Sharing my story of mental illness, gives the suffering I endured a purpose, to tell others, you are not alone and to seek help.
I was dianogsed with paranoid schizophrenia, the second treatment dianogsed me with schizoaffective disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. With my medication adjusted, many symptoms have been relieved.
Voices in my head were introduced, and there was no escape from the torment of endless chatter. The doctor has full confidence in the written prescription, I thought the voices would stop. Unaware the suffering I endured was just the introduction to a life long condition.
After two weeks on the medication without improvement, I tried a new prescription, this process was repeated countless times. I lost faith in medications and the doctor. I was awakened by the voices many times a night, I was exhausted. I waited for the pills to quiet my mind, the disorder revealed the mind games.
I was victim to twisted thoughts, I was consumed with fear and confusion. I was convinced people were watching me, I would look for cameras in the house. When I would try to relax, I would hear static or recording buttons, the hunt would continue.
The medication failed to address any symptoms, I was revered to a mental health program where my cocktail was adjected. Losing all confidence in medication, a new counselor helped me learn to cope with the voices. I was abused from the inside, insulted and threatened. Their directions were not always ignored resulting in harming myself.
No one looked at me the same, I lost many people in my life. This is disorder is not understood, they assume I am violent or a danger. My family were exposed to my behaviors, they distanced themselves. The judgements I faced destroyed me, I became so ashamed I hid from the world. Forced to attend a support group, I found acceptance and understanding I desperately needed. I felt like I was apart of something, somewhere I belonged. How can you continue to feel ashamed with other people with the same battles?
Waiting for a care giver to be assigned, I was left home alone during the day, this was a big risk for my family. Strange behaviors resulted in countless police visists, arrests, and hospital stays. I would often go missing for hours with no memory of what I was doing, people often reported me to police. Police are unforgiving and not trained in mental health, their response was always terrifiying. I was often stopped by police if I was outside to check on my condition. The neighborhood children were warned to stay away from me, they made a game out of it, running from the crazy lady. I was a joke in that town, eventually scaring them was sport.
Continuing treatment with a counselor and prescribing doctor was helping. The symptoms became manageable, and I was capable of handling limited responsibilities. Fearful of my unpredictably, I refused to leave the house for months, this only created more fear of leaving. At times I was forced to leave because I needed some exposure, resulting in crying and panicking. My counselor tried to work with me on this but I refused to participate, she was committed so I eventually was successful.
In treatment I learned to cope and address the voices, evaluate new thoughts in my head, and keeping calm to prevent episodes. Not always successful but we tested many methods. I was able to fake being close to normal.
I was so proud of my improvements, I mistakenly thought I was cured. I ended treatment and I failed to take my medication regularly, this was a big mistake. A couple days of strange behavior, and escaping the house, and going missing I was considered a threat to the public. I ruined everything for my family, I was so ashamed. We were evicted from our home, and we were homeless. Not able to a fit mother, I asked my parents to watch my kids for a year while I get treatment and housing. I slept in a car and tent until I got the hotel, I thought I deserved that for what I had put my children through.
Well, here I am sitting in a hotel treatment provides and seeking housing. This program has changed my life, I am so grateful for my counselor who identified issues, missed by others. I really consider her as my mother, she takes care of me like one. I am now functioning at a high level but I have my little moments. I never thought this would be an adventure but I am having fun, I am able to participate in the world with very little fear. I am no longer terrified of small issues, I have confidence in talking to others, I can go in public without fear, and I no longer fear judgements.
The first time in my life I have accepted myself, I can take care of myself, I forgive my past, I have met people with the same battles, I do not live in fear, and I am no longer a victim to this disorder. In the chaos, I found self love, respect, courage, acceptance, and happiness
This disorder can be brutal but treatment and medication can help with the symptoms. If you have a mental health disorder, please know you are not alone and there is help. Suffering in silence only delays recovery, there is no shame.