I originally made this post as a comment in another thread I created, but I want to share it, if you guys would want to listen.
Hey @SkinnyMe I remember you. Good to hear it is mostly over. To the rest of you in this thread, I liked hearing your guys’ journeys and where you are at now. As for myself I have been living with schizophrenia for about seven years, since I was 14 years old. I am twenty now. All during my severe refractory course of illness, I lived with either one of my abusive parents. I love them because I forgive them, but do not forget, so I will call a spade a spade when I say abusive. I went through some serious ■■■■. I am also a dual diagnosis patient – comorbid substance use disorder – methamphetamine and opioids! That started several years after my diagnosis of sz, and I used to cope with trauma and painful emotions and experiences from sz, but it only made my illness worse. However, while spending the majority of my life under my parents’ roofs, I forever burned with an undying hope. And now that I am out of their houses, living with my significant other and best friend of 12 years, I am rebuilding my life and finally watching the seeds come up from the ground, set into motion so to speak.
Now, because of a multitude of other factors (much of it being with the man I love in a supportive and stable environment) I am circling around a real, profound, and complete recovery. I have literally never been able to say this before, ever, but now I can say without a shard of doubt that I am living a life I want to live. I am content, happy, quietly joyful, whatever you may call it. If I could do the past over again, I would. Because I forgive the past. I now live and love vehemently, with no impasse.
Sorry to wax triumphant, but to get to the details, I credit my recovery to a plethora of approaches. One, is the med piece. I got on Vraylar and then got down at just the minimum dose, and Suboxone at a low dose too (an opioid substitution/maintenance treatment to take away cravings & withdrawals / promote long-term abstinence), both in the morning. The Vraylar energizes me for the day, oddly enough, and so does the Suboxone. Vraylar I have found is a miracle antipsychotic for me, probably due to its mechanism of action, which never takes away my symptoms at the expense of my creativity and spirituality. I never thought I would find an antipsychotic that worked for me in that way, and so constantly struggled in my teenage years with med noncompliance. Later, during my addiction, I was incessantly at the whim of whatever ~Pharmakos~ was in my body, and whatever dose of the meds I had adjusted. I was so desperate for anything to change me. But then. . . I let the Universe change me. . .
What I mean by that is the psychospiritual aspect of (my) recovery. I was completely unable to get sober from methamphetamine and morphine until I began to attend Dual Recovery Anonymous (first introduced to me in the psychiatric ward), Crystal Meth Anonymous, and Alcoholics Anonymous. I couldn’t just go to the meetings every once in a while, I had to work the Steps. A lot of people don’t know what that means and picture some vague objective and tasks-list that bestows sobriety. But the Steps are actually just principles of honest, willing, fearless (psycho)spiritual living that legitimately everyone can benefit from. It goes like this: you admit powerlessness, establish an understanding of a power greater than yourself, surrender to that power, search deep within yourself and confess your wrongs, sickness, and burdensome resentments and fears to that Power (mine is the Universe), to yourself, and to another human being, then willingly ask that Higher Power to remove those troubles, make amends with all who have been hurt by you OR have hurt you, begin to establish conscious contact with the Power through meditation/prayer, then having transformed oneself along spiritual lines, attempt to carry the message to those still suffering and help others in order to “forget yourself” or “step outside” of yourself.
All in all, it’s a lot like any mystico-religious tradition, except wholly non-dogmatic / strictly theistic. It’s just a transformative and radically vulnerable way to live. (I also made so many amazing friends from the meetings.) If anyone here also has a drug / alcohol problem, I would highly suggest attending Dual Recovery Anonymous or just Alcoholics Anonymous (welcome to everyone, regardless of substance of choice).
Anyway that was a huge piece in my recovery from schizophrenia because it allowed me a way to legitimately strive constantly toward a greater ideal of perfection.
Another powerful building block approach to recovery for me was actually psychoanalysis. Sounds crazy, or at least quaint right? Well, actually, psychoanalysis in meta-studied peer-reviewed research shows an incredibly effect size (efficacy) for the treatment of many forms of psychopathology including psychosis / thought disorder. I found CBT/DBT only productive up to a point, which is when I sought analysis to go much deeper, under the covers, into the root of my problems. Because psychoanalysis, if you think about it, is radical. From its most basic theories, it is 100% trauma-informed. A lot of the qualms about psychoanalysis are because of actually wrong misunderstandings and simplifications of its ideas. I love it because, for one, it refuses to be pinned down as either a science, a medicine, or an art. And rightfully so, because the human mind cannot be pinned down strictly in biological terms either!
I have been undergoing Lacanian analysis (which has been REALLY affordable for me), which specifically utilizes frameworks for treating psychosis in particular. In the treatment, I have found a “talking cure” that actually validates me, recognizes that my symptoms have meaning (even if it has to be decoded!) , that there are real, trauma-based reasons for my psychosis, that human relationships and connection are really our greatest healers, and that I have the authority and agency to direct my own life. And so that is what I am doing.
My life right now is looking steeply up! This is not to say that I am not facing deeply sorrowful emotions head on, with no psychostimulant euphoric drugs to just numb/cover it up. I am truly, really living. I am in a totally new town with my best friend / partner (known each other for 12 years, since we were 9!), and I spent this week sending out applications for jobs [I have a guaranteed job at any Starbucks location but am trying to get a job at a nursing home to begin my career in nursing while going to school with the aim of moving up to psychiatric NP!]. I also got health and dental insurance coverage this week AND registered for classes at the community college here! (Rated best in the country…) I will be a Nursing major. My partner and I are planning to get an apartment here. I plan to get a Bachelor’s in Nursing, get a Master’s of Fine Arts in Poetry (I have several legit publications and awards, AND my debut book comes out in 2 WEEKS!), and go on to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, work toward post-graduate training and certification in Lacanian psychoanalysis at the San Francisco Lacan School Clinic (so that in private practice I can offer meds & therapy), and potentially go on to doctoral degree in neuroscience to do research and teach on neuropsychoanalysis.
But yeah anyway that is what my life is looking like right now. I would actually say for the first time ever I am brushing up against total recovery. Now, I am accomplishing things occupationally, socially, spiritually. Partly because of the move, and the other factors I mentioned, including being on the right, consistent, minimalist med combo.
But also it’s just happened this way, and I wouldn’t change a single thing. My life never had the genuine meaning that it did now, nor did it have its present wise pragmatism and stability. Just never before, not like this. I fully trust the abundance of the Universe and am brimming with wholly incommensurate gratitude toward It and my fellows, each of us tasked with communicating our own ineffable real, something which we often fall so short of, and of which our language and our sex (the junction of these being the mark of our humanity) seem always to be so devastatingly lacking. And yet sometimes, just sometimes, ■■■■ just clicks and we are able to honestly and fearlessly say: “Holy ■■■■ it is all worth it.”
My best friend asked if I was happy last night at 3 AM. Not in passing, but in the context of deep probing for an authentic confession. I gave him my confession and said without any piece of doubt buried in me whatever that, yes, I truly do have joy.
Anyway, thanks all for reading.
Best & peace,