Today Is World Mental Health Day

I have access to mental health care and treatments.

I have good support systems.

I have a partner.

I have good financial resources.

But, I am in the minority of the schizophrenia population with these things.

Better efforts need to be made to help everyone!

Because even though I am comfortable in some ways, I deal with severe symptoms nearly every day.

The fight for better mental health care is only complete when there are better treatments with fewer side effects for all types of severe mental illness.

The Basics Of Dealing With My Severe Mental Illness

My responsibility in life is to firstly, take my meds.

Taking care of myself is difficult.

But, how much more difficult would it be without any medications?

I want to say that taking care of myself to the best of my ability is what I have to do!

For me, there have been many moments, where I question my ability to do more, and those moments are typically followed by my having great difficulty doing even the basics.

Thus, it’s a cycle—whereby I want to contribute more, but I can’t.

It’s a reluctant, but necessary “NO” to a world and to people who do not understand.

And, some will say… what can you do?

Aside from sometimes forcing myself to have and to work on hobbies…

I can sleep too little or too much and not be rested.

I can follow a checklist and not make any real progress.

I can be concerned, panicking about my future as I age.

So, I can do several things, including thinking that I am not depressed, when I am actually quite depressed.

And, a lot of this makes me think about others battling chronic illnesses—do we ever really get out of survival mode?

Or, is there another term to describe the challenges we face?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

A Reflection On My Past Attempts At Suicide

Until recently, I could not grasp the consequences of the pain I was going through the three times I tried to end my life, 20 years ago.

I couldn’t even categorize my attempts as “suicide attempts” until lately.

It has taken me most of those 20 years to get clarity on what it would have meant, had my actions resulted in something I seemingly wanted at the time.

What happened:

Three different times following three different hospitalizations (throughout one summer, during the early days of my deterioration, before I got the schizoaffective disorder diagnosis), I tried to get out of a moving vehicle.

One time, I even took the wheel of my dad’s car (thankfully, not hurting any of us), and totaled the vehicle. I was then rushed to the hospital—this time by ambulance.

I don’t ever want to experience that kind of helplessness again. I do experience a lot of hopelessness—but helplessness—no thank you!

And, now:

I’d like to think that today I’ve built up a pretty good set of coping skills.

Nonetheless, schizoaffective disorder has quite a hold on my life.

The illness and the side effects of the meds, make normal living a kind of challenge I have not been able to overcome.

So, I just do my best, which looks different—depending on the day.

It’s always one day at a time, with an eye towards building up my resilience!

I still think a lot about death, which is different than being actively suicidal.

Part of what was so troubling for me 20 years ago, was dealing with what severe mental illness was going to mean for me and my future.

A lot of what I dealt with then, and from time to time, now, are the stages of grief.

How about you?

Please share some of how you cope with adversity and your illness-related challenges.

(I appreciate the dialogue.)

This Is Treatment Resistant Schizoaffective Disorder II

It’s quite likely that the medications I am taking for my psychosis are providing me with some protection, but not a great amount.

Right now, I am anxious and I want to die, but I know that you only get one life.

Thus, taking it away, even though I am struggling immensely, seems like a bad idea.

What needs to happen is that I need to get on a good medication regimen.

One of my problems is that I already weigh 400 lbs., so any additional medication changes need to be carefully thought out.

I have been on my current antipsychotic medication for around 15 years, give or take.

So, I guess it’s just time to find something new.

None of this is easy. My brain worsening is what is happening, and I don’t take that very lightly.

I am just frantic.

This Is Treatment Resistant Schizoaffective Disorder I

I do not know where I’d be right now, if my depression wasn’t being medicated successfully. Also, my schizophrenia is NOT being medicated successfully.

Sometime in the past six months, give or take, I became quite worse on the main antipsychotic I am on.

I am not well.

You’ve heard this from me before, and the difference is, things are more dire than they were previously.

Right now, I am hallucinating pieces of conversations, and having severe delusions, oftentimes while in the process of talking to people.

This is schizoaffective disorder—the treatment resistant type.

For me, I am more aware in some ways than others who battle this illness, mainly because I am trying to “fix” the problem.

So, this affords me the opportunity to explain my issues in greater detail, right?

I suppose so, but what REALLY matters is that I get my medications straightened out.

I just want to get back to my version of “good” again!

Just gotta hold on!

What To Do When You’re Treatment Resistant To Psychiatric Medications

In my experience, you take the medications anyway.

I am still very symptomatic, and life is quite a challenge for me.

I won’t get into a lot of detail regarding my symptoms, but I can tell you that many of my symptoms are classic schizophrenia symptoms.

There isn’t much left to the imagination where my mental health is concerned.

I only wish, that after trying a half dozen medications, I had greater relief.

And, while it’s true that I haven’t gone to a second line of defense medication (i.e. clozapine), I have been doing all I can at present, to make things manageable as they are.

What are some of your experiences with trying numerous psychiatric medications?

I’m Struggling And Need A Kinder Routine, Some Relief

Gratefully, a new, supplemental antipsychotic medication is on the way!

Aside from that, I am stuck in my thoughts.

I try and find meaning into everything I think, and I no longer know how to relax very well.

Since I take my medications to ultimately avoid hospitalization, I am sometimes stuck with symptoms in a way that some other people might not be.

I’m not sure to tell you the truth.

I just know that no matter what, I do all I can to avoid the hospital.

There are drawbacks to my approach though, like for instance, my life, which is not going as well as I’d like it to be, is oftentimes in shambles. At least it has felt that way for quite awhile.

So, I will continue to take things a day at a time, as I try and restore some sanity with my meds and a kinder routine.

At the times you feel notably worse than others, what kinds of compassionate/routine-type things do you involve yourselves in?

How Do You Maintain Connection When You Have Mental Illness?

For me, I wasn’t able to maintain many relationships for the first several years of my illness.

And then, with time, I slowly began to “try.”

It is difficult having schizoaffective disorder without a doubt, and I am in my 24th year since my first psychotic break!

What that means is that I’ve had time to “figure” some things out, which has much to do with my engaging with my doctors.

But, every day (and I mean every day), I am symptomatic!

I am hoping to get on a medication that will augment my current regimen.

Will that happen?

I don’t know.

I may ultimately have to go to something stronger.

What I’ve learned is that I’m going to have good days and bad days.

But, as always, I try… and, take things one day at a time.

Have you learned to slow down to the point that you are now taking your fight with mental illness, one day at a time? What did that look like for you? How did you get to the one day at a time mentality?

Another Update On My Mental Health

Recently, I wrote about how I am really struggling with my mental health.

Per my psychiatrist mainly, I’ve learned that the meds are not fully doing their job anymore.

I’ve also began really dissecting my thoughts, like never before.

And with all of this, I’ve come to realize, yes, I am doing better with medication; but, there is some resistance to treatment with regards to the efficacy of my meds.

This has been a long time coming.

So many people with severe mental illness struggle to be on meds that work.

I’m seeing that now more than ever before!

Thus, I know that the medication is why I am having such a difficult time overall.

What do I do? I mean, what can I really do?

As I’ve written previously, I am expecting to discuss my situation soon with my doctor and my wife.

My wife and I and other support people have already discussed this matter, so I have a lot to take to my psychiatrist in a few weeks.

I will keep you updated!

In the meantime, I will just say that I know the meds protect me quite a bit… but, they don’t clear up my instance of severe mental illness much at all.

I just want to feel better and I am afraid I’m going to continue to be stuck. For years possibly.

I hope I am wrong!

Have any of you ever felt stuck? What did you do to become unstuck?