My Antipsychotic Reduction

I am going through a 1/3 strength reduction of my antipsychotic medication.

It’s been more of a challenge these past two months, and that is entirely due to the fact that I have less of this main medication in my system.

What it’s teaching me is that I have to learn new and better coping skills on lower dosages. And, that my worth is not tied to how much medication my system can tolerate.

My psychiatrist made it clear that within two months, I’d be recognizing the full change in effect.

And, now that two months have passed, my wife and I had a discussion about things, where we determined that I am going to have to go back to the old dose.

My symptoms (while I’ve been more aware of some of them), have caused me some issues. And, I think the issues are pronounced enough that I need the extra help.

I’ve tried med changes and reductions in the past, and it is pretty typical for me to have to reinstate old medications/old doses.

Oh well! I am grateful for my piping up and telling my doctor how I felt on the old regimen!

All I can do is try!

What are some of your medication failures and successes?

Mental Illness And Trauma

I am tired. I have been fighting schizoaffective disorder symptoms for 20 years. And, I feel like it never ends!

I try very hard. I make the effort. And, while I haven’t always been where I am at today, where I am at today, at times, sucks!

Thoughts of death and suicide pervade my mind and experience. I want to be better, to be well.

And, for the record, all I want to do with this blog is to show everyone what severe mental illness is like, to give them a peek at the difficulties some of us face!

Also, I am working on healing traumas that I am identifying… And, that is good! 🙂

So, while it’s probably “mission accomplished” on one hand… There is always more work to do!

What have your goal(s) been with your blog? And, how have you reached them?

We Are The Marginalized

Are we? Or is that term outdated? Does it need updating?

I am hesitant to post a title like this, because I don’t believe I am a victim!

But, in my mind, many of us here in the blogosphere, are the 50% of people who actually give a damn!

That’s never to say we are victims, but our situations are oftentimes more fragile than other people’s.

Because of this, we must advocate for ourselves when we are able, and leave the rest to our friends in battle!

There are so many examples of the marginalized (people who, for one reason or another, experience difficulty in modern day society), that I just want to build us all up!

We each deserve some amount of contentment, happiness, and the like.

And, when we are able… we must fight for it!

Like, the fact that I always write about my troubles. Maybe I could switch it up some, because I have so many good days (not)!?

I write about my difficulties usually, because I want you to know of the challenges that people with severe mental illness deal with.

And, all of this is not to say that we deserve some kind of special consideration, but I tend to have a problem with individuals who lump everyone together and say, “we all have problems.”

Aside from blogging, how are you fighting for better days? Do you have a philosophy on how much of your struggle you share, and how many of your good days you talk about?

And, what about people, making statements such as, “we all have problems?” Is that even fair to those suffering from chronic health issues?

I have a lot of questions in this post. Please answer as many as you can!

Thank you…

Thoughts Of Death And Suicide

They are ever present right now. These thoughts.

They are here no matter what. It seems.

And, no matter what I try, they remain.

I get busy and they are there as the busyness subsides.

I stay involved, and they persist, when there’s a lull.

I don’t know when or how they’ll disappear, but they always have in the past.

This is the period where I wait them out.

It’ll get better, it will just take time.

Things are rough though, in the interim.

A Word That Gets Thrown Around A Lot, And Means A Lot, To A Lot Of People

Yes, I am talking about the ‘R’ word or “recovery.”

What exactly does it mean?

Well, time has taught me, that…

1) Recovery means different things to different people.

2) Recovery is a loaded term!

3) Recovery should not be the “catch all” that it sometimes is.

Unfortunately, the above is true for a lot of people with mental illness(es). So true in fact, that, my definition of recovery had to stand out (at least in the sense that I understood what recovery meant and what it didn’t mean). For me.

Recovery according to Mio…

To strive for a better version of myself today!

As I do some personal development, I am reminded that yesterday is gone. And, for all intents and purposes, it is gone for good!

Thus, I am trying to reminisce far less than what I have in the past, focusing more and more on the day in front of me aka the present moment, or the “here and now,” for those who enjoy eastern philosophy/religion. 🙂

While writing this post, I was reminded that I don’t want to be a hypocrite! IN ANY WAY!

So, while I don’t fully believe in a destination for recovery, I do think we can (and should) try to develop habits that help us! And, this is no matter how long that takes…

I am not sure how far I will personally be able to get (again, no destination), but chances are good, that if I stay on this path, I will realize that I am doing far better on it than I am off of it (trying to stick to good habits is the key).

Do you have any effective strategies for grounding yourself and/or developing lasting habits?

Key Ways to Cope With Severe Mental Illness — A Guest Post For “My Brain’s Not Broken”

I originally wrote this guest post for www.mybrainsnotbroken.com. It was a pleasure working with Nathan of MBNB! Please check out his blog at the URL above. Thanks again for what you do Nathan!

Thank you to my fellow mental health blogger Mio for today’s post!

Guest Post: Key Ways to Cope With Severe Mental Illness — My Brain’s Not Broken

This Is Not An Anti-Recovery Post!

Isn’t recovery merely a series of “self-care” practices?

The more I study recovery, it sure seems that way!

I am interested in the idea of full-recovery, which many psychiatrists seem to think exists.

But, does full-recovery exist amid future, potential hospitalizations?

I personally believe that psychiatrists have it wrong, because I find a full-recovery, as they view it, impossible!

What is possible (for some), is as everyone has been saying, a recovery that the person with mental illness designs themselves!

We hold the key, and that’s what’s real…

If recovery is to happen, one must understand that much of recovery is understanding how to “self-care.”

Am I right, community members?

Thanks for your participation!

Talking It Out (And Doing The Right Thing) Has Helped Me

One day, while browsing around Reddit, I was excited to find this post’s image file. And, both it and some adjustment of “expectations” (where my friends are concerned), have helped me tremendously!

Due to the symptoms of my illness, it has been so very important to both talk it out and do the right thing, each and every time I am having troubles.

For example, I was upset at a friend, who I had upset (due to some of my symptoms and an inability, at the time, to explain my situation any further).

Now, I know I am being vague.

But, what it all boils down to, is that if you value someone, talk it out, do the right thing, and you’ll rest easier at night!

If it seems difficult (it just might be), just know that sometimes these things are difficult, but you and your relationships are the better for your communicating what needs to be communicated.

And, this advice applies, whether you have an illness or not!

Struggling? Newly Diagnosed? A Message For Families Of Those With Psychosis!

Disclaimer: This Site is intended to provide general knowledge, and is not intended to serve as medical advice of any sort.  Changes in mental health treatment should never be made without consulting your health care provider.

This has been my doctor’s and family’s approach to helping me with schizoaffective disorder.

It sometimes takes awhile, but my overall message to you, is that psychosis can (and often does) get better!

In the past 20+ years of living with schizoaffective disorder, I can tell you six things (some of these you already know), that have helped the trajectory of my mental illness.

Below are some of the things that my parents were able to do for me…

1) Never compare your loved one’s struggles to anyone else’s hardships, past or present. Their struggles are unique to them, and are more than enough for them to handle!

2) Have your loved one take their medication. It can be difficult for some people with psychosis to recognize that they have an illness. Keep working with the professionals, and depending on how “ill” your loved one is, consider getting on as POA for their health care (for awhile).

3) Validate your loved one’s feelings, but also know that some psychotic symptoms need to be challenged. If you can challenge their symptoms safely and healthily, then you definitely should! Also, it can be quite tricky dealing with religious delusions and hallucinations (with your loved ones), so tread carefully, and allow your loved ones some latitude with carving out a “helpful” belief system.

4) Have your loved one try and follow a schedule. This is a lot more difficult than one might think! I personally have been trying to stick with a schedule for two decades, and with little luck. However, I stay productive (not just busy), so that is important too!

5) Let your loved one know, whether it be through actions and/or words, that they are important in the world, and that they are “loved!” I can’t tell you enough, the difference that this has made for me in my life—knowing that I was loved (while in the midst of so much suffering)—that really has made a difference for me!

6) Don’t preach “recovery” to your loved one—especially if you (and them) are having trouble with some of the earlier suggestions. This could cause a lot of damage to your loved one! Your loved one needs to know the tenets of one through five, and when those are being followed properly, then you can have discussions on where they see themselves in the future, and “they” will formulate what they must do to embark on the road to “recovery.”

I personally am still very symptomatic, but having worked on all of the above, with the professionals, my parents, and a few close friends, I am on the upswing (and, doing quite a bit better than I was when I first presented symptoms).

Best of luck to you (and with time, intentionality, and patience), it will get better…

Blessings!

Coping With Some Of The Suffering That Is Brought On By Both Life And (Mainly) My Schizoaffective Disorder

NOTE: Life sucks! And, I hate the fear that is associated with sharing this post, and the one on the topic, that precedes it… but, even though life is difficult and I am afraid, I am publishing this bit of info. anyway!

The short version of my diagnostic history, is that I had a few “breaks,” and was diagnosed with Psychosis NOS, a little over 20 years ago.

Then, almost three years after those initial “breaks,” I had some additional “breaks,” and was given a string of diagnoses, before they settled on schizoaffective disorder – depressive type.

All three years leading up to my receiving the schizoaffective disorder diagnosis, I had taken a range of psych medication, none of which I was able to stick with for very long.

All of the pain associated with life and the disorder, eventually got me to recognize that medication was my “future,” so I began taking it.

It was difficult, but I took (and still take) my medication!

Besides taking the meds, what also helps me, is that I am emotionally expressive. I share a lot of myself, while also establishing and maintaining good boundaries.

Emotional expressiveness may be more or less a personality trait. So, while you may be able to teach it ultimately (I learned it in therapy), for a number of reasons, it might also be elusive for many.

Another component that helps me to cope with my suffering is becoming more aware.

In becoming more aware, I experience an increase in symptoms (i.e. delusions, hallucinations, depression, and anxiety).

Gratefully, I have the amazing help of my wife—plain and simple.

This woman educates herself! She is intelligent, creative, talented, selfless, and my anchor! And, she is there for me ALL of the time!

I get a lot of reality checks from my wife each and every day…

I am a high achiever by nature, and I probably pick my wife’s brain more often than what most people would do regarding their significant others, but it helps me to cope with severe mental illness—and, tremendously so!

Everything I share with the world, has a hint of her to it. I owe much of my success to this wonderful woman!

Before my wife came along, the world was a little darker…

Most days, I’d call my close friend (who is self-employed and made the time to talk to me), about how I should proceed on a plethora of life and illness issues.

I called him many times per day some days, and before my wife entered the picture, it was he who saved me from having a greater level of despair regarding life/my illness.

I don’t know how I got so blessed, but I do know, that I still suffer A LOT—even with ideal circumstances.

In sum, you might say that it’s been 1) the support I’ve received (the meds, a good psychiatrist, and an all-around excellent support system), 2) my emotional expressiveness, and 3) becoming more aware.

All of the above have helped me to do what I am doing at present! And, while it may not seem like much to some, I continually challenge myself each and every day through this medium of writing (blogging).

It also helps that I read, listen to a lot of music, and watch very little TV!

Have a good day/night!