Archive for society

Why Kindness Matters

The last few months have been hard for me. I’ve had some issues with depression and paranoia. Living with schizophrenia is a rollercoaster and even little blips can turn into crises.

This depression though, has had me feeling a deep sense of loneliness, the paranoia makes me feel ostracized from the world and it’s really hard to feel like no matter where you go, you’ll never fit in.

This was weighing on me the other day until something happened that struck me and it put a long overdue smile on my face that was sorely needed.

It wasn’t anything big, it was just some minor little show of gratitude that reinforced the idea to me that people can be kind to each other.

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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 →

It’s Ok If You Have Anxiety

Anxiety is a fickle beast, it can come on at any point during your day and completely wreck you until you’re able to find a place to unwind.

A major point of contention in my struggle with mental illness has been the anxiety I feel in social situations.

It goes like this, you’re about to enter a new situation and deal with people who don’t know you and you wonder, what are they going to think of me? Read More →

Anxiety Can Protect Us

In life there are some things that are good for us and some things that aren’t. Many times though, the things that we think are doing us harm actually have a component of good. This is true for things like relationships that although were not healthy while we were engaged, taught us great life lessons weeks, months or years down the road. The same can be said for anxiety.

Anxiety was best described to me as the point when your fight or flight response is triggered by something that should be completely innocuous. It can be brought on by social interaction, peer pressure, perceived slights or even things as seemingly harmless as stepping on a crack in the sidewalk or not doing the precise number of actions or the precise order of actions before something happens. Anxiety is the result of compounding worry that’s sparked when we feel we’re losing control and many times it can be debilitating enough to interfere with our happiness. Read More →

You Can’t Make Other People Happy

The one singular overarching experience of living with schizophrenia for me has been the ebbing and flowing of the paranoia that I feel on a daily basis. This paranoia is a worry and an anxiety that people are constantly making fun of me.

To say the least it’s been a rough road. There are times when I want so badly to connect with people but I’m terrified that they’re going to turn around and make fun of the way I look or the way I move or the way I talk that I have all but resigned myself to the delusion as a fact of life.

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Facing Stigma as a Person with Schizophrenia

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia ten years ago. In that time, I’ve been able to stabilize mostly and regain a sense of self that was all but lost in the first few years I was sick.

As a writer, the next challenge is always, “What should I write about?” and to say the least, schizophrenia has given me so much to put on the page.

There are so many different challenges and facets that someone with schizophrenia experiences that to cover everything I’d have to fill a library.

I won’t lie that the illness is also a blessing though, writing about my experiences has gotten me bylines in some of the most prestigious publications out there and it’s provided a basis for self sufficiency. Read More →

How to Deal With Stigma

I’ve lived with mental illness for ten years now. Throughout that time I’ve become acutely aware of the myriad ways in which our culture treats those who have mental illness.

It seems that, especially this year there isn’t a week or a month that goes by without some kind of tragedy. Whether it’s a gun-toting killer entering a school or a terrorist attack there’s always the subtext after something like that that the perpetrator was unstable.

Mental illness is an all too convenient scapegoat for labeling people who do heinous acts and while it’s true that they may have some sort of chemical imbalance, this narrative which plays itself out across media outlets goes too far in suggesting that all people with mental illness are dangerous and unstable. It’s a sad story to have to live with when the majority of people with major mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violent crime then perpetrators.

The truth is, this stigma is everywhere, it’s in the words that we use to describe the feverish impulses of ex-partners and its in the words that we use to describe behavior that is just even slightly outside the normal scope of accepted discourse. 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 →