Author Archive for hedrickm

Dealing With Side-Effects

Having lived with schizophrenia for almost nine years I’m no stranger to the myriad different things that can happen when you’re on a course of antipsychotic medication.

Many times these side effects can be disruptive to everyday life. Sometimes they come on slow and have a lasting impact like gaining a significant amount of weight. Sometimes they can be dull like drowsiness or a dissociative feeling.

The important thing to remember in all these cases is that side-effects are negligible compared to the benefit of the drug. Read More →

Saying No to Things

We’re all faced with choices every single day of our lives. We’re also faced with numerous opportunities. These choices and opportunities come in questions from our friends, loved ones and colleagues. Some opportunities have incredible potential to take us places we could’ve never imagined and some are just everyday opportunities like going to the bar with some friends.

This is all fine and good but the problem with a multitude of choices is the fact that to some, we’re inevitably going to have to say no.

Sometimes something big comes along that could mean a fat paycheck or recognition, something you’ve always wanted. Initially you say yes but as you get further into it you realize what a burden this new project is going to be. Read More →

You Can’t Please Everyone

I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks. I’ve been talking to an agent about a book proposal. The book is already written but in talking to the agent I’ve come to realize that in order for him to take me on as a client I would need to entirely rewrite the book. I gave his suggestions a shot with a few pages the other day and he still wasn’t happy. This is after a series of rejections about another book proposal with the same agent.

I kind of have the feeling that no matter what I do, no matter how I rewrite the book, there’ll be parts of it he’s not satisfied with.

This is a problem for me.

Once I finish a large task to acceptable standards I rarely like to go back and re-evaluate. I’m all for editing but entirely rewriting a whole book just looms too large for me. Read More →

Music Can Heal

I’ve known the lows of depression, I’ve known the terror of delusions and paranoia and I’ve known the itchiness of anxiety. In every instance, I know I need to calm down. Most times this means going home pulling the covers up and putting on soft music. I do it so much that it’s become something completely natural. Feeling bad? Put on music. It’s almost automatic and because of that I’ve started to take this simple technique for granted.

Music is something magical. It’s salve for all of life’s emotional wounds and I would be remiss in talking about coping techniques if I didn’t talk about music.

The crazy thing about music is that there’s so much out there that there’s literally something for every mood imaginable. There’s music to calm you down, there’s music to put you in an ethereal state, there’s music to pump you up and there’s music that simply serves to take away silence. Read More →

Being Vulnerable is Hard

It’s a fact of life that you can’t truly form a relationship with at least some degree of vulnerability. You have to open up at some point or another. This has been one of those particular problems for me and as I get older I’m slowly learning how to let people in.

The truth of it is that I tend to keep people at arms length. I tend to maintain a distance even between my closest friends and that may be to my detriment. Jumping in wholly and completely just isn’t something that’s easy for me to do. Whether it’s a result of being hurt in the past or a result of the paranoia I feel everyday as someone living with schizophrenia I’m not sure.

The point is though that I rarely allow myself to be vulnerable with other people. Read More →

Combatting Invasive Thoughts

I’m no stranger to nasty thoughts. I recognize when they’re present so innately that it’s safe to say it almost hurts. In my almost nine years of living with schizophrenia I’ve had to battle my fair share of these thoughts and I’ve gotten so good at it that I can almost see them coming from a mile away.

If it wasn’t the notion that people were making fun of me it was the idea that I’m more important than anyone else, i.e. grandiosity.

I’ve been subject to many nights where I just stared at the ceiling in the dark letting these little monsters run and play their tricks through all corners of my mind.

There are some that are one-off and then there are the ones that keep coming back no matter what you do. I’ve seen and been subject to all kinds. Some are intensely strange and some are more run-of-the-mill but persistent as all hell. Read More →

Living With The Stigma of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia in and of itself is a terrifying word. It conjures up ideas of murderous intent, lack of control, psychosis and a host of other scary things.

I live with this word though, I am the word and the word is me. There are movements in the mental health community not to let your diagnosis define you but believing that is lying not only to yourself but to the world. I am schizophrenic and I’m proud of it. It’s like a long deep scar across my face that gives me immensely strong character and a resilience that you’d be hard pressed to find in the vast majority of people who don’t have the faintest idea what living with a major mental illness is like.

Words fail when describing both the gift and the curse of it. Read More →

Relishing The Good Days

With the rollercoaster that is life with schizophrenia, you come to know not only the bad, tough periods where your symptoms are on fire but also the days where things are calm and you can sit still and listen to the breeze through the trees.

The bad days are hell and you feel it innately but when the good days roll around it’s incredibly easy to take them for granted. If nothing’s bothering you and your worries have dissipated it’s hard to find a reason to overthink.

I’m more than familiar with what it’s like to be so oppressed by paranoia and delusions that it’s hard to even think about leaving your bed.

The reason I’m saying all this is because after a particularly rough time the last few months I got my meds adjusted and now things are pretty good. I try to be mindful of this, I try to give thanks and be grateful for periods like this because I know that somewhere down the line, things may get rough again. Read More →

Riding Through The Blips

Living with schizophrenia is like driving across the country, there are meandering fields and prairies of months when you’re well that almost make you forget you have an illness. Then you come into the mountains and the roads get curvy and steep and the weather gets unpredictable. One minute you could be fine then the next it’s snowing and you can’t see ten feet in front of you.

I’ve coined a term for driving through the mountains of mental illness, I call these periods blips. It’s important to be able to recognize these blips before you find yourself in the hospital again. They may only last a few days or it could be something more serious at which point it’s probably a good idea to get your meds looked at and see if there’s anything you can change.

Right now, in my illness, I’m on the flatland and the ride is smooth and I’m thankful for that because I just got down out of a particularly rough ride through the mountains. Read More →

Remaining Calm in Chaos

I’ve had my fair share of overwhelming times. There have been times where I’ve been so thrown back in my chair that I had to excuse myself from the situation to get a grip on things. If it wasn’t anxiety it was a punch to the gut as some sort of veiled insult or rejection. These things can happen often and it takes skill to not let them get the best of you.

Just yesterday I was hanging out with a girl I liked and she mentioned that she had a new boyfriend. That may seem trivial and it probably is but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t taken aback. I’ve learned with a lot of practice though to just roll with the punches. I don’t let trivialities get to me much anymore and I think it’s a skill that could suit everybody well.

If you think about it, it’s much harder to get angry than it is to just sit still. On top of that, getting angry or worked up has the potential to ruin relationships. Read More →