I used to be very prideful- then I was given the gift of Schizophrenia. It has truly humbled me but although I have prayed for a healing of the mind, I am not relieved of Schizophrenia. I know this because of my recent relapse.
The psychiatrists give us medication to take for the rest of our lives. How do we know we need it still say 5 or 10 years later? In my case my relapse helped me to know that I do still suffer from this mental condition.
I would like to describe when I exactly received this gift.
I had prayed to be able to suffer for our Lord and He answered me surely one night when I was at Mass. The priests were walking around blessing people with holy water and us the people were renewing our baptismal promises, rebuking satan and the like.
All of a sudden while they were doing the sprinkling I felt deep to my core the holy water. My whole body felt it to my soul. My head almost exploded with sensation and I knew something tremendous was occurring although I did no trealize it was the gift of Schizophrenia until much later. After Mass, I stayed in afterwards and was immersed in prayer and the tremendous suffering began. Soon after that the voices began, the voice of Jesus himself and Mary giving me instructions. The only problem was that the things i was told to do never worked out. It was very frustrating this time of confusion.
I even had others belieiving me that I was hearing from God. There were two cases of shared psychotic disorder that could have been diagnosed, but never were. One person still believes I am special and the other one I have lost contact with due to the stress on our friendship. When one is hearing messages from above and ends up in the psych ward, it can be very painful fot the one who believed with all her heart that her dear friend was a messenger of God.
That is just a little bit of my story. I am sure many of you can relate with your own versions of the delusions that can be very painful. I still to this day do not understand everything and quite honestly i don’t think I am supposed to. I just put one foot in front of the other and if I feel like God wants me to do something outside of the ordinary I wait and make sure it is a good idea. When I am not on medication I must obey so it is much better now being in touch iwth reality.
Recovery is possible after psychosis. I was psychotic in and out for about one year. I knew something was amiss when everything that happened outside of me seemed to pertain to me to a very great degree.
Then I went on medication and it all came to a screeching halt. The visions, the hallucinations, the thought insertion. No more.
I actually missed it, after a while, getting used to the quiet in my brain.
So what does one do when one comes back to reality? It took some time getting used to it, and seriously I felt as if a very good friend had died. But I reached a new normal, a normal that was without excitement and drama. I prefer it now but that definite grieving period was very hard.
When one is receiving messages from heaven and it all stops, it is going to be hard to live life without it.
Now I am much stronger. I do not hear voices or feel like the universe is centered around me. And it feels good. It feels right.
Today I was at church and I realized that truly I am not the most special person in the universe and I was happy. That is a great burden to feel like you are more special than everybody else. It is only recently that I have finally felt less special. Don’t get me wrong. I still believe that we are all special. That we all have a greater purpose in life. But I am not the greatest I can finally admit and it is very freeing.
I went through stages. These stages were one step forward, one step backward and so forth.
Writing has helped. Talking to others does not. Nobody understands what I went through, although people can symptathize with me.
Finding new meaning in life has been the greatest help. I now help others recover from mental disorders. Not that we all are called to do that, but for me helping to bring about positive change in children’s lives has been my saving grace. Other ways to help could be to help out at a homeless shelter or church. I also go to AA and help out there as well. If one is not called to helping people the local animal shelter is another avenue. Giving back is what is important, not exactly what one does.
After trying Abilify, which caused major side effects, I went off medication for a while on my doctor’s orders. Because I was so high functioning, we had to make sure I really had a mental disorder. Now I am not a doctor but from what I have read when one has Schizophrenia the sooner you start taking the medicine the sooner the psychosis will stop and your brain will begin to recover. My theory is that when I started to take the Abilify the psychosis ended and the healing began ending the defiinite psychotic period of my life. After a couple of months being off the medication, I started to really deteriorate. Not psychosis, I believe, but more delusional believing everything was connected to me (even the gas prices) and I began to be passively suicidal.
At that point I knew I needed medication. At my reques,t my psychiatrist hospitalized me and began me on Risperdal, I forget the dosage. The next day I felt better and the symptoms started to fade pretty quick. But my appetite went crazy, which I had lost entirely prior to the hospitalization. I remember eating 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches and still being hungry. Over the next 6 months my appetite did not cease and I gained 50 pounds which I kept on until recently.
Other side effects are that I have a hard time feeling emotion. Crying is hard (before I cried all the time) and laughing is rare. This loss of emotions has been very hard for a very emotional person. I have been told I still have a good personality but I feel like I am not like I was before Risperdal. I continue to be on it to this day and although I am very grateful it keeps symptoms at bay, I wouldn’t mind if I had more emotions. I really don’t know how to conquer this side effect but I do try to laugh and cry and feel anger. I guess it is better this way- to not be psychotic….
I have not experienced many of the other symptoms so for the most part this medication works really well.
Stress can be a good thing but for those of us who suffer from a mental disorder, certain stress can lead to relapse. One of the best things I can recommend is to avoid people who stress you out. Recognize people who are good for you and surround yourself with them. Limit actiivity with family members who are nonsupportive of you and your mental disorder (if they know about it because not everyone needs to know I have found). I recently, again, found myself around someone who had very high expectations of me and what I was capable of to a detrimental degree. I now only speak to her every now and again rather than frequently and it is the best thing for me. I am learning as I go on in life. I hope my experience will help someone else to avoid this kind of stress, because for me relapse is not something I ever want to experience again.
For those newly diagnosed with a mental disorder. I implore you to be easy on yourself. Yes, life will be different but medicine is amazing and can truly bring one back to a sane future. It is not easy this life burdened with a diagnosis. But it can be good. I say this because it is good for me after years of difficulties, to finally have a diagnosis was freeing. I did tons of reserach about my disorder, its prognosis, treatment, different medications and how to recover. I have read many books by many different people with mental disorders and have concluded that while some people can recover without medicine, most people will need to be on mediciation for the rest of their lives and I am one of them. Having a psychiatirist you trust is probably the most important thing. Putting one’s mental health into the hands of a stranger is scary enough, but I cannot imagine what it would be like to not trust him completely. Educate yourself as you are able and trust that in this time and age, modern medicine is awesome! Take your medication fatihfully and give yourself time to adjust to its effects. Hang on to the hope that many people do recover from Schizophrenia and don’t ever lose hope!
Hello. Victoria here. This is my first post so I would like to welcome anyone who is joining me on this journey of the unknown. I call it the unknown because there is so much still unknown about mental disorders. There is so much to say about my own journey and mental disorders in general. Where to begin? I guess I will begin with the hope that I have, that there is the possibility of recovery from Schizophrenia. It has happened to me. I was diagnosed in 2008 with Schizophrenia by a team of doctors at UCLA and later was given the diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder by my now psychiatrist, whom I still see. After a few different medicines I was put on Risperdal which worked immediately and now also take Latuda. Since my diagnosis I have earned a Masters Degree in psychology and currently work in the mental health field. I am a good therapist and all positive symptoms of this disorder have left me . It has not been an easy journey. I do not wish it on anyone. But I feel compelled to help others along the way and give them hope too that recovery is possible. So stay tuned for more blogs. Feel free to write at anytime and I will respond as I am able. Any areas of interest will be considered.