I want to speak about recovery as someone who has achieved it. I might sound rather sane and maybe some of you wonder why I spend time on these forums every day. I see a lot of you in the same places I was, and I was just as symptomatic as most of you despite how normal I might come off as today.
Upon my diagnosis, I first admitted that I was not mentally well. This required humility and overcoming denial, which is often the first line of defense against schizophrenia.
I then complied with therapy. I was very highly functioning as a freshman in college on a full academic scholarship in the university’s honors program, taking honors classes and was (and still am) among the brightest psychology students at my school. This required constant supervision by psychologists, as I was an alcoholic and was also abusing pre-workout supplements, which are basically energy drink powders you mix with water. I would take doses meant for a 220lb man when I was 145lbs and sometimes not even workout afterwards, just play video games and listen to metal. Unless I was drunk, I hardly slept.
I then complied with the psychiatrist. I had taken the honors section of Drug and Alcohol Behavior and picked Geodon as my antipsychotic due to its most common side effects. I tried different doses for months before landing on 60mg with breakfast and dinner. It does the job. I then was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and nearly removed of my diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and given an anxiety disorder with psychotic features, but my shrink was informed of my evaluation results from the previous winter and didnt go through with it. I know I have schizophrenia and generalized anxiety disorder, and my doctors decided on it too. I was accordingly prescribed 1mg Xanax 3x a day and 80mg Propanolol ER for anxiety, and it also happens to treat akathisia, the only real side effect of my mediction. I had to taper off of alcohol and onto Geodon slowly for a month at first.
I then changed myself. Old habits had to go. I joined a powerlifting gym and started training rather seriously, not just working out. I quit getting tipsy or drunk. I actually went to class every day, studied and made all A’s. I made new friends, dated a few girls (without great success, they dropped me within a month LOL) and stayed on my meds with a couple of horrific exceptions.
I want to share what I think it takes to recover. It’s more than pills, its a mindset. I told myself that I was getting better and learned to ignore my symptoms and learned what triggers episodes and how to survive episodes. Even at my worst, before I was diagnosed and had insight, I told myself that I was stronger than whatever was going on in my head. I knew something was wrong, but I was in denial of having schizophrenia regardless of what my friends told me (they knew from day one of my onset that I was schizophrenic).
I first started recovery by telling myself that life with schizophrenia was harder and therefore more rewarding than a normal life. I finished my first year of college with a 3.5, a diagnosis and a severe drinking problem. Despite the voices, delusions, disruptive trains of thought and substance abuse, I functioned more highly than most normal people and proved to myself that I was not going to let schizophrenia make me a schizophrenic, I thought of myself as a person who had schizophrenia.
Never accept being called just a “schizophrenic”. We are all real people and have lives and should follow our dreams regardless of what others say you are capable of.
It’s all about the way you face your demons- schizophrenia either has you and you are controlled by it or you can proudly say that you have schizophrenia. It’s a hard life either way, but people are never respected or living easy lives. Schizophrenia is not the ending to one’s story.
Don’t accept delusions and hallucinations. They are parts of ourselves which are unhealthy, nothing more. They don’t mean that you can’t do what you need and want to do. They just make it a greater accomplishment when you do achieve what you are capable of, and everyone’s level of capability is unique.