately it seems He is slow to answer He always does.

Time in heaven is not like our time on earth.

Anyway around it it is an amazing journey to walk with Christ…

Pax

Victoria

Fun stuff…

Dear readers,

Today was hard but got through it and have some exciting upcoming possibilities. I feel God guiding me and although I suffer every day because of my Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder I feel the tides are turning in my favor.

God did not promise me success in this life. No it was the exact opposite or so I thought. The suffering that I prayed for would involve me not getting any recognition or honors but I am breaking through that delusion and we shall see how God allows me to be a spokesperson for mental disorders at many new levels.

I have had two interviews these past two days and although I don’t know if I will be selected for either of them it is what I feel to be the start of getting my face out there to speak out against stigmatization and to spread awareness that just because we have a disorder we can do many things.

So God I trust in you to intervene if this is not your will. My husband has agreed to me speaking about my disorder and I will even get compensated for some of it so that will make him happy. But I am not doing it because of money or prizes or trips although I don’t mind getting them. No, I am doing this because I want to be our voice. Those who can’t do what I am planning to do, those who are so disordered that they can’t leave their homes to speak in public.

I feel I can and am excited about this new opportunity.

I found out I am getting heavily compensated for my trip on the advisory board to Boston. Shocked me when I saw the figure. But again not doing it for the money but to help others understand what it is like living with a serious mental disorder.

I may not be able to hold down a job but I can travel and get out there on our behalf. Thank you for prayers for me on this new journey.

Feel free to comment or email me as usual at: victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com to share your hope you have been given.

As it was described to me every little bit counts in our journey in recovery. Even if it is just getting out to the store sometimes or travelling across the country, we are so much more than our disorder.

I still suffer at times getting things done and that is one reason why I blog so much. I feel safe at my computer and although I may not be blogging while I am away or be able to talk about my work in a specific manner I will keep you all updated to the best of my ability.

On another happy note: my mom is doing really well at her new independent living facility. She is participating in all the activities she is interested in and making friends. I have been with her every day and have plans to take her out on Sunday to go to Mass and do some shopping. I am so happy that she is doing so well when just a few weeks ago she lost her mind and although the small stroke she suffered has caused much memory loss she is still my mom and I like knowing she has people around her instead of her just being at her house alone being depressed. It is amazing what interacting with other people can do for someone’s self esteem.

I like my alone time but also enjoy many interactions especially now that I have such a vast support team to turn to when I need a break from my chosen isolation.

Hope you all have a great weekend,

Pax

Victoria

To those needing help…

This blog is for those who are either not diagnosed yet or those who are newly diagnosed or for those who have been in recovery for a while…

Wherever you are at please know that it gets better in time if you do certain things to help your mental health.

From making that first call to a psychiatrist perhaps with a family member or friend by your side or even if you are alone. Making that call is the first step towards leading a better healthier life.

After making the call and seeing a psychiatrist it is all about being honest. Honest as best you can because know this that I have not always been honest but never on purpose because Scizophrenia can be very tricky. If you are experiencing symptoms such as voices or hallucinations of another kind be honest with as much as you can accurately describe to the best of your ability. Again if you have a loved one with you it may help to get the information into the right hands. They are professionals and should not only act professionally but with your best interest in mind.

You need to be able to trust your professional and if paranoia is at play it may be hard to discern who to trust so trust your loved ones if that is the case unless you feel very strongly that you can’t be honest with your psychiatrist. I have suffered from paranoia along the way but when I stepped into my psychiatrist’s office I felt safe and like I was able to share my story to get the help needed. I have now been with him for eleven good years and hope he never retires.

To those who are newly diagnosed know there will probably be setbacks in your recovery from side effects to relapse to future hospitalizations to who knows what else. It is important not to give up hope if this is the case. Mental health is fragile for the person afflicted and the only way to get better is to not give up and throw it all away because of one bad experience with a drug or mental health care professional.

Exactly one year ago today I was in the psych ward once again suicidal and thinking once again that my world was ending. But now a year later I am doing many things in my recovery that I never dreamed possible. I have learned that I cannot work but have become a proponent for mental health through this blog and other venues, and may even be sharing my story in the future if that is the path God allows for me. Point is you don’t know where your mental health will go. One way to start feeling better for some right away is to blog about it. WordPress.com is awesome for getting started and very helpful in getting a blog going. Or read other’s stories to find the message of hope that speaks to you and your loved ones.

Education is key to success I feel and the more you can educate yourself on your disorder and treatment (ignore the prognosis if possible because that may just depress you) and become an advocate for those who are still suffering.

If you have been in recovery for a while know that it even gets better from here. If you socially isolate, get out, and if you can’t get out find a psychiatrist who may help you to adjust your meds better to be able to do so. Don’t get me wrong as there are times when I don’t get out very much but the days I do are better days. The days I connect with others and make connections with others who are and aren’t mentally disordered.

And finally don’t call yourself mentally ill. You have a disorder. Illness indicates being sick and we aren’t sick. We have fractured minds and need to think about it as that not that we have some illness that will go away in time or needs to be treated with kid gloves. Thinking about it like that will help you to get the best help you need without feeling sorry for yourself for what others may term mentally ill.

There enough advice from me today. I just finished my first of three interviews on getting my personal story out there and these were some of the things I said in my interview which I felt to share here on my blog today.

God bless you all! Never give up getting the best possible care you can and if you still suffer know you are never alone. I suffer every single day yet am able to do much like travel to Boston to sit on an advisory board next week!

Pax

Victoria

Second blog today… sorry:)

Dear readers,

The more I think about my psychotic periods the more confused I get. I layed down after my first blog and tried to figure it all out again and I simply can’t. There is so much that is mysterious and unexplained that I can’t expect anyone except God to understand. It is very hard to wrap my brain around…

So I am back at the conclusion that I must not think about the parts that don’t make sense. I will be doing the interviews truly God willing and see how things go.

My first interview is Thursday, second one Friday and possible Ted talk interview in a couple of weeks.

We shall see how it goes…

Thank you for your patience with me. Although I am not psychotic I know I may at times not make perfect sense. That is part of the disorder and I make no apologies. This is me!

Heading to the beach to think some more about what I will be saying in my interview tomorrow. The beach is a safe place for me where I am able to think and love God freely. It has become my church so to say.

God is good and will surely guide me because I am asking for guidance and He never disappoints!

Bless you all,

Pax

Victoria

Shared Psychotic Disorder…

Dear readers,

I have Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder for sure. But there are some elements of my psychotic period when other people believed in my delusions which makes it very hard to fathom that I am not as special as I once thought…

I spent the day yesterday with my adult daughter who is going through a rough time. We spent the whole day in between my psychiatrist’s appointment and a my sons college tennis match talking about everything. We talked about her and her difficulties and it is good I can be there for her and one thing she brought up was the trauma she experienced of losing her mother for that time after I received the gift of schizophrenia back in 2006 when she was 13. It was very hard to hear how traumatized she was when I sort of disappeared.

It’s weird because I still cooked and cleaned but I was in my own world as I still am now but am much more accessible to all my children. But I still suffer from symptoms or delusions at times and there are some parts of my disorder that are very hard to wrap my brain around.

In our last discussion I talked to her about the time that the devil attacked her when she was sleeping and she was paralyzed physically until I prayed over her. This happened twice in one night and it was very scary. But I prayed for the precious blood of Jesus to end the attacks and it stopped them. My explanation for these occurrences is that even the devil believed I was very special and attacked my daughter because of it. The devil leaves me alone now except to entice me to sin, which unfortunately I give into more times than I like to admit although I am currently winning and pray it continues.

This makes my disorder very hard to talk about and I am not sure if I would be the best one to talk about having Schizophrenia because of it.

There are other times when others believed too that I was very special and although I won’t get into them here because they are very confusing and real. But they happened.

The confusion this causes me is extremely painful and has only happened once since beginning treatment. I feel like when I step outside of God’s will that it may happen again but for now things are quiet.

It will be interesting to see how God allows or disallows me to do these interviews and maybe even a Ted talk. It is very clear to me that God does not want me to work. Every time I try to work something weird happens and I am forced to quit; the most recent time was in my teaching at community college job which I enjoyed immensely until two students got into a verbal fight in the classroom and the stress of the college allowing both of them return to the classroom was too great for me to handle.

Although there is confusion I can still share my message of hope for others who suffer too as I have much hope to give.

Lately I have been suffering a lot due to my disorder but after talking to my psychiatrist and sharing all that has happened this past month he said that even a person without a mental disorder would be struggling and have a need for a lot of down days.

I know that walking helps my brain so will be doing more of that every day I can. Yesterday I walked 4 miles and was so tired by the end of the day but it helped my mental state a lot.

Have any of you had unexplained shared psychotic disorder in your path to recovery? Does any of this make sense that others would receive messages too. Am I special or just disordered.

These questions haunt me and I will be praying very hard to know God’s will concerning me speaking about my disorder with this in mind. Thank you for your prayers as well. I don’t want to misrepresent Schizophrenia and when I call it a gift and lately I don’t feel so much like it is a gift anymore due to the pain it has caused my loved ones.

But I am excited for several opportunities that are coming up and their possibilities. When I was teaching last year I didn’t feel disordered at all but in speaking about my disorder as a common activity I wonder if it will make me feel disordered again as after yesterday talking so much with my daughter about it I’m really not sure how I feel.

For now I will do the interviews and see how God leads. I only want to be in His will whatever that is… It may be an interesting time ahead or it may just be me talking about my disorder. We shall see how God leads…

Thank you for reading and comments are welcome and always helpful in discerning God’s will…

Pax

Victoria

I am a fighter…

Dear readers,

After a rough day yesterday I realized that I am a fighter as are all of us but all to varying levels and whatever level we are at we can always step it up a bit.

Some days lately it is hard to even look to God for help but He has given me times like this and I praise Him even in the storm when I feel helpless.

Yesterday was one of those days so I did all I knew to do and called a dear friend and spent half the day with her. It was exactly what I needed and I will do it again. God provides us with people often when we cannot fathom His greatness and the fact that He knows every hair on our head even when we can’t look to Him directly for help.

So how are we fighters. Well for starters we’re here aren’t we? Reading blogs about mental health. Blogging our own blogs trying to figure things out and not giving up by giving in to suicide or self injurious behaviours.

We should also be fighters with our mental health with our doctors, psychiatrists and the like. By sharing exactly where we are at with especially our psychiatrist and therapists will get us hopefully to a better place as I am going to do today. I feel a tweak of my meds coming on. No pychotic symptoms thanks to the meds I am on and the CBD oil I take daily. But too many days of lack of motivation or maybe I am just addicted to my computer lol.

I am also a fighter in my marriage which is stronger today after a small fight we had yesterday. I expressed my displeasure with one of his actions and he got mad at me for getting mad at him. Ha ha. I didn’t give up but shared with him that it is normal and healthy to have fights in a marriage and that just because I am mad at him I am not just having another episode but am expressing how I feel which is good. Since our last separation he has pretty much been walking on eggshells around me so the fact that he took a chance to play a mean joke on me means he feels I can handle it and not be afraid that I will just run away.

I also don’t let people (mainly my sister) just walk all over me like I used to. I stand up for what I believe and don’t just give in and allow things to happen that I know are unfair; no I stand up in my way which is sometimes passive agressive but I don’t just lay down and take abuse. I go to my brother and get his help in dealing with my sister and he is awesome to stand up for me. So I guess although I may not fight my own battles I go to sources that will fight for me.

Like when I finally got approved for disability it was only because my therapist at the time interviewed me and wrote so eloquently why I should receive disability. And it worked. Praise God!

I am now a fighter in a new arena. My husband has agreed to allow me to speak about my disorder so I will be fighting for me and everyone who has Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder. I will be doing the video for SAMHSA if selected and I nominated myself to do a Tedtalk. I will also be open to other speaking engagements as they have come up in the past and I have turned them down. I will fight for the world to see that just because we have this disorder we are not unable to do many things that are unimaginable; we only need our imaginations to achieve them.

I am not always inspired but right now I am more so and we shall see where this new way of life takes me.

Wishing you all a happy day! Don’t give up, continue to fight for the best care possible to get you to where your dreams lead you. Dream big and don’t let others tell you you can’t do it because if you think you can then there is a good chance you will achieve it.

Pax

Victoria

Vacillating on doing interview or not…

Dear readers,

I am torn right now between doing the SAMSHA video or not for several reasons..

I think it is an amazing opportunity to help spread awareness but at the same time putting my face out there for Youtube and other digital outlets may not be the best thing for my marriage. My husband has asked me to not ever speak about my disorder but to remain anonymous.

This blog and my book is under a pen name and it is a safe place I can express myself fully without judgement.

But putting my story out there in this fashion might not be the best decision.

And also going through my story again is very hard and there are so many aspects of my disorder which I do not understand and that are impossible to explain. Am I the best face or person to represent the mentally disordered population really?

I am planning to discuss this with my husband prior to the interview next week. I was just going to do it but my marriage is fragile at times and I don’t want to do something that goes against his wishes. I believe God can speak through him but I already know what his answer will be, to not do it.

I haven’t even been chosen yet but why waste their time doing to selection of the spokesperson if my husband is not agreeable?

The other day my husband expressed to me that he did not want to add on to the house with our inheritance money because he isn’t sure if I’m going to have another episode and leave him. This is the harsh reality of my marriage. I cannot guarantee that I won’t but hope that God will continue to heal our marriage and help him not to feel that way.

I am doing better these days on the new anti-depressant meds but still haven’t gotten out to garden yet. It is enough right now to just keep up with the house and paperwork, keeping track of his 25+cars and the taxes and bills. He promised to take over the bills but hasn’t and isn’t going to. But he is giving me more money now so that makes doing the bills much easier.

I feel like I am walking the tightrope with this decision.

As usual prayers are appreciated and if anyone has any comments on this major decision they are welcomed.

Have a great Sunday,

Pax

Victoria

When symptoms first started…and what I did

Dear readers,

My blog yesterday really wiped me out most of the day. Talking about the people who have stigmatized was really hard. I want to try to understand their reasons but it is hard to be at that place. I am passionate about this and hope I will be able to do the interview and be able to shed some light on this terrible injustice. Just sayin..

So the interview question today I am going to blog about is, When did you first notice you were having symptoms, what happened and what did I do?

Well my mom would argue that I had symptoms all my life. I ran away from their iron grip on my life at 16 to Arizona and then moved to New York when I was 18 to become an actress. But I was too caught up in drugs to do any auditions and ended up living on the streets. But God protected me even as I walked around at 3am on the streets of New York City by myself. I had the idea that if anyone tried to attack me I would just act crazy and thought they would leave me alone. Ha ha. No one attacked me and I was saved from a fire at our squat where a dear friend died in the fire which was arson from a neighboring gang. My friends name was Carrie and she was a 14 year old runaway from New Jersey. I have always blamed myself for her death because I was supposed to meet her the day before to do our punk hair and I didn’t meet her. I believed that if I had met her it somehow would have ended up different for her. I forgive myself and God used this death to send me back home to my parents where I began drug and alcohol treatment and found God or He found me.

But how I feel was those were just tumultous teenage years. I have always been an extremist and still am today although the medicine has mellowed me out a bit.

The real symptoms of my Schizophrenia began when I was 36. I was stressed from taking care of my grandma who lived with my family for 3 years. I remember coming off the freeway and my brain just sort of popped and I knew something was happening to my brain. Fast forward a couple of years and her death which I got to be there with her along with my parents was peaceful but affected me greatly. She was the one person in my life who accepted me for who I was and even though she lost her mind at the end I still suffered a great loss through her death.

Soon after that I received the full dose of Schizophrenia at Mass one night and soon began hearing voices of Jesus and Mary. I was 36. I had much emotional turmoil up until I began anti-psychotic medication. I was like this for almost two years when I went into UCLA psych ward and upon entering I told them that I had Schizophrenia and the doctor who was mean said there was no way that I had Schizophrenia because I was the wrong age and other factors. But three days later after observing me with the other patients I received the diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Prior to antipsychotic meds I was receiving messages from God all the time. I wrote prolifically to priests and others who I felt that God was telling me to give them to. When things weren’t working out I decided to do a search on line for what might be causing these strange happenings. I began to question if I had some sort of mental disorder. After reviewing my symptoms I came up with the diagnosis of Schizophrenia and began to seek treatment.

There is much confusion about this period in my life which I believe will always be a mystery until I am in heaven with Jesus and Mary.

That’s is just tidbits of my psychotic experiences. I could write a book and have called “Loving God, suffering and being in His will for all” which is available on Amazon. I am proud of finishing my book but can’t read it as it has much that I would take out in hindsight and add more too.

Our brains are complex organs and mine does not function fully. No it is fractured and today I have the whole day to do what I please. Going to soak in a hot bath and relax but the dishes are piled up again lol. My patterns repeat but I am sure I will get them done but for now Calgon take me away.

Hope everyone has a nice day!

Pax

Victoria