Archive for stress

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 →

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 →

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 →

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.

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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 →

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 →

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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