Schizophrenia.com

What recovery requires

#1

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.

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#2

I agree with this a lot. It is a mindset. From my Sz group, I’m beginning to think that a good mind set is an indicator of where one is in the healing process. There has to be some healing that is sort of kick started by other things and then when life starts getting easier, the mind set will improve. That good mind set will encourage more healing and more healing will further improve the mind set.

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#3

Recovery requires a lot of belief in being able to overcome your illness. Live out the life you are determined. Without the obstacle of schizophrenia being in the way. You will find that you will achieve goals that were once impossible to you because of symptoms. Symptoms appear strong and pronounced during the initial phase of SZ. However through recovery and medicine treatment everyday your life inevitably improves. Recovery requires a mind set of experience. Once you may relapse but you know in future what you did wrong and how to prevent mishaps. Once you achieved further stability. Opportunities that were once closed to you begin to open up. Your knowledge and education is power. Once you develop a sound routine of sleeping well every night, and eating enough to support your caloric consumption. You then experience advanced wellness. Like where is the schizophrenia? And start to firmly believe that you are no longer ill. But that is a deception that you learned to overcome because you are then wise enough to know, you still have the disease. Its a present danger if you detract from your ways of recovery. Once you get this snowball rolling it gets bigger, brighter, and more unstoppable. I think that is what recovery requires.

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#4

This is one of the best responses and questions I have read on this forum.

I did the following:

I asked a lot of doctors and psychiatrist many questions, here is my summary:

  1. Started taking my medication without failure every night at 8:30pm, I chose this time so I would not forget to take it.

  2. Stopped my 2-3 coffee a day + 5 can diet coke addiction.
    This enabled me to stop staying up so late and actually get a better night sleep and this really helped my recovery.

  3. Stopped drinking alchohol eventually. I started doing liver function tests and found out my liver was being damaged by the combination of alchohol and antipyschotics. My liver numbers (ast or alt, I forget) were 70 or higher, normal levels are 40. Alcholics can have levels over 100.
    Doctor told me this was not good and suggested I should stop drinking period. I finally got the message and I quit drinking about 2 years ago. I have not touched a drop since.

  4. Started exercising, This is a no brainer, exercise prolongs your life, helps your brain in so many ways you cant even imagine. This is compulosry for me since I have mild depression since the episode and it flares into severe depression without exercise.

  5. Changed my diet, I cook really simple meals every day and have take out very little. This is the key to weight control. My system is not perfect but its getting there.

  6. Took up a hobby that gave me great enjoyment. (rc cars)

  7. I started making more friends than I had before the episode.

  8. Go to church more often. This helped me a lot.

  9. Had 2 lovely kids.

Treat the schizophrenia as an opportunity to make positive changes to your life.

I feel like I am about 90% recovered. I still have some work to do but on the most part life is pretty good.

This has taken a long time and I focus on continuously improving my life until I die. This has taken 8 years and every day gets better.

Doctor said my condtion was mild and I respond very well to medication so I am lucky.

Also my psychologist helped me a lot to drastically reduce my paranoia and fears, This was less than 1 year ago. She helped enourmously with exposure therapy.

Thanks

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#5

over all ive risen above all, feels delightful, i can see clearly.

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#6

I have a question for you mortimer : was your schizophrenia ‘sudden onset’. Or did it come on gradually? But anyway, compliance is the key word. Take suggestions, keep an open mind. Cooperate in your own treatment. Take your medication and see a therapist or psychiatrist. Do what you can. LET people help you. Play up to your strengths. People saw potential in me that I didn’t see in myself. Make the most of opportunities that crop up. These are what worked for me.

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#7

im in the process of refubishing my journey of life, a total clean out, disgarding unwanted things and adding desireables all little things add up and join together …:slight_smile:

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#8

It was quite gradual, with a dramatic increase in symptoms when i entered the active phase. I went from thinking I was just getting side effects from smoking weed every night to being seriously delusional and fully psychotic, agitated, hallucinating and rambling on about conspiracies.

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#9

The reason I asked is because people who develope sudden onset schizophrenia have a faster, better, recovery, than people who have gradual. That’s what your recovery sounds like.

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