Life is Good Even with Schizophrenia
The Gift of Lucidity and the Lucidity of Giving
Being adopted is part of my story, as is teenage drug addiction, marrying at 22, and raising three beautiful children. At 38, I received the diagnosis of Schizophrenia. Each of these events have made me who I am today, and I am pretty pleased with who that is.
Problems are just unresolved situations whose solutions await seekers willing to work through them. Through all the difficulties in my life I have been able to overcome each one, at times simultaneously, and other times after many attempts. I find that which works for me in dealing with schizophrenia is no exception.
When I had my first psychotic break, I actually enjoyed it very much. I believed I was very special and that God was giving me messages to give to other people to help save the world. I will never forget how I came to believe very quickly that at last my life had meaning and that I was the most special person to ever live. With this new idea came a huge burden, though, and slowly I deteriorated until I was unable to function as a wife and mother.
It was then that I sought help. I diagnosed myself before being diagnosed by a team of doctors from UCLA. I had all the classic symptoms, though I did not fit the normal age. Thus began my life on anti-psychotics, and how my life began to return to normal. Today, I can honestly say that I do not believe I am the most special person in the world, although I often have to think it through and talk myself out of it, because there is the lingering idea that just maybe….
My psychiatrist believes I do have a very rare form of schizophrenia, in that I am the best judge of my mental status. I know when I begin to become delusional again, and can recognize quickly when a medication is working or not. Many people with schizophrenia do not have this ability. I am glad of this, for it has helped me to achieve many things in my recovery.
My greatest accomplishment is having earned a Master’s degree in psychology in 2012. I very much enjoy my current work in the mental health field with children and families who suffer from mental disorders. In addition, I have raised my three children to be responsible members of society, and have myself been married for 22 years.
Right now, I am having the best time of my life. I love my career, my kids are all doing really well, I have friends and family I enjoy, and I have some hobbies which help me to enjoy life at this new pace. Before being diagnosed with schizophrenia (although later after a severe bout with depression, was fine-tuned to the diagnosis schizoaffective disorder), I had many relational problems and had no motivation to finish things I started.
But now I enjoy many relationships and finish what I start. I recently wrote a book for people who suffer from this disorder and their loved ones. I also have a blog I keep up to date charting my ups and downs and the changes I still go though. My hope is to reach as many people as possible to help them in their recovery from this devastating disorder, which, if left untreated, causes much suffering.
I work very hard to make sure I take care of myself to continue to recover. I take my medication every night, try to exercise, get enough sleep and eat right for the most part. I go to church every week, have a spiritual adviser, pray every day and read uplifting things. I am constantly looking for ways to better myself through introspection and try to give back to my community.
I am not looking for a Nobel Peace Prize or great sainthood like when I was delusional. I am looking to make the most of my life and to improve life for those around me. Yes, life is good and does not have to be stressful. In fact, I hate discord and drama. I still get anxious at times, but deal with it by limiting contact with negative people and surrounding myself with upbeat and positive folk.
What I really wish to express through this essay is that life does not have to end when one gets a debilitating diagnosis. I can be the positive change I wish to see in the world. One way I can do this is by continuing to write and help others at my work. One day at a time, I can live a life worth living, a life that is remarkable because it is unremarkable. No great honors or awards, just a life that makes sense to me, one that I am proud of. I am happy to be me today, diagnosis and all.
To read more about my recovery from Schizophrenia check out my blog: