Archive for life

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 →

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 →

Don’t Count Your Eggs Before They Hatch

A lot has been happening in my life.

I’ve had a lot of really exciting opportunities for which I’m incredibly thankful, but I’ve also had many potential opportunities that fell through. Sometimes they fell through based on my inability to do the work, sometimes it just wasn’t the right fit and sometimes it was no fault of my own and extenuating circumstances got in the way.

Starting out, I would get overly excited about these opportunities. They would spark an excitement in me that, frankly, was hard to contain. When they fell through though, I would be crushed.

Experience has taught me better than to count on something like that for any measure of success and self worth. The truth of it is your self worth doesn’t depend on what you’ve accomplished, although you can be proud of yourself, self worth comes from within. Read More →

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Meds

As anyone who has read my posts knows, the last few weeks have been touch and go. I’ve had some depression and paranoia problems which have accounted for a lot of weirdness in my daily life, from dealing with neighbors, to just generally being out in public. There was even a die when I went as far into my head as to contemplate what would happen were I to die.

Thankfully, this time I refrained from posting about on facebook, instead letting my family know. My family is my main support structure and thankfully we were able to get me in to see my psychiatrist to tweak my meds.

For the two weeks leading up to the appointment though, I was nervous, my doctor was assigned to me by the community mental health center and I’d be lying if I said she’s not exactly my favorite person in the world. That being said, I was worried that when I would go in she would want to change around all of my meds and get me on something new and completely different than the cocktail that has essentially worked for me for years. It would be safe to say I don’t entirely trust my new doctor but I seem to always forget that most of the time, doctors have my best interest in mind. Read More →

You Can’t Force Things to Happen

It’s been tough getting to sleep the last few nights.

I’ll go to bed and turn off the light and then the thoughts start pouring in. I’ll worry that I didn’t do the right thing in any number of situations during the day or I’ll worry about the work I have to do the next day or I’ll worry that no matter what I do, I’ll never be closer to my dream of buying a house in the mountains.

It occurred to me last night while I was lying there though, that you can’t force sleep. If you try to fall asleep and see that you’re not, that’s just one more thing to worry about. The sleep will come, it always does and there’s no point in trying to force it to happen.

The thought then occurred to me that that notion is true for a lot of things, love, success, peace and life in general.

Read More →

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 →

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 →

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 →