Author Archive for hedrickm – Page 2

How to be Happy

Happiness is a tough one.

We spend a lot of our time and billions of dollars trying to obtain this goal of trying to be happy but, inevitably, we find ourselves back in the grind of it all, dreading going to work, dreading doing the myriad errands and responsibilities it takes to live as a human being in this multifaceted world.

The thing about happiness is though, it’s not supposed to be an all-the-time thing.

Happiness is like a chocolate bar where you break small pieces off every now and again as a kind of vacation from the real world. Read More →

The Devil on your Shoulder

I often equate having schizophrenia to having a little devil on my shoulder that likes to whisper nasty stuff in my ear.

He’s a cunning little bastard too. If he senses a vulnerability or the potential for anxiety he’ll start screaming.

In the eight years I’ve lived with the illness I’ve come to recognize these triggers and do a pretty good job of avoiding them. You can’t do it forever though and eventually the devil is gonna start screaming again. Read More →

Making Friends When You Have Mental Illness

I have a hard time making friends.

To my credit though and to the credit of my chronic mental illness, it’s hard to trust anyone that much when you think everyone is making fun of you.

This anxiety isn’t the only facet of schizophrenia that I live with, there are also the delusions of grandeur, the psychosis that the TV is sending you secret messages and the constant aching knowledge that you’re crazy. At it’s worst, it’s hard to even manage getting out of bed in the morning but with meds and a lot of work on myself those things don’t bother me that much anymore. Read More →

Relearning to Love Yourself

I have a confession to make. I have a reminder on my phone that goes off every morning at 8 o’clock that says simply, “You’re awesome”. This might sound dumb but you’d be surprised how often I forget that fact.

This is just one tool in my arsenal of tricks that I use to combat the depression and paranoia that come with a mental illness.

I’ve been in some pretty dark places and I’ve thought many times about putting an end to things when I’m having a hard time but then every day at eight my phone vibrates and I’m reminded that I’m awesome.

Therapists and gurus talk about the power of positive self talk and I’ll be the first to admit that I have as hard a time talking nicely to myself as anyone else but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t work. Read More →

It’s Ok to Take it Easy Sometimes

This past few weeks has been pretty chaotic for me.

Money has been an issue, I moved to a new city, my nephew was born, I got a new writing job, I had my 29th birthday, I had to housesit for a while and on top of everything else I’ve been working myself into a tizzy over a potential relationship which may or may not work out.

All said and done, I came to the realization last night that yes, I had done it, I had overwhelmed myself wholly and completely.

Stress can be a killer, even more so for someone who has a mental illness. Read More →

Diligence in Recovery from Mental Illness

Recovery is a long process. It takes time and it takes patience to achieve a relative balance and to find a measure of health after you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness.

When I was diagnosed eight years ago with schizophrenia I was so riddled by delusions and paranoia that I could hardly step foot outside. I was constantly worried that people were thinking things about me, talking behind my back and conspiring against me. In the thick of it, it was me against this horrible evil world, and to say it broke me would be an understatement. Read More →

Dealing With The Symbolism In Psychosis

In the midst of a psychotic episode, whether the result of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, one of the main motivating factors in our jilted decisions is the imagined symbolism in meaningless circumstances or objects.

I can remember when I was out on the streets of New York and Boston, deep in the midst of a major psychotic episode. I was convinced I had a mission to bring peace to the world, and though I was destitute, I wandered around following signs and colors and motions of passersby convinced there was some deeper symbolism or meaning in these insignificant things. Read More →

The Struggle of Relating to People When You Have a Mental Illness

When I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago, it was almost impossible for me to talk to people let alone relate to them.

If it wasn’t the constant anxiety and paranoia keeping me engaging, it was the burden of having an 800 lb. gorilla that nobody understood hanging over my head.

How could I possibly get on anyone else’s level when there was this immense self-stigmatizing diagnosis of being crazy sitting on my shoulders?

I was a singular unit among the normal people. I had never met anyone with schizophrenia before. I had no experience with anyone who had mental illness and to say it was scary knowing that I was crazy would be an understatement. Read More →

Dealing With Med Side-Effects

When I was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago, the first medication I took was called Abilify, it was a new drug, one that was supposed to protect against metabolic issues like gaining weight.

It would’ve been fine but it had a nasty side effect no one told me about, the constant restless feeling of needing to move. I couldn’t sit still and I was so uncomfortable that I’d take miles long walks everyday just to ease the feeling.

I felt like I was about to jump out of my skin.

That was a side-effect called Akithesia.

Needless to say, it was so unpleasant that I demanded to be put on something else. Read More →

What To Do About Burn Out

We all know what it feels like when you’ve had enough. It’s that listless weary feeling of not wanting to proceed but knowing that you have to.

Some refer to it as ennui others simply call it burn out.

It happens when the stress of performing a certain task overrides its enjoyment and it can take place in every facet of your life, from your job, to your home life to your relationships.

Many people have trouble with burn out when they feel tired or obligated about something. The truth is, everyone has things they might not enjoy doing but are required to do to maintain their current life situation. Read More →