Archive for life – 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 →

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 →

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 →

Learning to Live With a Schizophrenia Diagnosis

I can remember when I got the news. It was 2006 after a period of almost two years of the irrational fear that people were making fun of me, which then elevated to agoraphobia and delusions that I was a prophet and that the TV and the radio were talking to me and sending me secret messages.

 

It all came to a head when I was unequivocally convinced that I was tasked with saving the world from it’s ills. I went on a cross country trip to the U.N. to spread a message of peace thinking it was my divine ordination. When I got home I was greeted with a mandatory seventy-two hour hold at the psych ward in the community hospital. That seventy-two hours turned into seven days and somewhere around the fifth day I was told I had a chronic incurable brain disorder called schizophrenia.

Read More →

Schizophrenia and Dating, One Example

It started innocently enough. I got there at 4:21, we had joked about being old and eating dinner at 4:30 so I proposed, at the very least, beers. She was a kindergarten teacher and it was a Monday afternoon, Presidents day. A day when she’d be off work. I sat down at a table in the corner and ordered a hoppy beer called ‘Conniption’ from a waitress that seemed to young to be serving beer, she had a sweet smile that I thought could be trouble once my date arrived. All I knew of the girl was that she was into live music, enjoyed beer and had a bit of a bite to her. I had said that I’d be free in a couple of weeks and she came back with a proposal for Monday, I said “I guess that would work” and she immediately shot back “You guess?!, I’m flexible.” It’s hard to convey that kind of bite via text message but she had done it and me being the cautious calm man I am, I backed down immediately and agreed to Monday afternoon. This already felt like dangerous footing. For some reason the fact that she would retort like that spoke to an ironic craziness or at the very least a dangerously inflated ego.

Read More →

Learning to Live with a Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

I can remember when I got the news. It was 2006 after a period of almost two years of the irrational fear that people were making fun of me, which then elevated to agoraphobia and delusions that I was a prophet and that the TV and the radio were talking to me and sending me secret messages.

It all came to a head when I was unequivocally convinced that I was tasked with saving the world from it’s ills. I went on a cross country trip to the U.N. to spread a message of peace thinking it was my divine ordination. When I got home I was greeted with a mandatory seventy-two hour hold at the psych ward in the community hospital. That seventy-two hours turned into seven days and somewhere around the fifth day I was told I had a chronic incurable brain disorder called schizophrenia.

This was a condition that had to be managed, I was told, I would have to take powerful antipsychotic medication every day for the rest of my life and I had to accept that the things I thought were so real were just tricks my brain was playing on me. Read More →

How to Separate Your Delusions from Reality

I’ve come upon a situation recently where it was hard to tell if something I thought was happening was actually happening or if it was just my mind piecing together little pieces of coincidence into some grand, almost terrifying delusion.

Namely, and this is putting it lightly, I was under the impression that someone was spying on me, that they had put a tracker on my car and that they could read everything I was doing on my computer because they had somehow maliciously put some kind of malware on it that I didn’t know about.

Suffice it to say I was under the impression that this stuff was happening for a night or two before I recognized that it all may have just been a function of my paranoia.

In these kinds of situations it’s extremely hard to separate your delusions from the reality of the situation and I know this all too well. Read More →

How to Stop Fighting Your Illness

For years after my diagnosis I fought constantly against the the paranoia and the delusions my mind was supplying. It was churning them out at a feverish pace and it everything I could do to fight them tooth and nail.

As you can imagine, this left very little mental energy for me to actually live my life. I was constantly in fear of leaving my house, talking to other people or even just buying milk at the grocery store. It was a battle for me not to be completely consumed by every strange thought that I had, every notion that someone was doing or saying something that in reality they probably weren’t.

I was blinded and delirious from my paranoia and delusions for a long time until something happened. In a therapy session with a therapist that I saw for all of four times she told me to just accept it. This didn’t sink in until a few months down the line when I was no longer seeing her because I thought that she was judging me and conspiring against me. Read More →

Trying to Succeed as a Person With Mental Illness

As a person with schizophrenia, it’s all too easy for me to get caught up in the flurry of trying to make money, trying to be successful and trying to get an as-yet undetermined place in my career where all my problems will be over.

I’ve been stressing myself out on the daily trying to jockey a better position either for my writing or photography, and as we all know, stress is not good, especially for a person with mental illness.

I’ve talked about the lightswitch effect wherein a compounding amount of stress is the lightswitch for symptoms to flare up. I’ll get worked up and then I’ll get paranoid and then I’ll get delusional and before I know it I’m taking another trip to the U.N. thinking I’m a prophet.

The point of all this is to say that it’s way too easy to lose yourself in the ambition of trying to succeed.

People with mental illnesses have to be extra careful in that regard. Read More →