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Sarcosine Strong!

It’s been a year and one month since I’ve started sarcosine!

A little back story on it: I first heard about sarcosine via a twitter post. After a lot of research and a LOT of convincing my wife; I decided to order it. I worked my way up, like they recommended and I leveled off at two grams in the morning, two grams at night.

Before I tell you what I’ve accomplished whilst taking sarcosine, I need to give you a back ground on me. Throughout my life I was not a good worker. Sure I could bust my ass one day but the next, I was down for the count. Motivation was a real problem for me. My attendance was never consistent and I’ve actually been fired for taking to many days off. I always knew I could be a great worker but my schizophrenia habitually held me back. All that changed once I started my journey with sarcosine.

After a month, I was noticing an actual difference. I could tell you all about how it made me feel or how great it helped my mind but I’ll let the facts do the talking. It became easier for me to do my job, after a hard day I seemed to recover faster. Time went on and I found it easier and easier to work harder AND longer. Suffice it to say that I had begun to excel at my job.

This came at a good time as my relative that I was caring for was declining. It also didn’t help that the third person helping my wife and I, decided it was to much and chose to forgo seeing it out til the end. I was forced to cut my hours down to three days a week and, with help from my wife, (who was working full time and helping me) began taking care of my relative nearly full time. Needless to say that it was my greatest challenge in life and something I’m proud to say, I saw through to the end.

The end came and my life ground to a halt. I was dreading the moment and thought for sure it would send me into the abyss, spiraling down due to my illness. I’m almost embarrassed to say that it didn’t happen. I stayed strong but I felt I betrayed him. This man meant the world to me and I felt my doing well, didn’t do him justice.

Moving forward, after going back to working normal hours, I slowly healed. I didn’t break as I thought I would and I realized that sarcosine, coupled with my meds and vitamins, actually made me stronger mentally. I felt as if I have never been stronger. I felt as if I passed my test and it was time to move up in the world.

I gave the restaurant another almost six months, out of respect. After all, they helped me along my journey but I was determined to reach a higher level.

Against advice from my wife, I chose to apply to an auto parts store. There I meant a man that would start me on a path, that I chose to follow. Unlike the restaurant, this job likes to promote and I’m proud to say that I am awaiting my promotion to a manager. I don’t mean to brag but I’ve been at this job about five months; having never worked in the auto industry, I feel that I’ve proved myself to them. I’ve shown a level of commitment and tenacity that I thought I wasn’t capable of.

This is honestly the greatest time in my life. I strongly believe had I only been taking my meds, I wouldn’t have reached this point. I’m more capable than ever and I owe it all to the extra precautions I’ve taken, such as Sarcosine.

It’s truly been eye opening; realizing you need something more. Whether it be taking medication, going to therapy, or a simple amino acid coupled with other vitamins. Never be ashamed to get help because you never know how well your life could be, until you’ve dealt with your demons. You have it in to, you have the potential to be great. Why let a little stigma shame you away from living your best life. Your mental illness is valid and just as real as any physical illness. Whether It’s depression, anxiety, bi polar, schizoaffective or schizophrenia. If you need help, you should get it.

Set Aside the Whispers in the Dark

Lions in the Night

Navigating a world where mental illness is unbelievably stigmatised can be difficult. So when you choose to tell someone be prepared for a possible bad ending. Not only has one of your worst fears come true but now the potential power someone has over you can cause problems. Really think about it though. In all honesty people barley know an ounce of what you think they know about you.

Not everyone is the same though and trust me, there are good people out there. Having that illness hidden may be beneficial given the state of these times. For me personally, I am very selective on who receives my secret. I pay attention to personalities. You should spend time getting to know people. Sure terrible people tend to stand out but if you know what to look for, so do good people. Meaningful connections are possible but it starts with you. Lose the negative outlook that everyone thinks something is wrong with you.

The Pros

Starting with the first thing that comes to mind. Not finding yourself so deep in a hole that your blog is your only outlight. Believe it or not, you need to be able to talk about your mental illness with people. Even just casual conversation alleviates the crushing weight. If you have that open line of communication with people, you should talk with them to help clear your head.

People are more understanding than you think.

pensive businessman using laptop against cloud gate
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The Struggle

When you have grown up with a narcissistic mother sometimes trusting, developing connections, maintaining healthy relationships can be extremely difficult. It has been pondered by my therapist whether or not I have CPTSD. That is a story for another time though. The point I am trying to make is Schizophrenia is never by itself. Many mental illnesses are accompanied by others. Holding me back is that delicate trust. Ever so fragile.

The Cons

There is plenty to go wrong when opening up to people. Believe it or not it is actually a common occurrence. Rumours, exaggerations, panic just to name a few. I have lost jobs because of it. Women who told me they loved me turned and ran. Certainly a slippery slop. But one thing I know for sure is that when you find that person or people who take your secret and still accept you. Life begins to become more meaningful.

This is not just a cautionary tale, this me telling you that sometimes it is worth the risk. I am not saying lay it all out there on the line. But timing is everything

Moral of the Story

Put yourself out there. All of you preconceived notions of the world and what people think. They are probably wrong. It is for all of us. Therefore telling yourself that you can not open up to people is not the way. You only live one time and you should make the most of it.

person standing on road
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Knowledge is Power

Understanding my Schizophrenia

I spent a lot of my life not understanding my illness. Living life like it was just something I had to deal with. Today I’ll take you through a brief run down on my search history. As a result I was naive about how deep it goes is unreal. knowing something was wrong but just how much was my illness. But how much I blamed myself for was staggering. A so much I burdened myself with.

It wasn’t until four years ago that I took the power into my own hands. For instance I attribute a lot of the reason to meeting my wife. She truly gave me something to live for. She gave me a glimpse of a better life that I could not have be capable of.

The Meetup

Firstly Once I met her my life took a turn for the better. Until getting married I asked her one day to move out of town with me. I had a job opportunity which would provide housing via a cabin in the woods. What is the best part is this is where we would get married. She said yes and away we went. She even resigned from her job to come with me.

After moving out of town, I went into the worst episode of my life. After living through this I vowed to never let it get that bad again. I dedicated a lot of time and money into searching for things that would help me in my struggle with Schizophrenia. Countless hours I spent online searching. Searching for anything that would help.

Researching Online

I stumbled upon a vast amount of information. When without realizing there is so much knowledge to be gained from researching my mental illness. When many studies have been done. So much research has been done in the name of helping people like me. I scrolled and scrolled hoping.

One thing I’d say I found a lot of was studies being done about vitamin supplements in combination with medicine to ease some of the side effects. Got a negative symptom, there is a vitamin for that. With a quick disclaimer, I’ll say that when you find something, direct that search to reputable sites. You will probably run into a lot saying that there is not enough evidence supporting the claims. I am not endorsing any specific thing, I am just saying what has worked for me.

I would say one of the biggest things I ran into was Sarcosine. Small studies have been done regarding this amino acid. There is plenty of ways to get it too. None of it is backed by a vast amount of research. The result of the decision to start taking it was a risk. Same with any other of my supplements. I have taken some which have negatively affected me bought straight from my local vitamin shop. Let that statement serve as a warning. That just because something is toted as good, does not mean it is good for you in particular. I found that a lot of the standard vitamins like C, D and B were very beneficial.

Studies

Throughout my research I found many things. Finding out that a lot is being done to help understand and cure Schizophrenia. I spent a lot of my life not exposed to the good people searching for help for me. I never realized how much was being done and it honestly gave me a lot of comfort knowing a lot of doctors are working on this.

A big thing that helped me greatly was reading information on what my illness is. To actually bring some understanding helped me better cope with what was happening to me. Understanding helped me accept my illness. I honestly cannot stress enough how much it did.


https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Schizophrenia/Discuss

A Typical Day


Timing is everything. For a long time I tried working different jobs to make a living. On occasion different options presented themselves but I will forever be a 9-5 worker. Schizophrenia hinders me greatly. Honestly the only thing I know how to do is work hard. I don’t have the vision to become something more. I don’t have the foresight to make it as something better. My talents? I am a okay writer, I also have a unrelenting drive to push forward. The latter being my greatest characteristic.

Retail work has always been my go to. Easy work and it doesn’t seem to change much from company to company. They may change the name from truck to freight, team lead to parts sales manager or commercial driver to delivery expert but the goal is the same. Stock the shelves, tend to the customers and up sell everything.

Having my illness present challenges daily. It starts when I wake up. I open my eyes to a different world from when I went to sleep. My meds and vitamins and all the extras I take throughout the day have worn off. Every morning I’m reminded that everything good about me comes from a pill bottle. I’d be lying if I said I maintained this pessimistic attitude all the time but really when it comes down to it, it’s the truth.

A typical work days consists of me waking up, taking my meds and vitamins. Then rushing around to get ready as I am always sleeping until the last second. Honestly I’ve perfected the 30 minute get ready time for work. Then I head to work coffee in hand. Truth be told I’m still waking up an hour after I get to work. I don’t let it slow me down though and I usually jump right into a task. I rely on what I see and and I jump into tasks usually without being asked. Tasks that fill up my entire day.

Soon enough the day is starting to go by. Lunch time arrives and I spend my 30 minutes rushing home, hurrying to eat, pounding more vitamins and flying back to work. Arriving just in time to clock back in.

I grind until 5 and get done work. A typical night after work consists of me either playing video games, watching Tv with my wife or working on some project I’m currently fixating on. Bed early and it’s back at it again the next day.

I have taken up door dashing, delivering food to supplement my income. I know my area well from growing up here and delivering pizza for almost 3 years. My wife comes along to navigate, normally finding herself waiting on the app’s map whilst I’m already headed to the location. It’s more hours that I’d rather spend relaxing but it’s easy work. No boss, I take what orders I want and I work when I want. It also turns out that if you set rules for yourself, you can make decent money. One of my rules being never go six miles from the cluster of restaurants. Having that allows me to be back quickly for the next order.

It’s a simple life but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. As a young kid I would often say that I would do better in the work setting than at school. Well that’s a typical day in my life with Schizophrenia. Can you relate?

Oh How Life Changes

Hello, things have certainly taking a turn since I last posted. My whole world has been flipped upside down but as usually I’m trekking through, one foot in front of the other. Surprisingly my Schizophrenia has stayed in check regardless of what I’ve been through. I will say however that I’ve gone on a antidepressant, Zoloft.

I’m about two months in on Zoloft and I’ve been thinking about upping the dose a bit. I’m doing a lot better, that is for sure but a lot better from where I was isn’t quite saying much. Not to knock my life but I should have been on antidepressants ten years ago. I would have saved myself a lot of suffering.

I recently switched jobs. After being a store manager for seven months I realized that at that particular company and time that it just wasn’t for me. It also didn’t help that the pandemic struck a week after I was promoted. I did my best as I always strive to do. I was even doing a good job, my comps stayed positive even through the worst of it but it seriously took a toll on me. I was working long hours and had a very new staff. I took over a failing store that hadn’t reached positive comps in some time. The staff that was left over from the previous store manager had some pretty bad habits but instead of cleaning house I did my best to turn things around for them. In vein I poured all I had but in the end I decided it was best for me to move on.

I started a new job five weeks ago and things couldn’t be better. I took a pay cut, that’s for sure but I’ve found ways to earn extra cash. I started door dashing on the side of my full time job. I have to say that even though some weeks I work more than 50-60 hours between the two jobs, my quality of life has improved tremendously. I especially enjoy the fact that when I’m delivering for door dash, my wife comes along and navigates for me. She filters through the bad orders and certainly makes it a good time!

I can honestly say that the pandemic has certainly changed things a lot. I’ll be honest when I say the mask helps my customer service, seeing how I always look grumpy it hides my scowling face 😆. Things may have worsened in the world but I do my best to stay positive even though it may be difficult sometimes. I’ve lessened my exposure to the news since more so than ever it has been nothing but bad news.

It’s a crazy world we live in but do your best to stay positive. Your perspective of things makes all the difference in the world. Stay strong, stay mentally healthy and most of all stay safe! During these trying times we need to check on each other.

Fast Forward Through My Life

I want to touch on a lighter note. When it comes to living with Schizophrenia it can become very easy to focus on the bad. I have told you much about my hard times and struggles but today, I want to tell you about some of the better times in my life. We will start from the beginning.

I played a lot of sports when I was younger. Football, soccer, baseball and basketball were my favorites. Yet it was not until I got into football when I really shinned.

I played a lot of positions in football. My last year I would play every down throughout every game. On defense I shinned when playing outside linebacker, on offense I was one of the toughest running backs in the league. On the darker side, I handed out a few concussions yet I did not take near as much pain as I dealt out.

When I got into the sixth grade I got a bmx bike, no intention of actually getting into bmx, it was something that allowed me the freedom to get where I wanted. It was a quiet escape if I wanted to sneak out to a party. I could be pretty fast on the bike as well. This allowed me to get home before my mother if I was out when I should have been grounded. There were a few outdoor tracks throughout my town, mostly used as a hangout to smoke weed and drink.

I will admit I spent a lot of time driving without a license. I used to take my grandfather’s truck out after dark but the first time actually taking a car was when my mother spent three nights in the hospital for a routine procedure, she neglected to take her car keys with her. I spent all three nights out until five to six in the morning joy riding without a care. I actually took the car to my high school and drove all over the lawn. I made sure to stay of the brand new football field. I think the closest call to getting in trouble was when my mother’s boss who was the supervisor of the EMT’s, saw me in the car early in the morning. I saw him flip the lights on, turn around and start to follow me. I decided it was best to floor it. I turned down a few side streets and I think he said the hell with it because I did not see him again. I sped home and parked it for the night.

There was one night at a party, I was young, we were playing beer pong. So my buddy and I use to run the table, well one night we got pretty bored and decided add whiskey to the beer cups. Needless to say the night ended in a fist fight which shortly after I was passed out drunk in a chair. I remember waking up at six in the morning disoriented, thinking it was six at night. I busted open my friends door demanding he wake up, that the night was young. He must have been passed out drunk because he did not even flinch.

Once I turned 21 I decided to go to a few bars. By this point in my life I had already done plenty of drinking, partying and all around stupid decisions. I had slowed down on drinking quite a bit and I never drove drunk, I have lost a few friends that way. It was okay honestly but the bar scene was not for me.

Shortly after that I joined the Job corps. This was like a last ditch effort to try to make something of myself. I choose the HBI class which stands for Home Builders Association. This was all about learning to be a jack of all trades, plumbing, electrical, dry walling, hvac and painting. I ended up being top of my class, I was even in the student government believe it or not. Having already got my G.E.D. and driver license, I did not require additional classes. I was set to focus solely on my classes. I graduated and went to work for a local maintenance company at an apartment complex.

It was a few years and canned dreams later I found myself working at Walmart in the automotive section. Unknowingly my wife worked a few departments over. We first spoke on the picnic table outside on our breaks. My first words to her was I hope you don’t mind country music. Soon enough we were driving around, all over the place blaring music. Our first official date was a pizza restaurant the next town over. We spent the whole day together. Not to long later we decided to road trip it to cape code. We spent the whole day going sight seeing and to her favorite beach which when I officially asked her to be my girlfriend.I took a job on the other side of the state and while it did not work out well, she decided to move in with me. It was a amazing time. We got married on the porch of our cabin in the woods. Small and intimate, only my sister and her kids were there.

A few years later we started taking care of my grandfather. We ended up living with where I took care of him full time and my wife watched him when I was working 15 hours at a pizza place. It was nice spending so much time with my grandfather. We watched a lot of tv and it was always funny because you could hear his tv from two blocks away. I joked with that when we watched baseball it was like being at the stadium with how loud the tv was.

Shortly after he passed away I took a job at an auto parts store. I started out driving for them. I was able to move up to front end manager and for a short time I stayed at that level. I saw a opportunity to possibly move up and with the backing of the District Manager I interviewed for the Store Manager position. I ended up getting the promotion and I have been working hard to keep going. The stress level of the position is unreal and maintaining my mental health has been somewhat of a challenge. I do believe that I will be able to keep it up and who knows, maybe one day I will keep moving up.

So that’s a glimpse on fast forward of my life. It has never been all bad and even in my darkest moments I know that I have survived worse. Do not ever forget to look at the good times in your life, it is them along with the struggles that make you who you are. Appreciate it all!

My Mind During Psychosis

Today I am going to give you my best attempt at how it feels to be held by the grips of psychosis. I will be recounting my most recent, worst episode. This one changed my life. Affects good and bad still rippling throughout my life.

When tittering on the edge of insanity you start to lose touch with yourself. A terrifing experience if you are lucky enough to even notice. By that I mean sometimes you just do not catch it. It is once I reach that point where instinct kicks in. During this episode I continued to take my medication that was failing me. I started to get this gut feeling that something was not right. The problem is once you reach this point your conscious thought is dampened. You are numb to yourself, unable to act on that voice in your head screaming somethings wrong. Your thoughts become simplistic. You find yourself guiding your mind using simple words and phrases, you take a back seat to reality. At this point you become scared and panicked, this is right before you take the plunge, this is when it is to late.

By this point I can not hide what is going on inside my head. Undoubtably terrifying everyone ouside of my abyss. At this point I am screaming for help. What is left of my mind, somewhat detached from command of my body, unable to force it to ask for help. I have read that a symptom, believe it or not, is thinking you are fine even when all is lost. I am here to tell you that it is a reoccurring delusion to hide from the fear, to be paralized by it to a point of denial.

During this point that I believe to be last stop before total darkness, my mind is fighting the psychosis. Valiant but futile, the only thing saving me is hospitalization. Yet I kept on somehow. I was still working, still taking my meds. I am told that by this point I had become unbearable, my wife paralyzed by fear with no idea what to do. She had never experienced anything like this before.

It is now that with my mind being so strained, unable to repair the void, that I blackout.

Blacking out is such a odd feeling. You only realize that you are once you start to come to. No nothing magical happened during that time. In fact the only memories I have during the months of this happening is the delusions and hallucinations I awoke to and a blurred recollection of my surroundings. This I do know, it was at times of high adrenaline that made me come to. Fear, anger and confrontation all pulling me out of the darkness.

Roughly six months this went on, it felt like a week. I attribute my survival of this to my wife. Unprepared, unknowing and with no mental health training she got us through it. I still do not know how she did it.

Nevertheless, surviving such a experience such as this changes you forever. I have vowed to myself and the love of my life that it will never get that bad again.

It’s Strange to be Normal

Life is full of stress. Being a Schizophrenic leading a normal life, having a normal stress respose is somewhat celebrated. Sounds odd, I know. You have to remember that being stressed can have disastrous consequences. When not taking proper care of ourselves it is as though our minds take the brunt of the stress. Please understand that this is not good.

Unless you have Schizophrenia you really can not understand. It is unlike anything in this world, to be ripped from reality. It is not cool, not a game and not something to be tempted. The sad reality is that we can lose it all at any moment.

I am fortunate to have the life I do. I have been able to maintain a amazing marriage for four years. I have been able to work my up a company to become a store manager. I’ve done a lot and come a long way, through many ups and downs, from rock bottom every time.

In a turn of events after my worst episode I said enough was enough. It was different this time, my Schizophrenia had not only wrecked my life but that of my wife’s. It happened during our first year of marriage. Believe me when I say that I was determined not to let it happen again. That was three years ago. Three years I have been episode free. I took to some unconventional treatments. Alongside my normal treatments, meds and doctors, I looked into vitamin supplements. Let me tell you how this was one of the greatest decision I have ever made.

First I looked into normal vitamins, things my piss poor diet was insufficient in. Then I dug a little deeper into studies with Schizophrenia involving supplements. There is a lot of studies out there regarding this yet they are all small. Needless to say I took many chances on different ones, my wife watching me like a hawk. I am very fortunate that she did. She has pulled me back on numerous occasions from a adverse effect. In no way do I recommend any of this. You have to remember that I was lost and reaching for a better life. If you look at any of my vitamin bottles you will see that it says consult your doctor, I strongly agree that you should.

Once I reach a point where I felt I needed more of an edge, I looked into sarcosine, another good decision for me. Pretty soon I dove into Brain health vitamins. I have done a lot of research into them.

I have stumbled along the way; My wife had to pull me back from disaster time and time again. I have finally reached a point where I fell I have a shot to be great. Yet it is not a tale of success that I want you to take away from this though. Regardless of how fortunate I may seem, remember that I have gone through a lot of hardship getting here. It is strange to be normal but it is the hardship I have seen that drives me.

 

Odd Thoughts to Fixate on

It was a unfortunate turn of events, developing schizophrenia. Living on the edge of sanity, day in and day out. There are a lot of strong people out there for various reasons, I like to count myself as one of them. It may not seem like something to boast to you but to me I am a warrior fighting with my own mind. There is a lot that people go through out there; Imagine if you will, being in a constant battle with your own mind. Imagine yourself walking in a forest of obstacles, each one bringing degrees of challanges that you need to surpass to get through the day. Imagine ignoring one of these not knowing that the punishment for it is you are now disconnected from reality. You are now in a dark abyss with only broken slivers of the world shining through. That the only good those slivers you grasp at do is influence your current delusion. The delusion being your minds attempt to fill the cracks of your fractured connection to everything, including the ones you hold dear.

Now going through all you have just read,  I want you to imagine: Holding down a job, maintaining a healthy relationship, taking care of yourself, paying your bills or just simply leaving your house. Of course some of you by now are thinking ‘but those are easy tasks’. Well you need to go back and read the first paragraph. For those of you who are not so cynical, continue with me.

Part of having Schizophrenia is having odd thoughts. In truth these never go away, with medication, thearapy and self care they become so easy to manage. You may even be bold enough to allow them to influence some of your creative thinking. There are many artists who apply their symptoms to their work. Some of my writing ideas have been sparked by a odd thought passing through, not just my experiences. Admitily during a time where I took less than good care of myself, my odd thoughts have turned into full blown delusions. An important part of my mind can also be my downfall.

An important thing for me to remember is that I fixate. To me the only thing I can compare the level of intesity of fixation to is “prey drive”. Worrisome concept for you I am sure but believe me I am not out here running down squirrels or harming anything. My fixation is mostly focused on ideas, something I want to get or do. Ask my wife, once I get something in my head, it is extremly difficult to talk me out it. If I focus on a task such as work or fixing my car, I tend get a little beat up in the process ex: cuts, scaps and bruises, unfortunently these do not seem to register in the moment. It is important for me to remember that I fixate, I tend to get lost in what I am doing.

What is most important when you have Schizophrenia is knowing yourself. Schizophrenia can alter your mind at any given moment. I am sure enough to say that it is more than just a disease but a way of thinking. Given my experience  I can confidently say that, the very structure of my mind is different than someone without the disease. Eveyone’s mind is unique, schizophrenia just goes that extra mile to add to something or take it away. Even when compared those with schizophrenia are changed by the disease in their own way, making no two the same.

Higher the Climb, the Bigger the Fall

They say the bigger you are the harder you fall. Well every time I succumb to my illness, my road to recovery often leads me to bigger and better things. It seems like every time I’ve come back from being sick, I’ve bettered myself in some area of my life. What scares me is the more I advance in life, the further I will fall when my illness rears its ugly head

Most of the time I keep a positive outlook on life. I don’t tend to worry until there is something to worry about. Sometimes I feel myself slip up and I’m forced to take a step back. I take steps in order to relieve my stress or to clear my head. These events usually go unnoticed by others or are perceived as me having an off day. My main indication of things going south is my wife. As you may know I don’t always trust my own judgment. I’m forced to verify things to make sure I have a clear and logical thought process going on.

I’ve soared higher than I ever have this time around. I’ve gone three years without any trouble and I’ve found myself with a good job. One where my superiors seem to think I will continue to climb the ladder. If I were to lose it all, I would be devastated worse than I have in my whole life. There’s doubt in my mind that I would even recover from it.

Each time I’ve fallen flat on my face. Each time I’ve come back from insanity with purpose, with renewed motivation.

Purpose

I started this blog with no real goal other than to vent what I’ve had bottled up for so long. I didn’t have any expectations, just a shot in the dark that I might of found something that helped.

Throughout the almost two years of writing I’ve found myself longing for something more. Something I can never quite put my figure on. Maybe what I want is changing or I don’t actually know what I want from my blog. Honestly it makes it a little hard to stay motivated, hard to keep pouring my guts out for so little. (I stopped and thought just now about how selfish I sound)

Over time I started hoping that I was actually helping someone. A few comments made me feel like I had made a difference in someone’s day, helped them get through a dim hour. (Seriously though, who am I kidding?)

I’ve noticed the last few months that I’m struggling to find something to write done. I have a long list of drafts that I’ve started but I’ve struggled to find the will to finish them. I still have a lot to say about my schizophrenia contrary to popular belief.

I feel as though I’ve become complacent. It’s hard to believe that I couldn’t talk about something that’s troubled me for roughly fifteen years yet here I am, unable to crank out posts like I used too.

I need to find a purpose for my blog. I need something more because the anger has subsided. The tension from holding things in has been released. These things once drove me into writing and without them I feel as though I have nothing left. (When your motivation is the struggle, what’s left to keep you going when that’s no longer a factor).

Mental Obstacles

Everyone talks about adversity, beating the struggle and overcoming obstacles. They’ve been one of the main motivators of my life. So much so that I’m addicted to it. Yet I’m starting to see another side of it, a side I never saw coming.

I’ve overcome a lot in my life. I’ve felt so much pain, my heart ripped out of my chest more times than I can count. It’s always been fuel for the fire. A fire that’s been burning inside, fueled by the struggle. It takes a certain emotional pain tolerance to turn things around. To take an obstacle head on with almost tunnel like focus.

Focusing on a goal has always been the key but what happens when you’ve made it and you’re so worn down from it. I’ve been struggling with life since the dawn of my illness twelve years ago. It’s been a long time coming but I’m finally in a place where I’ve never been before. Honestly though it feels like I can get just as stuck in a rut as before. The problem is now is not the time to focus on the long term goal. I need to focus on doing my best with the daily grind. I have to say that I’m having trouble shifting gears.

I’ve always left myself a lot of grey area with my long term goals, room to wiggle. When I wanted I would make a quick pivot if I were to become no longer comfortable where I was. I’d have to say it’s made me into somewhat of a drifter. I got used to starting over a lot and I’ve become pretty good at it.

The problem lay in my lack of experience when it comes to settling down. I’ve reached a point where the only logical direction is to stay where I am.

Here’s the conundrum, I need to learn to motivate myself without using adversity, something I am a stranger to. Crazy talk right? Nonetheless a real problem I’m facing in my head right now.

Heroin, A Brother’s Love

It truly sends me back to a dark place, watching someone deteriorate due to heroin.

When I started my job eight months ago, there was a man who was a side mechanic, full of life and happiness. He has a auto parts warranty list a mile long because of all the cars he’s worked on. Fair and honest, he never over charged or made up things that weren’t truly wrong with a car. He once offered to drive an hour out of his way to help me because I was having trouble with my car. Not one word about me paying him for it, he was more than willing to help me in a pinch.

During the last few months it’s become clear to me that he’s using again. Having dealt with my brother and cousin on this awful drug, it’s easy for me to spot the signs, even though he won’t admit it to me. I talked with him the other day, we had a mostly honest talk. I told him about my brother and what he went through, I tried to show how much I cared as his situation hits so close to home. I don’t want to see anyone go through what my brother went through. I would have given the world if I could have just got my brother to wake up and get clean.

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my brother. Five years younger than him, and I always looked up to him. I wanted to be like him, be as strong as him, as charismatic and selfless as him. I spent a lot of my younger days thinking I could never stack to him, he was just that good.

My brother and I went through a lot growing up. Family wise I’d say he went through it worse than me. Although he’ll probably never tell me why he started, I often wonder if it was our childhood that drove him to a hard drug. Could I be so selfish to think that him seeing me go through things with my illness didn’t help or maybe it just a piece of the puzzle. Some part of me thinks it was the drugs the doctors hooked him on that started all this. Yet I’m forced to believe the stories I’m told that this started way before hand.

My family shielded me from what my brother was going through for the longest time. Still to this day I believe that I don’t have all the information, maybe they thought I had enough on my plate whilst losing my mind in a hospital bed. His addiction finally reared it’s ugly head to me when they could no longer keep it a secret.

Things were going missing from relatives houses and at one point I was even blamed. Not knowing what was going on, I started to pay attention to the grumblings from our family.

I didn’t come face to face with the fact that my brother was addicted to heroin until the day he messaged me, desperately pleading for money so he could go get his fix. This was some time after he started and there are a few things I’ll leave out but I had started to learn how I would handle the situation. I had decided, with a heavy heart, to go with tough love. He texted me out of the blue, I remember I was in my cousin’s back yard watching her son; he messaged me saying that he wanted to get clean. He told me that he he needed to piss dirty so they would let him into rehab. I told him I didn’t have any money, which wasn’t a lie. What he said next will forever haunt me.

My brother, my best friend growing up threatens to kill himself. He said he couldn’t take it anymore and he didn’t know what to do. I was at least an hour away and with no money to help him I did the only thing I thought I could do. I lied to him and told him I was coming, asked him for the address and told him I would call him back. Helplessly I called the local emergency services and asked them to go to him. I had no idea what I was doing or if it would even help. My hopes were that they would take him into rehab, something. Next thing I know my brothers calling me back, pissed off at me for betraying him. He told me he didn’t mean what he said that way and that he was never going to ask me for anything again. They didn’t take him to the hospital and ignored my pleads to do something.

I don’t remember much of the rest of the day after he hung up. I just remember immediately after the call I was bawling my eyes out on my cousin’s steps.

I’ve felt so many different emotions during that time. Anger, sadness, hate, forgiveness, betrayal… cold.

My brother, my hero, the one person I wanted to be like more than anyone in the world was ripped to shreds by addiction. It must of hurt like hell for him, I know that because anything I felt must have been worse for him ten-fold.

I kept the story short for my side mechanic friend. I tried to give him hope, I tried to give him the inner strength, everything I was to incapable of giving my brother. If anyone that’s ever given tough love to someone is reading this, you know how twisted it leaves you inside. I will always have some lines that I will stand firm on but thinking back on the situation, I can’t imagine how lonely it must of felt for my brother. It makes my eyes swell while writing this to know that I probably made him fell lost, empty and abandoned.

The lack of respect, of compassion and empathy I showed my brother will forever haunt me. I guess I’ve blocked it out all years but seeing this man has brought it all back.

I’m not as close with this man or my brother for that matter, as I was with my brother but I tried my damndest to show him that even when you least expect it someone can care about him. Something I feel was severely lacking in my interactions with my brother.

Maybe I can be some glimmer of light in this mans life. Someone I hope my brother had during his time.

Moving forward I thought I should add, my brother is clean and has been for a few years. He’s got a good job and met a really nice lady.

I only hope that my mechanic friend has the same outcome.

Video Games

I used to get lost in video games. As a kid and teenager I would play everyday. Games like Halo, Modern Warfare, racing games, RPGs, and almost every other game.

After being diagnosed with schizophrenia that didn’t really stop. Now that I think about it, that’s one thing my illness never really interfered with. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever had a delusion about any of the games I’ve played.

Playing while sick was a whole other story though, I suck while sick. Delusions would distract me from the game and I would become disconnected from it. Not one delusion or hallucination about it though, which is surprising.

Movies, books, music, even people having conversations around will all influence my illness in some form or another. I’d say fortunately for me, they never seem to take seed in my crazy head. It’s unreal to think about how even just having a tree outside my window could cause me to go into a elaborate delusion about it but not video games.

Writing about all of the things I’ve gone through has truly put my illness into perspective. Though I don’t mind it, it’s nice to get out of my head and focus on a reality other than my own. Not to say I would chose a life of video games over what I have now. I don’t drink or do drugs, I smoke cigarettes but that’s not a actual escape for me.

I don’t play as much as I used to when I was younger. That’s not really saying much considering how much I played before. Between balancing work and family, there’s not always time to sit there for hours and play. I know my wife probably doesn’t care for me not coming to bed with her.

Honesty though, life would be a little more bleak without a distraction.

Pushing On

I’m having trouble pushing on. I feel like my backs against the wall. The only choices I see ahead of me is to push through or lose it all by running and hiding. Today I felt so down in the dumps, the worst I’ve felt in a long time. It was unexplainable, there was no reason for me to feel this low.

I’m at a loss for words as I struggle to write this post. My will feels cracked, unlike the strength I normally feel.

The chest pain came back yesterday. I struggled to finish my shift at work. I made it through but called out today. Calling out always makes me anxious. Anxiety ridden all day.

Part of me feels like I missed my meds yesterday. I know for a fact that I took my vitamins but based on how I’ve been feeling, it would make sense that I missed a dose. I feel awful because I never miss a dose and the fact that I missed work is inexcusable. If I did yesterday, it would make it the second time in eight months that I’ve mistakenly missed my meds. I feel irresponsible and I’ve been kicking myself because of it.

The worst part is this feels like it’s in my head because of course that’s what schizophrenia does. Mental barriers that I have to will myself through. Sounds stupid right? But it’s as real as a brick wall sitting in front of me.

I’ve found that music is in fact the best medicine for my mental state (obviously other that actual medication). Music impacts me strongly, So much that It helps my guide myself out of my slump.

PTSD, maybe

My wife and I have always been the type to suck it up and deal. Last night though I was overwhelmed. I cried for the first time since my grandfather died and at 6am I woke my wife up because I couldn’t take it anymore. Eight hours in bed I struggled with my racing thoughts, tormented by the things I’ve been through.

In 2016 I suffered the worst psychotic break of my life. Just six months after being married I went into a six month long episode. I saw hallucinations I’ll never forget, still as vivid as the day I experienced them. I felt fear that still gives me chills to this day. It all ended with my wife and I homeless, eight hours from the place we lived and dealing with my toxic mother Who needless to say, exacerbated things beyond belief.

I wasn’t even fully in my right mind before my wife and I moved back, just two long months later. A short amount of time went by before I was back to work but it would be two months into that job before I felt like I was normal again.

A few months later my wife and I moved in to take care of my grandfather. Over a year my wife and I took care of him before he passed back in June 2018. Before last night, that was the last time I had cried.

A few months after that I put in my two weeks and started a new job at an auto parts store where after 4-5 months, they decided to promote me to a manger.

It’s now September of 2019, three years after the most traumatic experience of my life and I’m still broken.

After eight long hours in bed I woke my wife to explain how I’ve been feeling, not just last night but for the last three years. I told her about the numbness. I told her how when I wasn’t occupied how my mind would tear me apart. I told her how my palms would get sweaty and about how when I got stressed my whole body would tremble, my hands are the worst.

I feel as though my armor is cracked and that I can no longer hide the fear, stress and emotional brokenness that I’ve felt. I’ve always bounced back from a mental breakdown like a champ, able to hit the ground running and never look back. I fear that this isn’t the case this time. I try to let go, I really do but somehow, some way, the memories always seem to drag me down.

I’m not one to succumb to anxiety. Yet since opening up last night, I feel as if my heart has been wanted to give out. I’ve had on and off pain in my chest for 17 hours now and there’s no end in sight. I’m scared to lay down for bed tonight because I don’t feel like I can handle two nights in a row of this. I’m begging myself, pleading just for a peaceful night. I just want to be at peace.

I’ve never felt like this before. I’ve never felt this lost for direction. I don’t have health insurance but I feel like I have to see a therapist. I feel like my illness has cracked my soul for Good and all I can do is move forward.

They say adversity breeds strong individuals. Well I better have what it takes because this isn’t the end of the line for me.

Moral of the Story

Growing up I always had this dream of joining the military, The Marine Corps in particular. Many nights I spent laying in bed with dreams of moving up the ranks, serving my country and if worst came to worst I would give my life for my country.

Football played a big roll in this dream. I trained as hard as I could, pushed my body to the limits regardless of how I felt after a game. There were many times I had to be carried to the car just to immediately pass out in the back seat. I remember being so hungry after that I would have pains in my stomach. I also remember not being able to eat because of how exhausted I was. I played on every squad in football: kicking, receiving, special teams, offense and defense. I played every down unless I was forced off the field. I am the reason my towns football league has a rule that players can only play every other down.

I played with complete disregard for my body or the mental pain I went through. I remember it was a ritual for me to puke three times at the beginning of each season. Once on the first practice, once when we started scrimmages and finally when we put on pads.

I grew up idolizing movies like Rambo. I dreamt of being the one they called in when shit hit the fan. I thought I would be perfect for the military, I thought I’d be a star student of war.

Sacrificing my body for a goal was never a problem for me. I’ve learned to push through pain. Compartmentalizing is at the core structor of my mind. Being able to sort out the bullshit helps me focus on my goals. I’m pretty smart too, which I thought would help me be a good leader.

Now the reality of the situation is, they won’t let you serve with Schizophrenia. This was not enough to deter me. I joined a Cadet program which I attended for a while before my illness got the best of me. Sadly I was never able to fully invest myself in the program.

Now here’s where I tell you about a big mistake I made just so I could join. I got talking to a recruiter at my high school. He was the one who informed me that I couldn’t be on medication for a full year and be stable in order to join. Me being young and dumb coupled with the determination to join the Marines,

I went off my medication.

Now as most of you know having Schizophrenia and coming off your meds never ends well. I’m here today to tell you that it didn’t end well. I don’t know how long it took for everything to fall apart, all I know is that it did. I started making bad choices caused by delusions. At first they weren’t strong but over time they intensified. Engulfing me to a point, subsequently I found myself in the hospital on a three week stay.

Honestly something good actually came from it. During my stay I learned that my blood pressure medication was not working. I remember they would take my BP sitting then standing. One time I stood up for them to take my standing BP; I remember them rushing towards me trying to get me to quickly sit down. My blood pressure was outrageously high and I remember a nurse questioning how I was still standing.

I guess things happen for a reason. I gave up my military aspirations. It wasn’t easy for me but eventually I came to terms with it.

At that point in my life I was lost. I was lost for so long that I learned how to operate without direction. A part of me still lives that way. I’ve come to appreciate uncertainty and the benefits that come with it. It’s the grey areas in life that keep me in check. You can call it fear, I call it motivation.

Moral of the story is you never know what’s going to happen. Sometimes if you let it ride and you fail, you learn from your mistake. Don’t be afraid to change, change is just another word for adapting. Something we all must do to survive.

My Worst Episode’s Road to Recovery

Depending on how bad I am before I end up hospitalized, it can take a while before I’m back to normal. Of course during that time I have zero concept of time, so I couldn’t give you an exact timeframe. I would hazard to guess that the longest it’s taken me to recover to a doctors standards, is roughly a month. Though the effects of being severely sick can last a longer time, roughly six months before I deem myself better. Sure I can blend into society and function but in my mind I’m fighting for sanity long past a month.

If you’ve read my post “My Worst Episode”, you know that it was by far my worst episode to date. I unfortunately made the mistake of not entering the hospital, even before that I didn’t take the time to look at the signs.

So skip forward to when I was put back on risperidone and initially started my recovery. It didn’t help that I was in a bad situation hindering my recovery. It was easily two weeks before I started showing signs of getting better. After that it was slow going and it felt like I would never get better. I’d say around week three I was getting more and more rational and though still delusional, I was able to begin fighting for reality.

Week four and five were the real winning weeks. My confidence in myself had grown enough to where I was convinced I was able to drive. Of course people around me were skeptical, for good reason but I was hell bent on escaping my situation and wanted to start rebuilding my life.

Once deemed okay by their standards, my wife and I made our escape and the long eight hour journey home. By home I mean we stayed with family because we had no where else to go, no home to go back to.

Immediately I started my search for a job even though I wasn’t quite all there. The stress of our new situation prolonged an already long recovery but anything was better than where we were. I landed a job at a pizza restaurant delivering food.

If you were to ask anyone who truly knows me from the restaurant, they’ll say I was really weird when I first started.

While still recovering and now working, I was desperate to repair the relationship between my wife and I. This was her first time ever experiencing the disaster my illness can cause. I will say that she handled it like a champ, she stuck by me no matter what. Suffice it to say though that it strained our relationship. I still to this day admire the strength it to took her to stay. Thus solidifying our relationship. Though I will never give my fight to stay mentally healthy, I know that if I fall she’ll be there. As you can probably tell though, repairing a relationship while working and still not being mentally healthy was beyond difficult.

Months went by and I could still feel the delusions tugging and taunting me. Waiting for me to slip up so that they could pull me back into the abyss.

I was pissed at the world, pissed at myself and pissed at the god I once believed in. My anger was my drive, my past my motivation and with my future hanging in the balance, nothing was going to stop me. I’ve never felt motivation like that before, it made a big enough impact that it’s carried to this day, almost three years later. Though the anger has mostly faded, my will to reach my goals remains.

I look back ever now and again at the hell that was my life. It fills me with a sense of urgency. It fills me with the urgency to push myself, to never fall again, to go higher and higher.

Here I am almost three years later, working two jobs and being up for promotion at one of them. Mentally healthier than I’ve ever been while having it in my heart to be even better.

Never give up, you never know what you’re capable of until you’re tested. The feeling you get from beating the worst has a way of changing you, of motivating you and showing you what you’re made of. Good luck!

Never Give Up!

Never giving up is a matter of mindset. When you tell yourself not to give up you need to be absolute. No matter what excuse you think of, it doesn’t matter.

It can sometimes feel as if your problems outweigh your reasons to keep going but in order to move forward, you have to look at the whole picture. Accepting your problems is a major accomplishment and you have it in you to do so; No matter who you are or what situations you find yourself in.

If you find yourself in a situation you feel as if you can’t overcome, being absolute when telling yourself to keep going can be an asset. Remember that most of the battle is mental and no one has more control over your mind than you yourself.

Being aware of your reasons for giving up are just as important as the reason or reasons to keep going. Facing your problems head on can play a vital rule. If you think about it, all these self helps books have one thing in common; it’s that you need to find a reason to keep going. Though this an important part of the equation it is only one piece of the puzzle.

Never be afraid to confront yourself on the things stacking up against you. No matter how many problems you have, understanding them is an important step in regaining your traction. Sort through them however you wish but always remember that you have in your control the most important option, to power yourself through them.

One important rule to remember is never fixate on any one problem. Think of it this way: never stare directly at a problem, look at it more at a peripheral point of view. Like when you are driving, you don’t just use your eyes to drive you also look at things out of the corner of your eye.

Keep your focus set on your goals and the obstacles off to the sides.

Withdrawals from Sarcosine

Let me start by saying that the website from which I buy sarcosine says if you’re going to stop to do it gradually not cold turkey. I just want to write a short post about what I’m going through right now. I ordered my Sarcosine last Friday and it still hasn’t been shipped yet. I’ve been a full day and a half without it. In the interest of full disclosure because I advocated for this product; I want to let you know that there are some withdrawals when you stop taking it cold turkey, which I accidentally found myself doing because I ran out. On websites that sell this product it recommends gradually stepping down before coming off.

I ran out yesterday but I had my morning dose and half of my afternoon dose. That night I felt slightly off but was still well enough. This morning after I took my meds I went to my first job, where I had trouble concentrating on tasks slightly. I got out of work at 2pm and went home until I had to be at my second job for 5pm. My second job I deliver pizzas. I was on my first delivery which happened to be a double and I was going down the road when it hit me like a truck. I had a panic attack, for someone who doesn’t have panic attacks it was quite the jarring experience. Full on adrenaline rush, palms were so sweaty that it was hard to grip the steering wheel and I felt like the entire world was closing in on me. I managed to make the deliveries and when I got back I asked my manager (who is also a close friend and who knows about my illness) if I could go home.

I got home and put ear plugs in, closed the blinds and pulled the blanket over my head. I also took L-theanine which seemed to help. It’s now 11:49pm and since I’ve been home I’ve been agitated, I’ve had anxiety and trouble focusing. So this is just a warning to all about what happens when you find yourself in my position.

My First Hospitalization

It’s been a long time since my first hospitalization. I’m 26 and I believe I was 14 or 15 the first time. So here’s how it went according to my memory.

I remember partial events leading up to the night, a few delusions and some hallucinations. I had just quit football, I wasn’t doing well in school. I spent a lot of time in my room and even more time sleeping. I was very antisocial and extremely insecure about myself as a whole. The night it happened I had no idea what was coming.

I never got along with my mother and there has always been some distrust there but that night sealed the deal. Other than my very first delusion was of my mother eating my brain, from a normal stand point our relationship was in poor condition. I was in what I believe is the worst time in my life, not because of my illness though. I was a handful to say the least and my mother couldn’t handle it. I drank alcohol, smoked pot and cigarettes and I had a bad habit of getting myself into trouble, especially with the law. My mother and I fought every night, my mother liked to come home drunk from the local bar and pick fights with me.

I remember one time she came home drunk and it was clear she wanted a fight. So I pretended to be asleep. She ran up to my room, opened my door and pulled me out of bed by my ear. The pain was unbearable.

She never used to buy food for the house. At 12 years old I got a job under the table just to be able to feed myself. For a while I survived off of trail mix and breakfast shakes. I also relied on stealing food from my schools cafeteria because she never gave me lunch money. More about all this at a later time, let’s get back to that fateful night.

I remember skipping school that day to stay home and sleep. I was also scared of going to school because of the odd thoughts I was having. My mother was working that day so she didn’t get home until later that night.

It was dark outside, I was in my room when my mother got home. She called me downstairs into the kitchen to tell me I had a doctors appointment at the hospital. I remember thinking how odd it was that my appointment was at the hospital but to avoid a fight, I said okay and went back upstairs.

Shortly after that we left, I don’t remember much of the ride. I remember it being long and I mostly starred out of the window. There wasn’t any conversation, she didn’t ask me if I was okay. She didn’t offer up any information as to what this was all about.

We made it to the hospital, I was in and out of blacking out or at least that’s what I remember. I learned gaps in my memory are a good indicator that I blacked out. It’s odd to think that I could still do things like walk through a hospital, without being consciously aware of it. We parked and went inside.

I entered into the processing section of the behavioral health wing unknowingly and I remember my mother leaving me there. I don’t remember her coming back but my father says they did. Crazy thing is I don’t even remember my father being there. I remember getting up and looking for a bathroom. I was yelled at by the staff to get back into my room. I told them that I had to use the bathroom and they replied with “we’ll send someone there in a minute”. I remember getting mad and flipping out on them. They called security and when they arrived I remember thinking that I could fight them, I could escape whatever hell awaited me in the coming days. I remember looking one security guard in the eye from across the way and deciding to turn around and go into my room.

My next memory takes me to my room inside the mental health wing itself. I had the room to myself, there were cubby’s for my belongings deemed safe. The bathroom didn’t lock and the mirror was taking out of it. I remember the door to the room had a little window, used by nurses to glance at us in the middle of the night to make sure we’re okay. The wing itself was L shaped with the nurses station being at the corner, along with the lounge. We were allowed outside, into this caged in area directly off of our lounge. It consisted of a picnic table and a small area to where we played with a basketball.

I grew used to my surroundings and after a while I got comfortable. The meds were working but I was still adjusting. Time was the last thing to come into focus, it honestly felt like I was there for months. I was actually there for three weeks. They offered schooling for those of us who were interested, I of course was not. Pretty soon I was almost back to my normal self. I started to try and make friends. It was easier than real life to make friends, being surround by people going through similar things as me.

One day I had a set back, I was being visited by all three of my parents. My mother picked a fight with my father and pretty soon all three of them were fighting. I flipped out on my step mother, I don’t remember why. I walked away pissed off and I punched a concrete wall as hard as I could. At the time I didn’t think nothing of it. The nurses came into my room with a needle. I told them I had calmed down and they didn’t need to put that in me. I convinced them luckily because I was ready to brawl with them over it. Later on the nurses came back in and said they had to X-ray my hand. Apparently my punch to the wall was heard on the other side of the wing. To their surprise and disbelief my hand was fine, waste of an X-ray.

Another set back I had was when they wanted to run some tests on my brain. Watch my brainwaves and what not, I don’t know much about the tests. I just remember when they flashed me with this really bright light while monitoring me. I remember being completely disoriented for hours. It severely messed with my ability to think and process information, as well as keep my balance. I remember the security guard that took me over there talking to me and all I could do is stare at him, unable to think or speak.

Eventually I was released and I went home with my mother. A lot of my time spent at the hospital gone from me and I will never know everything that happened. What had taken me by surprise turned out to be a positive event. Though I punished everyone for a long time.

It took me so long to realize that my hospital probably saved my life.

I sit here today with regret.

I love hearing success stories. I hear of people who have smoked for twenty five years then one day, out of the blue, they quit cold turkey. I am not only happy for these people but I am completely jealous of them.

As I sit here today, after one day of doing so well, I haven’t smoked a single cigarette until this point, I am envious. My body has felt great today, I’ve barely coughed and I’ve had an enormous amount of energy. I sit here today envious, kicking myself for lighting up my second cigarette in a row.

Today my mind has been all over the place: I’ve been forgetful, I’ve had a lapse in concentration, I’ve had more odd thoughts than I’ve had in so long, honestly I don’t know how I’ve made it through today. I sit here today, heart broken that I’ve given up on quittng cigarettes.

Today has pushed me so hard, to a point where I’m looking back at my day and I feel if I continue I will end up in the hospital because of a break down. I look back at today and realize how distant I was from reality. I was reminded of that far away feeling I get right before I plummet into a full blown episode. I sit here today, scared that I can never quit, scared that my illness and addiction to cigarettes will be the end of me.

My biggest regret in life is picking up a cigarette. When I took that first drag I did not think of how I would think of myself, years down the road. My first cigarette was before my illness emerged. It was before I knew that my life choices had consequences and before I thought that I should take care of myself. I sit here today, side by side with regret.

Analyzing myself, my minds answer to not being able to sleep

This is the mind of someone with schizophrenia for you. Sometimes my thoughts are just broken. Add a stressful day plus melatonin because I can’t sleep and this is what you get.

I sat up awake tonight trying to decide, more or less, if I handle situations like a good person would.

Some people struggle with right from wrong. Some people are to emotional whereas others are to logical.

Each day is a struggle for me. I know right from wrong, how to act appropriately in most situations and for the most part I am a pretty consistent person.

My daily struggle is like two oceans, pushing, pulling and both trying to push me in the right direction.

Here is my problem, I am a very calculating person, I am able to stay composed and make logical decisions on the outside. I also have a contradicting characteristic which is I am not a cold person. I am in fact a very empathetic, loving, compassionate person. I am someone who loves to laugh and wants to make the best of every moment.

These two contradictory characteristics add another step to my decision making. I always see two roads to begin each situation. I don’t see it as a right from wrong as either road can lead to a positive outcome, more of a means to an end.

A big factor in deciding how to go about a situation is who I’m interacting with. Is it a good person or someone who would take advantage and pose a threat to me; you may call it judging but I call it taking in all the factors. Let’s face it, not everyone is your best friend.

You see for me it’s all about deciding how to proceed based on calculating, logical ideas about the other person but I know that if I’m not careful I could hurt that person. So I get stuck with a dilemma, do the means justify the end.

So what’s with this extra step in my decision making. Is it just a side effect of my mental illness or is it another asset brought upon by adapting.

I’ve often heard that me, as a sufferer of schizophrenia, do not think as a normal person should. Up to this point in my life, the majority of my decisions have either kept me out of harms way or steered me away from toxic people. So determining whether or not I think right is irrelevant as it has saved my ass more times than not. I still try to do the best I can and be a good person.

Plot twist, I apologize if this confuses you at all, I’m merely trying to get out of my head by writing. A lot of these thoughts that keep me up at night, don’t actually have any depth to them. It’s like there enough to hook me but once I’m hooked they don’t seem to go anywhere.

Six Months of Sarcosine

So it’s overdue but as of December 23rd I’ve reached six months of using sarcosine. If you’ve looked up sarcosine you might have read that they recommend that you try it for at least six months. Sarcosine is an amino acid that helps a certain type of receptor in your brain. It helps when it breaks down into one of the chemical forms your brain uses to communicate. In some recent study’s it’s been found that some people with schizophrenia have a lower amount of this chemical and in theory, it makes it harder for the communication to take place. More studies are needed to prove without doubt that this is one of the causes of schizophrenia but I have to say that in the last six months, I’ve come a long way.

I take four grams a day of sarcosine, two in the morning and two in the late afternoon. They recommend that you start with one gram, half in the morning and the other half in the late afternoon. They say late afternoon because it may give you a lot of energy. So unless you’re a night owl I would recommend listening to their advice. So during a period of a few weeks they say to gradually up your dose until it feels right for you but only to the max of four grams a day. If you reach a certain point and you become very agitated or you feel an unpleasant feeling you should not be alarmed. Just go back down to the previous dose, as the one you’re on maybe to much for you.

So on to my experience so far, keep in mind that your experience will be different and I recommend you do your research before trying it. This is merely my review for my experience of the product.

I would first like to point out the biggest impact sarcosine has had on me, my ability to recognize my symptoms has greatly improved. By greatly improved I mean before it I couldn’t recognize my symptoms. After reaching six months of taking this supplement, I can confidently say that I am able to see the signs of my schizophrenia acting up and take corrective action such as: taking a day off of work, taking some to-do items off my list and recognizing how something is affecting my mental health. As we know this can be a strong tool when self managing our illness. I can say that it has also taking some of the stress off my wife as less frequently she’s asked me what’s wrong. She’s told me I get a look in my eyes that tells her my illness is acting up. Believe me when I say that the look is very real.

Speaking of the look I get, another thing that could be said is that I don’t go into that state of mind where I am partially sick as often if at all. I believe that along with my self management of my illness the sarcosine is also helping me not fall into the self help phase. It helps in many ways, it provides clarity of mind as well as your ability to handle stressful encounters that life often throws at us.

Another positive I’ve noticed is that my ability to concentrate for longer periods has greatly improved. This has helped me at work, home, with conversations as well as my writing ability. Over the past six months I’ve noticed myself hitting less and less mental barriers long associated with schizophrenia. I’ve mentioned before that sometimes it’s a battle just to accomplish simple tasks such as getting to work on time or even just brushing my teeth, making sure I eat some food or even just combing my hair. Such barriers can make life extremely difficult and stressful as well as impact my happiness, which just creates a downward spiral. I’m happy to say that these barriers are few and far between these days. Keep in mind that sarcosine isn’t a miracle supplement and you will still have your setbacks but in my experience the good has been outweighing the bad. This has made me a much happier person.

What I’ve long struggled with is being social. I’ve always been great at small talk but even just maintaining a friendship at work could be extremely taxing on me. Since sarcosine started taking effect I’ve noticed my relationships have become closer and more fulfilling. My coworkers have started hanging out with me outside of work, we talk more often and I’ve been introduced to their friends. This is a major milestone for me. My ability to feel great amounts of joy from being social has greatly improved.

Speaking of feeling more joy, I have to say that my ability to feel pure joy and maintain a positive and happy mood has altered my state of mind in a profound way. One of my big problems to date was my inability to maintain the feeling of joy over things happening in my life. The intensity of this feeling has also evolved into something so beautiful that recently I’ve almost been moved to tears because of how happy I was. Let me state this as a fact, I have never in my entire life been moved to tears because of happiness or even come close to it. For the longest period in my life I’ve woken up happy and gone to bed happy more consistently and this has caused my general well being to greatly improve.

My general well-being improving has meant for me that I am taking better care of myself. Self care can be a daily challenge for someone like me and I can embarrassingly say that at one point in my life, I was the smelly kid in class. Since starting sarcosine I’ve received more compliments about how good I smell then ever before in my life. I’ve also put a lot more thought into my image than ever before, something I never cared about much in my life. My teeth are whiter, my hair is better maintained and I’ve now developed a will as well as want to look better.

All of these improvements and many more have cascaded into a better me. Someone that I’m starting to like and I have become more accepting of myself. I’ve started to see my real potential.

A big fear of mine was that at some point in my life I wouldn’t be fit to work. Most recently my work ethic and drive has improved monumentally and I have received compliments about how well I preform tasks at work. I have to say that I am proud of myself because of how well I’ve been working. Before work was always a struggle but I’ve been taught and I am a big believer in working hard, no matter what you’re doing. Now I am able to not only want to work hard but to actually do so.

It’s been an amazing journey, starting sarcosine and reaching this point. For once in my life I have hope that I will go places in life and that I’ll represent myself in a positive manner. I highly recommend sarcosine for you or the loved one in your life and I hope with all my heart that it does for you as it has done for me. Good luck to you all.

My Attitude.

So I like to think that I’m a nice person but the attitude I can get is a real problem.

I’m capable of forgiveness but sometimes people get the best of me and my need to defend myself often outweighs the logical side of things. Far to often I find myself getting defensive over things people say even when they may not be directed towards me. Such as when someone generalizes and I end up in that category. This is a real struggle at work because I believe I am a hard worker but people with my job title tend to slack off. Not to say that I am perfect but I shouldn’t be coupled into something that has nothing to do with me, especially when it’s negative. I just can’t seem to bring my self to let it go.

You may see this a something trivial but it often leads to problems maintaining friendships at work. My wife has told me that this is something higher ups do because they shouldn’t single someone out in front of the group but I can’t help but feel personally attacked.

I am unsure if it has anything to do with my illness. It’s possible to say that it’s some form of paranoia. It could be possible that it stems from my upbringing. Nevertheless it is a problem that needs to be dealt with by none other than myself.

I pride myself on my ability to make a change in the ways I see things but this one may prove to be difficult on my own. Obviously therapy would be a useful tool in this but the therapists at my doctors office aren’t much help. Yes they listen good, a little too good because you could lead them up to giving you great advice but they’ll just continue to listen. I need someone who is just as capable of listening as they are at giving advice. That can’t be to much to ask for, can it?

So with therapy out at the moment, what am I to do? One reason this will be difficult on my own is my temper. Being a big contributor to my attitude, it often gets my adrenaline pumping and like every person out there I start reacting more without thought. Thus making it hard to stop and think before I react.

It’s may be possible that just keeping this in the forefront of my mind each day might help. Having it in my mind before a situation happens could help me stop and think. The problem is this is not an everyday occurrence. So it doesn’t seem to be realistic to think about it for prolonged times without using it.

Maybe meditation could help. Keeping my body relaxed may stop me from getting so amped up. I don’t know much about the practice but I’ve heard good things. I also don’t know anyone who is serious enough about it to sort of lead me through or at least get me started.

You may have noticed that I’m coming up with a lot of excuses for not letting this change take place. This is what I face every time I want to make a positive change in life, as I’m sure it does for many people. I can’t help but tell you that there is a part of me that feels as if my actions are a justified because it’s self preservation, being that some people need to be put in their place or taught that certain lines cannot be crossed. This is hindering me slightly as you can imagine.

So now that I’ve voiced my internal debate, I’m hoping that someone would have some advice for me. I’m conflicted so please, if you wouldn’t mind, contact me. You could comment, email, or hit me up on Twitter. I could really use the help. Have a good one peoples.

Bare it All Out There

Yes, I have schizophrenia.

What if you could see my illness, what then? No doubt it would be a horrific sight or maybe something beautiful like abstract art. Something wild and untethered by logical thinking.

If you saw me with crutches there’s no doubt you might open a door for me but what if I was having some sort of cognitive dysfunction, mild paranoia or something schizophrenia related; what would you do?

I may have mentioned before that my last job coupled with medication failure, drove me into a six month episode. What amazes me is that they denied me leave of absence so I could go to the hospital. I partially remember the phone call and with validation from my wife, I learned that the YMCA lied to me. They told me I haven’t met the requirements for LOA which was untrue. It wasn’t until later on that I realized that they were only just trying to push me out of the company. They continuously gave me write ups and verbal warning on things that were directly related to my illness. For example my work ethic, tardiness and other things. Mind you I was a good worker up until that point, without a single write up on my record. Now how hard would have been to allow me to go to the hospital and get a medication adjustment, then get right back to work? If you ask me it wouldn’t have been hard for them at all, there were plenty of people who could have picked up the slack of my absence until I returned.

Situations like this are the main reason I am not open about my illness. I read recently that people with schizophrenia are more likely to fall victim to human rights violations than most. A disturbing fact that I had recently learned and believe me, it kept me up at night. To think that someone would take advantage of my illness doesn’t surprise me. People take advantage of each other all the time but up until the YMCA I was blissfully unaware of how awful I would be treated because of my illness. It was and is still surreal to me. I don’t make it a habit to apologize to anyone other than loved ones for what my illness puts me through and this is no exception. I am not sorry that my illness inconvenienced the YMCA and I will never be. If anything I deserve an apology from them for the hitler mentality that I was met with when all I asked for was help. Help for the illness that was causing great distress for not only me but my loved ones. Help for the disease that I was born with, one I would not ask for. Enough of that for now, they’re not worth the time of day.

Moving forward I believe that it is of the up most importance that we start recognizing mental illness as as we would a physical aliment. The kind of uneducated, hitler, and Hollywood stigma that forces the mentally ill into hiding needs to end. It’s nothing less than a persecution of people with tactics such as bullying, discrimination, blatant violations of human rights and in some cases murder.

It’s unfortunate that people aren’t calling it like it is and that people are just brushing it under the rug. We are people too and should be treated as such.

I shouldn’t have to worry about telling my bosses about my schizophrenia for fear that they might get rid of me. I shouldn’t have to worry about going into the hospital and being violently subdued for simply speaking out of turn. I shouldn’t be forced to go through a psych evaluation because a family member wants me gone or is angry with me. I shouldn’t have to worry about being unlawfully detained and brutalized by police, laughed at and spit on. I shouldn’t have to worry about a doctor calling me an ambulance because I disagree with what she said. Wake up people, these things and worse happen everyday to the mentally ill.

It needs to stop.

Putting it into Perspective

Sometimes when my thoughts are jumbled, I like to take a step back to put things into perspective. One of the things I think about is, where would I be today had I not developed schizophrenia. In a lot of ways this illness has changed me, for better and for worse. One thing I feel is that I wouldn’t be the person I am today. For obvious reasons I had to adapt, contouring my life around my illness.

Living with schizophrenia is much like living with yourself as a child. You protect yourself against things that might influence your disease. Possible triggers are a big one to look out for. Much of the time trying to take care of yourself is like trying to get your toddler self to take a bath or brush their teeth. Self care has been a problem of mine since my early teenage years. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s kind of gross sometimes. Believe me when I say that I want to take care of myself, I want to get that feeling of a million bucks after the shower. Sometimes it’s not always in the cards for me. So one things for sure, if I didn’t have my illness I would be A LOT cleaner.

Another trouble I have is maintaining a job. I’ve been through a few jobs in my life, only two lasting more than a year. Considering I started working at age 12, that’s not very impressive. One thing I feel resentful for is the fact that I want to work. I want to work so hard and achieve my dreams yet I’m held back by schizophrenia. Without this illness I’m sure I would be a lot further ahead in life. The bright side of it all is had things been different, I wouldn’t have met my wife. The woman who I love with all my heart and thankful that I spend each day and night with. Massive silver lining right there.

So dealing with this illness has held me back in some regard but so far, the pros out weigh the cons. I’ve changed as a person and in most ways I think it’s for the better. Dealing with hardship always changes us as people. For many reasons I think I’ve become a better person. I’ve become a more caring, empathetic, loving, and patient person. I look at my life and the struggle I hide and think, who’s to say that person over there isn’t going through something of equal hardship. This thought often crosses my mind and has caused me to develop a sense compassion for anyone or anything. I’ve been treated like dirt and had the person not dehumanized me and thought just maybe I was going through a lot, maybe they would’ve treated me better. So this is how I try to see things first.

So where would I be had I not developed schizophrenia? Honestly, I don’t care to know. I like who I am and how I’m more able to see the beauty in the world. How time is even more precious. Perspective is the key to my happiness. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the world from different ways. I think I’ve settled on one that’s made me a truly happy person.

I hope I’ve helped you in some way. Whether you have a illness or not, I hope I’ve helped you see some light in the darkness. Happy Holidays everyone!

Days like today.

Today I’ve been awake since 9:45 and I have to say that I’ve accomplished very little. I’ve spent most of my time on Twitter and listening to music. I find that one of the most aggravating negative symptoms of schizophrenia is the lack of motivation. In my head I have so much that I want to do today, yet the mental hurtles that I have to jump through to get moving can be debilitating. Some of my laziness may be contributed to it being my day off but when I watch my wife on her day off, it’s like cleaning the house is her second. Her drive amazes me everyday and I would give so much just to have an ounce of it.

I mean sure social withdrawal is lonely and the cognitive disfunction can be annoying. Honestly though, sitting here knowing things need to get done leaves me with a sense of uselessness feeling in my gut. What’s worse is when my wife gets home, she’ll start to clean and I’ll feel like a complete A-Hole for not being productive all day.

Unfortunately my only counter move to being lazy is getting mad at myself. I know, it’s unhealthy but it’s the only thing that will put the drive back in my gears. Ill mentally beat myself up, asking myself why can’t I be more helpful or if I like putting so much work on my wife. Feeling helpless pushes me until I break, when I essentially tell myself to fuck off and I get up and moving.

I know this isn’t normal but it’s the only strategy I’ve come up with after a lifetime of letting people down and having people get sick of my lack of motivation. Do I expect them to show some empathy and understand that it’s part of my illness, yes, but I also feel obligated to put my best effort forward and at least attempt to be productive. I don’t want anyone to feel like I’m using this as a scapegoat nor do I want to feel like I am. So until I find a better way or until I am capable of just getting it done, this is the lesser of two evils. It’s either be lazy and watch life pass me by or be able to lay my head down at night knowing that I tried. Neither is easy on me but it is what it is. Wish me luck, better yet wish me motivation.

Pushing back.

When we view schizophrenia in today’s day and age, we are troubled by all the stigma surrounding it. Movies spreading free, the media blaming every bad incident on mental illness. Everyone scared to talk to someone for the fear that has been instilled in them by folklore.

While writing this, a sad thought has come to mind. I highly doubt anyone with schizophrenia could possibly enter politics. They would eaten alive by the stigma and would never gain favor because of people’s misguided stigma.

Other than social media and some random organizations there isn’t that many people fighting for the rights of the mentally ill. You would think that if we were as big of a problem as the media proclaims that there would be more done to help us get better treatment. A lot of people can be functioning members of society if they are given proper treatment. So is there any good reason why people aren’t protesting or creating movements to help us.

The mental health movement need a push. More needs to be done starting at the root of our education. Classes in schools need to be created. Awareness needs to be spread. We are people too and need as much protection as anybody else, if not then more. We are more likely to be taken advantage of or harmed by someone who is “normal” than us doing it to them.

If more people were educated, no if everyone was educated on mental illness I think there would be a lot more help out there.

Optimism

Who knows if I’m doing it right. We’re all just blindly following our paths to destinations unknown. During my journey I try to keep a positive mentality. It’s not always easy but I believe it is essential for moral. It’s not always about looking on the bright side for me, some days that isn’t enough. Doing my best to get in some form of self care each day is important. Whether it is exercising my body, or mind. Maybe something so simple as combing my hair (I have very short hair). No matter what it is, feeling my best paves the way to positive thinking. It would be unrealistic for me to think I could live in a dump with poor hygiene and zero aspirations and still feel positive.

Another way I stay positive is I try to find the silver lining in 99% of situations. Even if it may be that I make a joke out of something stupid that happened to me. Turning a negative thing into a positive can be a game changer. Finding that one ray of light in the darkest hour can mean the difference between sanity and complete mental chaos.

As I write this, I am reminded of all the times I could not find a positive in a negative. Sometimes my thoughts just get the best of me. Though the silver lining is I can recognize how I felt and acted during these times. Using them as a lesson on what not to do, then taking the next step toward being a better person. If there’s one thing I understand it’s that I can always be better. I know that I will never be perfect. I also know that I will inevitably make mistakes but this is all part of life, part of growing as a person. I only wish more people felt the same, the world would be a better place.

What Writing Means to Me.

Writing has certainly become a passion of mine. Putting my experiences, thoughts and opinions out there gives me a clearer head. My mind has always raced, detailed thoughts about my past, present and future. Clearing my head by writing paves the way for me to take on a new day. It helps me move on from the past, to let go of regrets. I lay awake a lot at night thinking of things, trying to get a new perspective.

I’ve tried many different outlets. From driving to clear my head to working out to get rid of stress. Nothing stacks up to my ability to focus my thoughts into writing.

Driving has always comforted me but once I’ve parked my vehicle my mind begins to wander again. Focusing on the road provides an escape from reality. I’m not looking for an escape though, I’m trying to cope.

Working out has always helped me to relax in a sense but my mind wanders before, during and after. Yes my body will be calm but it doesn’t seem to help me in my mental state. In order to truly relax my mind has to clear.

Looking back over five months ago, before I started my blog I didn’t have an outlet to just empty my mind. Talking in therapy or with someone just didn’t cut it. My mind is filled with thoughts that has built up over time. Almost like it wouldn’t leave my mind until I expressed it somehow. The problem with talking about it, for me, is a lot of times the direction of the conversation would be influenced by the person I am talking to. Besides that there are something’s that I have to explain in great detail and writing helps me find all of the right words. Once I’ve put my thoughts into writing I am able to relax.

My illness likes to seep into every part of my life and because I am not very open about it, I am forced to bury my thoughts. People don’t always want to hear about what I am going through. Being able to allow these buried thoughts to escape helps me feel better.

Being able to write down everything allows me to look at situations from a new perspective. There are times where I fixate on things. So much that I blind myself to possible ways of looking at it. Whether it’s something from my past where I can rethink what I did and realize I was wrong, accept it and move on.

I’ve learned a lot about myself since I’ve started writing. I’ve learned that I am capable of letting go of things I’ve held on to for so long. I’ve learned that I can be happy with myself.

In my conquest of trying to clear my mind, my hopes are that I can reach out and touch somebody. That in someway I can give them whatever it takes to keep pushing. I want everyone that reads what I write to take something positive away from it. Whether it’s not making my mistakes, or learning how to accept themselves. Or if the importance of having a healthy coping mechanism.

Writing has become my major coping mechanism. It’s really exciting to think that someone out there who may be going through something similar, can read this and think I am not alone. I chose to be open about my illness not just for me but for you.

Writing also gives me a sense of accomplishment. This website is my baby and I’ll do whatever I can to keep it going because feelings like this don’t come cheap. The feeling I get while writing is unmatched by any other activities. Having healthy coping mechanisms has never been my strong suit.

I hope that everyone can develop something like this. Something that makes them feel truly free.

Good days, Great Days

Days are different each day. No doubt we’re all faced with something new each day. Sometimes good days turn into great days when something profound happens. It is like the stars align and so many things just fall into place. For me, a good day is when my head is clear. When I am able to wake up and go to work and do the best that I can. There are also other factors, spending time with my wife will also have me in a great mood. Playing with my cats also gives me this great feeling inside. Having a good nights rest is rare but always leaves me in a good place. What makes a great day though. Is it just a well-balanced feeling that you wake up with or is it things around you going right. Happiness starts with yourself. If you wake up pissed off and hating life, chances are you aren’t happy with yourself. Your perception of yourself play a big role in how happy you are, next are what you do day-to-day, then its the people you surround yourself with. I’ve always kept a small circle around me, people who have a positive influence. They’re hard to find and even harder to keep around but they are important to your perception of life, same with the music you listen to. It is rare you find someone who completely uninfluenced by things they hear.

Actions you take day-to-day, things you do day in and day out, have a massive effect on your well-being. I’ve read recently that stress from your job could be a leading cause of heart attacks. Take care in which activities you put yourself through. If you chose to do even one thing a day, that’s just for you and that makes you happy, it could be very beneficial to you. Whether its listening to your favorite song that makes you happy. Or driving by a place that brings you back to a time when you were truly happy. Don’t forget about yourself because once your life is over, that’s it. There is not a rewind button and missed opportunities may never resurface. Don’t worry about what you missed yesterday, you experience life in the here and now. So make the most of it today, now. Things you chose to do today could be the difference in your happiness either now or down the road.

Perception of yourself is key to your happiness. Ever hear that saying “money doesn’t make you happy”? You could be the richest person in the world, have everything go right day in and day out and still be unhappy. Now I am not saying that just because you are rich that you are going to be unhappy but if you’re not happy with yourself then what does moeny matter. Being able to effectively care for other people, starts with caring for yourself. How could you possibly love someone to the fullest extent if you don’t even love yourself. Think of it as setting an example or setting the bar. How much you care for yourself shows how emotionally capable you are at caring for others. When I say Caring for yourself, I don’t mean it in a sense of showering and brushing your teeth. I mean it as emotionally caring for yourself.

So how have I been able to have more great days than good days? I’ve spent a lot of time looking myself in the mirror, going over every detail about me and learning to accept every flaw that I have. Realizing that there aren’t any perfect people in the world so that I stop holding myself to that standard. I’ve spent years trying to learn how to even like myself, how to look past my short comings. I’ll admit that I still have some way to go and I’ll probably be learning this lesson for the rest of my life. To me though, self happiness is the greatest battle and is worth never giving up on. No matter how long it takes or how many set backs there are because the hardest thing in life is not like the person you see in the mirror. If you can’t stare into your own eyes and feel something other than contempt, regret or resentment then something truly needs to change. I am not saying you have to do this on your own. A lot of the time therapy plays a big role in opening up your mind to things you’ve refused to realize about yourself.

Think of it this way, when you don’t like someone or even hate them, do you look at their actions or opinions and think that they are bad or have bad intentions. Are your opinions swayed because of how you feel about them emotionally? If you answered yes then you are being honest because I think we do this even on a subconscious level. Why would it be any different with how we feel about ourselves? If you don’t like things about yourself or even hate yourself, you are entering this downward spiral and you are going to make it hard for yourself to change. Believe me any feelings that you have about others, you can have about yourself.

You have to understand that loving and accepting yourself are your greatest tools in life. Once you learned to accept yourself you’ll find that it becomes easier to rely on yourself. It becomes easier to have confidence. It opens doors that you’ve been to blinded to see by hate. I believe that every single human beings needs to learn this. Needs to understand that when they value themselves, the world will value them more.

It is going to be a long road, and its going to be hard. You may have done things that you thought you could never forgive yourself for but what I am telling you isn’t about forgiving yourself. It’s about accepting that you’ve done wrong and realizing you aren’t perfect.

It starts with taking a hard look at your imperfections, not to be hard on yourself but just to acknowledge that they’re there. The next step is realizing that its okay not to be perfect. Then you will start to understand what accepting yourself feels like.

Once you’ve accepted yourself, you’ve opened up doors to many things. Things like loving yourself. Things like being able to move on. Once you can love yourself you’ll realize that your perception of yourself will improve. You will find the beauty in yourself that you’ve long since forgotten about, or perhaps never even noticed before. Trust me when I say that you have beauty, we all do. We all also have short comings, those are just to be accepted not fixated over.

This may be the most important lesson that everybody needs to learn. I am here learning this with you. So just know that you are not alone. Over 7 billion people on this planet need to learn this. Whether they are happy day-to-day or are in a depression. This is a valuable lesson that no matter what you are going through, it needs to be heard.

Good luck to you all. Remember that we are all in this struggle together. The first step will always be admitting it to yourself.

I first started down this path not to long ago. It all started when I finally admitted that I hated myself. I told my wife, I told my friends, I told my therapist. I just had to keep saying it because every time I did, I felt like it opened my eyes more and more. I realized that my hatred for myself held me back so much. Hatred for myself seeped into every part of my life and it all started with what I thought about myself. I mistreated people because I assumed the worst about them. I assumed the worst in them because I had lost faith in myself, so I couldn’t put faith in anyone else. I didn’t have a problem never talking to people again because I wished I could never see myself again. My level of compassion had ceased to exist. I started searching for things to make me happy and luckily I didn’t go to far down that road because it could have led somewhere awful. I never stopped to think that what I was searching for, wasn’t in the world in front of me but in my own mind. I had put myself into a box, separating myself from everything. So full of anger that it made it impossible to see straight. Trust me when I tell you that, you can live in that you can live in that box for a long time. You wont even realize it either and one day you’ll start searching for all the wrong things to make yourself happy. You may even go as far as getting into drugs and alcohol to fix what going on inside your mind. This will not work. Accepting yourself is the start.

Loving yourself is the only way.

My Worst Fears.

 

brown concrete castle
Photo by Jack Gittoes on Pexels.com

Sometimes the hardest part of schizophrenia is the fear that accompanies it. Not of the problems of when you’ve already lost you’re mind. Those are short lived for me, lasting only a few weeks to a few months. It’s when I’m well, that’s where most of my time is spent. That is where the fear lay in wait.

I have a few accomplishments that I am very proud to have. I’ve achieved my Diploma, my license to drive, I am even certified in facilities maintenance. I have a good driving record, and I haven’t had any problems with the law since my youth, of course all those records are sealed. I’m at a job where I do well and My wife and I have our own apartment. I succeeded in taking care of an elderly person in my family until his dying breath. My wife and I did our best to make his last leg of life as pleasant as possible. What I am getting at is it would seem that I am a capable person. It would seem that despite my illness, I can grab the reigns of life and take it where ever I see fit. You would be wrong in that assumption.

I am probably the world leader in putting on a face and going about my day. A lot of people who I have told about my illness say that they would have never known. Even after I told them, they still find it hard to believe. I’ll admit that for having schizophrenia, I am pretty high functioning. I am lucky to say the least but I still do have an illness.

So back to the fear. Some would say, “hey you are okay today, so try not to let it get to you.” I’m pretty sure they ask the impossible because the fear of getting sick again is always on or in the back of my mind. My last statement is of course a very loaded one. Yes I am continuously worried about getting sick but its much more than that. my fears are not ones that are all about me, yes being delusional is uncomfortable (to say the least) but they’re more about the people in my life. My wife relies on me to get her to work. Us only having one vehicle present a bit of a problem since my job requires me to drive. What would happen if i went into the hospital for three weeks. Taxis are expensive and we have bills to pay, shes close enough to walk but people are terrible drivers around here. Not only that but she closes the store some nights and I’d rather her not walk home at not for fear of her safety.

Now back to me not working for three weeks. It would be very hard, if not impossible for my wife to handle the bills on her own and my job doesn’t offer paid vacation or sick time. Needless to say it would be bad for us financially.

I think the worst is that my wife would be all alone, worrying about how I’m doing in the hospital and going about life by herself. I love my wife more than everything in the world and I would be in that hospital a complete wreck with worry about her.

See the worst part about this fear is not how terrifying it is, but how often I think about it. I’ve definitely be sane more than I have not and this fear taking place while I am sane, takes up more of my time.

Another big fear of mine is my illness causing me to lose my life. I’ve had a few delusions where I thought this reality wasn’t the true one and it scares me to think that one day I could try to kill myself, thinking that it is going to wake me up. I feel as if I can never trust my mind to keep me alive when I am sick. I’ve also done some pretty stupid things in my life and a big part of that being because of my illness.

One of my fears that I try desperately to push out of my mind is that somehow I would lose access to what keeps my mind sane, and I would be forever lost in my mind. Unable to look at my wife with recognition and love. Unable to ever have anything that I could say I worked for. Or just being completely out of control of my life.

One of my favorite pass times is being out on my porch. I go out there and I smoke a lot of cigarettes. I read somewhere that 90% of schizophrenics smoke. Think about that, there is 24 million of us across the globe and almost all of us smoke. Clearly being a deadly habit, I fear my illness makes me cling to the smokes. I have tried many different mechanisms to try to quit. I’ve tried vaping, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler, the patch, cold turkey, nicotine tictacs and probably a few others I’ve forgotten about. all to no avail. The fear being that I cannot quit and I die a terrible cancer filled death.

Schizophrenia brings out a lot of fear in people, but none more so than the people who have the illness. In this unforgiving world we can sometimes get left behind, forsaken and left to rot in our own minds. People sometimes like to pick on the weak, a lot of misconceptions about mental illness dehumanize us. People view us as less than animals. Hitler being one who for tested out his terrible ovens on the mentally ill in order to perfect them for the Jewish victims. Another would be in 1950’s America, where they did a procedure that involved shoving a medical tool into our brains and tearing some of our brain out. This was called Lobotomizing and it was a terrible thing that no one should have even thought about. Unfortunately we weren’t cared enough about to deem it inhumane. Then there is the Catholic church, who said it was demon possession that caused our illness and they performed painful exorcism’s on us.  Long ago in Great Brittain they would build mass institutions where they would house the mentally ill. Their family’s would pay a fee and they would never have to worry about their mentally ill family member again. Poor living conditions and even worse treatment made these buildings famous. Even now a days where I was forced out of a company because of my illness instead of them trying to help me get better. I can’t even say that we aren’t being harmed anymore because of police brutality killing a schizophrenic in custody in California. This man was dying all the while they filmed and laughed about it.

So these are just some of my fears, making it difficult to sleep at night. Try not to dwell on all of it because you are well today.

Difficulty sleeping 😴

My nights are usually spent laying in bed, wide awake and my mind wandering. I’ve had difficulty sleeping my entire life and it seems like no matter what I do, nothing will change with it. It probably stems from my younger years, I got a tv in my bedroom when I was six years old. I started to stay up until two in the morning almost immediately. Even when I would get yelled at to go to sleep, all I would do is turn down my tv. I’ve got a life time of bad habits but this one takes the cake. It effects my everyday life and not only gets on other people’s nerves but my own as well. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with my illness, all I know is when I do not get enough sleep, I feel off the entire day. I’ve also read that I’m more susceptible to sleep deprivation than the average “sane” person.

Just last week it was my grandfathers birthday, the first one since he passed and we were going to the cemetery to spend it with him. I had recently stopped taking melatonin to help me sleep and the night before I ended up staying up all night. I felt myself slipping into an episode. I started losing control of my thoughts and I felt distant from reality. I was barely hanging on and I still had to work that night. I took a two hour nap but I still felt awful. My job was going to require me to stay up until two in the morning. After not sleeping more than a nap, I feared the worst.

I started making plans to go into the hospital. Starting with explaining to my wife what was going on. I then alerted my job in hopes they wouldn’t be like the last place I worked at and immediately try and fire me. They were very understanding and the stress was relieved a little. All this happened Sunday and I told my wife that if I didn’t improve by Tuesday morning I would go into the hospital. She was very understanding, as she always is and she advised me to start taking the melatonin again. After working all night Sunday and fearing that my episode would get worse, I finally made it into the comforts of my bed. After taking melatonin and drinking some sleepy time tea, I slept the entire day away the next day. I went into work still feeling like I was getting sick, although I was a little bit better, I gritted my teeth and went into work. As the night went on I started feeling better and better. I went to bed that night confident that I was going to the hospital the next day.

Tuesday afternoon rolled around when I woke up and I decided that I wasn’t bad enough to go into the hospital. My wife and I agreed on it and I spent my day off relaxing and getting some things done. I informed work that I wouldn’t be going into the hospital and I no longer need the days off the following week.

It was a big scare to say the least, fear of losing everything always weighs heavy on my mind. Though I have no choice but to power through and lean on the ones I love.

I have to say though that since starting the sarcosine, my symptom recognition has greatly improved and I am thankful for it.

Adam and Eve delusion

This one is pure blasphemy but it wasn’t like I could control it. This one happened a long time ago, I’m not sure on the timeline but I know I was living with my mother in Maine. I don’t think I was on medication at the time and I’m about fifty percent sure it was the one and only time I came off my meds because I thought I didn’t need them. She had just rented an apartment for us and she left for work one day. I was home alone and my mind was tearing me apart. The day felt like it lasted years and I remember begging for it to end. There wasn’t much furniture in the house and if I remember right I didn’t have a tv. All I had was a radio. I remember the delusion vaguely and out of order.

While laying on the floor my mind wandered with something my mother had said. It was a simple statement, something she’d said many times and I’m sure many people have heard it before, “we’re going to church tomorrow.” Little did she know that this would set of an episode that completely sucked me in and would wander into the darkest parts of my mind. The part of my mind where my depression laid suppressed. This delusion would open the door and tare me apart for reasons unknown.

It started when I looked out of the window at a crowd of people. I couldn’t make out any faces but somehow I became connected with the world through them. They would become my followers. People could then hear my thoughts and I theirs. They began calling me Adam. They were trying to wake me from this reality, from the pain and suffering that I had endured throughout my life. Thus opening the door into my depressive side. They began talking about all the things I went through and how it was for a reason. That, along with Eve, I was put into a dimension created by god. It was created because we ate from the forbidden garden. For thousands of years I would live a life of suffering then die, just to have my memory wiped and a new life of suffering to begin.

Somehow the video game assassins creed got thrown into the mix. There was a group of people working with computers and simulators trying to get me out of that dimension and into reality. They found that by talking to me telepathically it would reach my current Conscious mind.

So apparently we were reaching the end of our punishment and the only thing left to do is for myself “Adam” and Eve to find each other and get married. I wasn’t seeing anyone at the time and it would be a long time after the episode that I would find someone, years actually. I sat in the apartment, my mind unwilling to leave.

I’ve always had this feeling, a feeling like a warning, that maybe my delusions weren’t true and I shouldn’t act on them. I’ll admit that I didn’t always listen to it. Sometimes they were just too real from me to question them.

I remember the agony of not wanted to leave the apartment, but the drive of the delusion telling me I had to find her. I don’t remember much after that. I might have blacked out. All I know is it was a very intense, time warping experience.

The Mental Connection Delusion

My mental connect delusion is different every time. Although it revolves around a central idea, I’m mentally connected to something. There’s a wide range of things that I have thought I was mentally connected to at one time or another. Never seems to be any rhyme or reason to it but at the time it totally makes sense.

I’ve posted about my tv delusion and I guess that falls under this category. In some way or another, I’ve even had intersecting delusions between the tv delusion and different forms the mental connection one. I’ve thought that I was mentally connected to the world through the tv. I’ve also heard trees communicating about the tv. I’ve even mentally traveled through the tv to different places. One thing remains constant, I am connected mentally.

I’ve often thought I felt trees communicating through electrical pulses. Pulses I could pick up on by delusional sixth sense. It was like talking to an old man. They would talk about the weather. Brag about all the things they’ve felt and complain about the birds crapping on them. On the more pleasant side of my delusions for sure.

The worst is when a delusion intrigues me. It can be hard to let go of sometimes and back when my life was really depressing, I often preferred my delusions over reality. It can be a hard thing to comprehend but when you are completely socially isolated, it’s hard not to want to escape. I guess we all search for a connection in some way or another.

I stay away from religion now a days because it’s one of the most influential ideals of my delusions. I’d rather not talk about some of these delusions as it borderlines blasphemy. I shouldn’t hold it in though, so here we go. One of my reoccurring connection delusions is that I was somehow connected to Jesus. My mind altered the way the story goes in that Jesus had a son in secret, and I am somehow a descendent of him. I’ve also thought that I was actually Adam from the Adam and Eve story. God was punishing us for eating the forbidden fruit and that he was holding a grudge. That this world was designed just to torment us and there wasn’t anything we could do about it. I want to talk about this delusion more in depth in a later post. For now that’s all. Have a good one everyone

The TV delusion

I started experiencing things when I was around 15. One of my reoccurring delusions during my teenage years and on was that the tv was always talking about me. I’d be doing something and I’d have the tv going in the background. I hear a word or a phrase that would be in my mind about me. My mind liked to tell me that the tv knew things about me and that everyone on it was talking about it. People on the tv were indirectly talking to me or about me while they were doing what they do.

Eventually I stopped being such a tv person. Every time I had an episode the tv would drive me up a wall. The only way I could get peace would be to get away from it. As far as a consistent delusion, I’d say this one has happened the most.

A lot of times the tv would expand and contract. Many things would do this but the tv did it the most. It’s almost a hypnotic effect because of how smooth it transitions.

Also part of this delusion was when I would watch something and if I wasn’t careful, I would get sucked into that time period. So say the movie was shot in 2005, my brainwaves would be sucked into then. If somehow the channel was changed, or if I freaked out and turned it off, a part of myself would be lost in that time period. A part of me that I would never get back.

Thats my tv delusion.

Taboo

There’s a lot of taboo subjects in the world. Things we don’t want to talk about, and think that sweeping it under the rug will make a difference. Or things we’re afraid of that can’t be spoken about. Mental illness should not be apart of these taboo subjects. It is a disease that can only be maintained and not cured. That millions of people are suffering in silence about. The problem being people who don’t want to hear about it. The ones where it doesn’t fit into their perfect bubble of life (speaking from experience with my father and his family) The solution is very simple, talk about it, words won’t kill you. Simple things like hey how’s it going, is your illness getting better. I know right, so scary these words. Can stop your heart in a beat.

Spreading awareness for mental illness properly can help so many people not feel alone. It may not be in the back of your mind but it’s reserved a corner in ours. It’s thought about daily. Can you imagine thinking about something multiple times a day, something that Seeps into every part of your life and having little to no one asking you if you’re alright. I never had a talk with my parents about how this illness would change my life, how I would need to come to grips with it. It wasn’t until I met my wife that I started coming to terms with it.

I understand, now, the fact that there is certain people I shouldn’t talk about my illness with. Toxic people, people who telling would only end in heartache. Yet I had to start this blog to be totally transparent. To have a place to vent my thoughts fully about schizophrenia.

Sure stigma doesn’t help. Imagine if people spent as much time learning about schizophrenia as they did spewing scary ideals about it. The world would be a different place.

You hear all these terrible things going on these days and they’re first finger points to mental illness. Given the fact that mental illness gets totally blown out of proportion, you would think that there would be more help for people struggling with mental illness. We have so much figured out about our physical health, it gets blasted on the tv all day long. Though up until this year I’ve never seen a mental health commercial. This has to change and no one wants to hear it from us. I’ve seen a lot of people on Twitter labeling themselves as a mental health advocates and that’s a start. Classes need to be taught, advice needs to be given. Honestly there should be a section in health class about it, or even, dare I say it, a whole class on it. It needs to be addressed and people who just believe what Hollywood or the news tells them about it need to be educated.

This is a disease, not a life style choice. We didn’t ask for it and we wouldn’t wish it on our worst enemy. Reach out to those who need it. Don’t always expect some to be open about it. You don’t know their past experiences with telling people. The conversation needs to start with someone without an illness because we just feel like the black sheep of the world.

Handle it

Being someone with schizophrenia is like playing a life long game of Russian roulette. You never know for sure which stressful situation could lead to an episode. You try to be brave but in the back of your mind, you know that losing your mind again is one of your greatest fears. So what do you do, you push on. Handle every situation like there’s no worry of getting sick. This illness may hold you back in some regard but don’t let it stop you from living your life. You could sit there and worry all you want but it’s not going anywhere. So the best thing you could do is worry about what’s in front of you. Tackle each task as if nothing is holding you back. Be wise and don’t set yourself up for failure because you do still have limits. As long as you take care of yourself, you’ll be surprised at how much you can handle.

The Term “Schizophrenic”

I just wanted to open up about something that’s been bothering me for an hour or so. The fact that people are using “schizophrenia” or “schizophrenic” as a way to describe a way of doing things or a way a program is set up, just to name a few. I just want to say that, these people that use this term in such a way are truly illiterate. Yes I understand that one of the symptoms of this illness are “disorganized” or “not in touch with reality” but these are terms that describe a serious mental illness. I can confidently say that the people that use the term in such a way do not have any connection to personally or even through a friend, to someone that has schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is not bias, it does not affect a certain group of people and it is rarely cause by a persons own actions. So I just want to point out that it could affect someone close to you or someone close to a friend of yours. It could even happen to you. Yes for all you people in your twenties thinking you’re on top of the world, you are at risk until you are about 30. In some cases you could develop schizophrenia later in life than 30. These cases are usually really bad.

I want to touch on the severity of it, how it can destroy lives, families and futures to name a few. Being so carefree with throwing that term around is one of the reasons people uneducated in mental illness are so afraid of us. When you use it in reference to something other than someone with this illness, you are continuing the cycle of stigma that we are trying so hard to repair. The stigma that ruins job opportunities or our love life or friendships. The stigma that tears families apart. If you are uneducated in mental illness, I invite you to do some research in regards to how terrible things can get for not only someone who has this illness but people that love them.

You may think you’re funny. You may think your clever. You may even think it’s a great use of the word but you’re not. With all the adjectives in every language and yet you decided to use one that describes a horrific disease. Clearly you should not be a writer as you do not possess the literary skills to come up with something better. I invite you to sit in on a elementary school class where they teach adjectives and the ways they are used.

Yes I know, I’m bias towards the situation, having this illness and all. So I offer you the chance to educate yourself on morals and the ability to feel empathy. Go and talk to someone who has educated themselves on schizophrenia, they don’t have to be directly effected by it. Ask them how they would feel about using the term “schizophrenic” as an adjective in a way not fitting how the word’s definition describes.

One month of Sarcosine

Wiki link for sarcosine

Link to brainvitaminz.com

I’ve been trying this new brain vitamin supplement called Sarcosine. It’s geared towards people with schizophrenia. It’s been about a month and I’ve noticed some small changes. Three big changes to be exact. Ive had this amazing mental clarity. I’ve been getting better sleep. I also have been getting better at getting things done, higher drive.

So I originally heard about it from someone on my Twitter. She asked me if I’ve tried and honestly I haven’t ever heard of it. I spent a while doing research as did my wife. We’ve had some bad experiences with some of the brain vitamins out there and I’ve never tried one specific to schizophrenia. We agreed that I should should try it and as of May 23rd, 2018 I started taking it. I started of at 1 gram a day. It says to split the dose, so I took half in the morning and half in the afternoon. I’m almost a month in and I’m taking 3 grams. It states that it may have some immediate effects but it would take about 6 months to reach a full effect. I plan on continuing it long past then as I am very impressed.

One of the major things I’ve noticed is that I have this mental clarity unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Thinking has become easier and I’m able to hold a conversation with great ease. I feel my judgment isn’t as clouded and I have more confidence in myself than I’ve ever had before.

The second major thing I’ve noticed is how the quality of my sleep has greatly improved. It’s not only easier to fall asleep but I wake up and feel rested. I have a Fitbit that can track my sleep and comparing it to when I wasn’t taking sarcosine, I’m confident that it’s had a positive impact. One little thing that I never saw coming is that I remember my dreams now. Before I could go almost a year with remembering my dreams. It’s not that they’re more vivid because I’ve been on medications that give you vivid dreams. I have to say for someone who’s had trouble sleeping my whole life, this is very refreshing.

The third but not final thing I’ve noticed is my drive to get things done is greatly intensified. Leaving aside days where priorities kept me from sleeping, on a good nights rest I awake ready to take on the day. I was using melatonin for a while which I believe diminished my ability I wake up refreshed but these past few nights without I have woke up feeling great. As someone with schizophrenia would know sometimes choosing to get things done is a struggle. A feeling of lack of will just to get out of bed but with every activity can lead to a difficult life. Not with sarcosine though. With this I’m able to jump right into to projects without a second thought or something holding me back. Which for me is something of great importance as I want to live a active life.

Dealing with schizophrenia can be difficult and everything we do to make it easier can be a great impact. Improving things can be great for our morale and most importantly, our quality of life. I highly recommend sarcosine and I look forward to reaping the benefits for as long as I can.

The eyes behind my schizophrenia

It’s a big world, and I am just a tiny dot in all that exists. My problems seem so small in comparison. It makes me wonder, all this sprang into existence and a long time of evolution has led to where I am at right now. Makes me feel like there has to be a purpose. That there is more than the spinning chaos that we’re all in. Floating through space, passing through time. All this could be as simple as dumb luck but really, one thing essential to life is the will to live. Why are we being driven to live if all we are is a speck in time. Look at reproduction, we evolved to prolong the species. For what though, to be taken out by the sun four billion years from now or sooner? That can’t be all it’s about, what connection do we have with the universe?

So what’s behind my illness, a human born just to reproduce and then die. Maybe make a significant contribution to life here to pass the time. In our minds we construct how we perceive the world. Assuming we’re seeing things correctly, it doesn’t seem like there is much to change. Yeah, we build skyscrapers and make ourselves fly but what is that in comparison to the universe around us? We all know how to be human, but what does it mean to be human. Could it all be about a spiritual connection, or is it as bleak as science would have it seem. Being able to see that there should be a purpose but no one can really answer the question, leads me to think that we haven’t truly discovered what we’re here for. Not yet at least.

Why is there this strong need to survive, is there a destiny that has been undiscovered for so long. Will we see it in our life time? Or are we doomed to walk this earth, or any other planet, until humans are no more. As I’m writing this I find it hard to wrap my mind around the idea that it’s all for nothing. There has to be more to this illness than just being born with it. Everything I know has purpose, why should this be any different. Was it meant to open my eyes to the beauty of the world we live in, no matter how bad it gets.

I believe that some of what I interpret is affected by my illness, whether it’s good or bad I do not know. One thing I do know is that we all have purpose here. Whether we have discovered what that purpose is or not is irrelevant. We need to have hope and we should have hope. Whether you are religious or a firm believer in the way science tells it, one thing you can’t deny is that there is a reason we are all here.

So here I am, a speck in space worried about all that I am when all I can do is worry about what’s in front of me. My illness, my problems my life, all affected by the way I perceive things. So what do you see when you see me, another person walking down the road, a human being making his way through the twists and turns of the world. Or maybe you see a crazy person, and are afraid of what you don’t understand. If you’re are afraid of what you don’t understand then you must be a very scared person, being such a small thing in a vast universe. I’d like to let you know that I am a person, a person just like yourself. With the same set of emotions and common DNA and problems with life. I may even enjoy some of the things you do.

Seeing the life through my eyes can be hard to comprehend in some aspects. I may be hard to follow at points and I may not perceive things like someone without an illness. Diversity is the spice of life though and if everybody seen things the same way, there would be nothing new to discover. There’s always stigmas about everything and someone always has a opinion, but if you can open your eyes and see things in a different way, then you may find something that you love and have never experienced before. Stigma is a powerful thing and people don’t always think for themselves. So before you are quick to judge, remember that we’re all here for a reason. We’re not just floating through space and time for the hell of it.

So the person behind this illness. A person born to carry out a purpose. Though I may not know what my purpose is, it is there and it will remain. Just like anyone else, regardless of stigma, false judgements or your personal opinions about me. I will press on just as the people before me have, and I will never give up. Neither should you.

A mile in my shoes

Life has many twists and turns. A lot of dead ends and open roads. A life with schizophrenia may close a lot of doors, but it is not the end of the road.

I’m not trying to sell you on it, I wouldn’t wish this illness on my worst enemy. There is something to gain from it though. An understanding that our reality is not perfect, but it is the only one there is and we should make the best of it.

When I first lost my grip on reality, it wasn’t at a snap of your fingers. It was a long drawn out disintegration of the true reality and the one my mind fabricated. I remember wishing for it to be quicker. To go faster so I could get to the end of it but life doesn’t always go the way you planned for it. When it first started, I was aware that something was wrong, I just didn’t know what it was. I didn’t notice that I was isolating myself from the people around me. I also didn’t notice my school grades declining or my football career fading away. I didn’t notice that I wasn’t eating or that my sleep schedule had deteriorated. Although I’m sure many people were telling me all these things were happening, this feeling that something was wrong consumed my thoughts. I became the very definition of an introvert as I focused my thoughts inward. Trying desperately to figure out, if something was wrong with my brain. I’m sad to say my gut instincts were correct. While during my episode I never figured out what was wrong. My mind wandered aimlessly around chasing my tail and coming up with nothing logical. It wasn’t until after I was hospitalized and medication was given to me that I was told what the problem was.

I often find my mind wandering, fixated on something then moving on without coming to a conclusion. I often become deep in thought without a general direction.

Sometimes I wonder if my mind can think it’s way out of this illness. I sit and I fixate, usually right before I fall asleep, and I think of impossible ways why my mind is the way it is. Mind the fact that I failed biology three years in a row and I am not an science expert. My mind searches for more of a spiritual sense of things. Mind the fact that I am also not religious. I do however think that there are lessons to be taught and learned from, from different religions. I guess that could be a way humans try to find out why, without scientific facts to back it up. It’s amazing what your imagination can come up with when you do not have any scientific reasoning backing it up.

I’ve always done things that some might say doesn’t make sense. A lot of it I attribute to my illness, but some of it I would say had a lot to do with my open mindedness. I’m open to a lot of things, not everything though. I actually enjoy taking a random thought and running with it. Until my mind has exhausted all I can come up with. Sounds strange but I actually find it intriguing.

I find it best that I always stay adaptable. Saying things like “that’s just who I am”, I believe is a cliché. I believe I’m capable of change and that I should always try to be better than I was before. I believe people that are “stuck in their ways” just haven’t found a reason good enough for them to change, whether that hurts anyone’s feelings or not. Also being able to adapt to different things is one of the reasons why the human race has survived this long. So don’t tell people you can’t change. Human history has proved otherwise.

I’m not really a routined type of person. I don’t have a set time where I go to bed, and I don’t have a time to get up. My life can be hectic and change is inevitable. I don’t have a 9 to 5 job five days a week. My schedule usually always changes. I enjoy some unpredictably in my life, keeps me on my toes.

So why write this, why start this blog in the first place. Through everything I’ve gone through in my life, this blog is about, yet untouched by my life. It is the place I go to where my mind can be free of bias, free of strings, and free to think whatever I want and say whatever about it. I think we all need a place like that.

Some about me

I’d like to take a moment to tell you about myself and how schizophrenia has affected things I like to do. This illness can have a great impact on your life and who you are as a person. Whether it be pass time activities or what you want to do for a living. Let’s start with when I was younger.

When I was younger I enjoyed helping my father work on things. My father was always a handy guy to have around. Whether it be working on your car, doing some plumbing, some electrical, if something needed to be towed, or just helping you paint a room. I’ve always thought that was awesome and I’ve tried living my life by a motto “it’s useful being useful”.

Growing up I was exposed to working on many different things. When I was younger I always thought that I would grow up and either be a Jack of all trades or a driver of some sort. Even before I had my license or was even old enough to touch the pedals, my father and grandfather were teaching me how to drive. By the time I was in my early rebellion early, I was driving by myself without a license. I’ve done some stupid things behind the wheel, but I always seemed to get myself out of them without a scratch. Growing up we always had things like go-carts or mini bikes. By the time I could drive on my own, it was second nature.

Growing up working on all different things became useful later in life. We’ll get to that though. Learning how to work on things made me feel self reliant, even at a young age when I obviously still needed guidance. I wish I knew that back then. In the movies when you see that guy, who even though the world had ended he rigged his house with hot water air conditioning and power. That’s the type of guy I always wanted to be. Well, without the whole end of the world bit. Growing up I wanted to learn everything I could about keeping everything in working order. That was until I hit my pre teenage years and my illness reared it’s ugly head.

School wasn’t really an option once this illness took over. In the beginning it took all I had just to get out of bed and not sleep eighteen hours a day. Focusing on school was rarely an option. That is, if I could get up and actually go. Most teens skip school to go have fun with their friends. I skipped school and faked being sick so that I could just go home and crawl into bed. To escape from the world. My bed was my only safe haven.

As you probably know, there isn’t an equivalent to going to school and learning things. My education stopped and I no longer had to willpower to learn how to become self sufficient. It was heartbreaking to figure out that fact, but I had all I could think about just trying to accept my illness.

I finally found the right medication and lived happily ever after……

Well, not so much. There were many ups and downs still ahead for me.

Fragmented thoughts

A question I often ask about things. In quiet moments when my mind is all over the place. In order to focus my mind, I look for meaning. Like why do I push myself so hard. Is it the constant feeling that I’m not pushing myself hard enough? Is it the fact that there isn’t a cure for schizophrenia yet. As of right now there isn’t a way for me to win the battle against my illness. I feel like I’m chasing my tail. I try things to eliminate all trace of it. I’ve tried different vitamins, some have had a bad effect. I’m still trying vitamins. Right now a take B vitamins and a brain health vitamin called Sarcosine. I’ve even tried to think my way out of this burden. I figure, my minds sick so my mind can push my way through it. I know, illogical.

I see my schizophrenia as a shadow that always follows me. Or waits around a corner. Or a Jekyll and Hyde type of thing. My illness hides in the dark places. With enough light to stay in the back of my mind. I look for meaning in songs that express how I view my illness. Or how I’ve overcome it just to have it come back again. I have demons inside and I can’t shut them out, so I figure I’ll give them a voice. My illness has its own persona. I’ve been trying to understand it. How it makes my mind work. Or how it affects me in daily life. I’ve been using meaning to help me with that. It’s hard to explain. If I can find how much of myself is my illness and how much is personality. I’ve always looked at myself as a whole, illness and all. Since the last episode I’ve been curious. Is this illness a gift or a curse?

I’ve been dealt my cards and whatever happens, happens. I may fixate on this for a while but I’ll get over it. This post wasn’t meant to go anywhere. Just trying to organize my fragmented thoughts.

Is there going to be a day, where I won’t need medication to be a functioning member of society. A day where I can think of myself as whole instead of broken.

I’ve been taking Sarcosine for four days now, and I’ve noticed a difference. Not one I can explain and probably not one others will notice. It’s a mentally stability or balance. It’s been getting easier to have conversations. My thoughts are less fragmented and more fluent. I had high hopes for this supplement and while I am not at the full dose yet, I feel my hopes will come true. It being the fourth day though, it’s to soon to tell.

Fragmented thoughts is something I’ve always suffered from. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that. It’s always been hard to keep a train of thought. Though I manage to get through it for the most part. I attribute difficulty thinking to my illness. A form of a negative symptom. I know this Sarcosine has been shown to help with the negative symptoms. So I’m hoping that now that I’m taking it, my thought process will come out better than ever. Wish me luck!

Schizophrenia to me

To schizophrenia is something that can devastate you, and the people around you. The ones who care about you most will feel the sting of schizophrenia. You will have to endure their pain, as well as your own. It takes a strong individual to deal with the let downs and discouragements that schizophrenia has to offer, both to the victim and the people around them. This isn’t no common cold or flu. This is an illness that is life long. Something that awaits around the corner for the next stressor to make it active.

Dealing with the fact that you never know what’s going to set it off, can be daunting for both you and the ones you love. The ones who love you care, they may even try to protect you from taking to much on. For fear of this illness dismantling your life, time and time again. It takes a very strong individual to stand by your side throughout life with this illness. Those who care enough to stick by you need your respect. The term ” I feel your pain” comes to mind when I think of my loved ones. As this illness not only destroys myself, but destroys them to watch, helpless as my mind falls to ruin. I also feel their pain. The fact that I do all I can to stay sane yet I still end up sick, kills me when they have to watch me slip into destruction. I think “If only there was some way to be rid of this illness so that I don’t have to put them through this”. As it is, there isn’t a cure. The ones with this illness must continue to endure it.

There are positives to this illness, believe or not. Enduring it not only builds inner strength but really shows you what you’re made of. Whether you are the one with this disease or a loved one effected by it. The reality is, I now appreciate everything so much more. From my mind being sane to the commodities I am so fortunate to have. I’m thankful for the people who have stayed in my life. As not all have been strong enough to withstand it.

I’ve had people come and go from my life. I’ve had friends that could no longer withstand to people who found out the second they met and immediately run for the hills. I’ve had women tell me they love me yet when they found out, they’ve left me. I have a mother, with an illness herself, unable to be in my life because she can’t handle it. There are things to rejoice in though. My circle may be small, but those closest to me have my absolute faith. As they have shown me that they will not back down from my illness and the trials and tribulations that my illness brings. I have a wife that I will love eternally for the faith she has in me. A father who will always be there for me and a grandfather who will love me regardless of what’s wrong with me. The strength I derive from their support will forever keep me pushing forward.

The commodities I was talking about earlier, those have been lost at one point or another. While at my last job where I lived on site. I started building a life with my wife. Recently married we starting building our life together. We lived on site at my job and had five lovely cats that were like family. While becoming sick with my worst episode my job fired me. They gave us 24 hours to get our things and move out. Almost all was lost but my episode raged on. We took what we could and my wife and our five cats set off down the road. For some reason I decided to go and stay with my mother up in Maine. A big mistake that I’ll talk about another time. There we were, with me driving eight hours to Maine while still sick. It’s a wonder that I made it there in one piece. Our home was lost and belongings left behind. Later my father and a few other went and picked them up for us. A few things changed in me during that time. I knew then what I could handle and vowed to never push myself that far again, as that job was to much for anyone. I also gained this profound appreciation for having a roof over my head. A feeling that I took for granted in the past.

There is always light in the darkness. You just have to open your eyes and look for it. Things may not always be easy but in the hard times you gain something. Something that you should forever hold dear. When you finally see what you’re made off, you will be that much stronger. Don’t ever take that for granted because that is something only you can take away from yourself. Trust me on that

The gift of your mind far outweighs the side effects of meds

I’ve known some people, with various mental illnesses. Some of them take their meds, some don’t. If there is one thing that I’ve seen in my experience, it’s that the ones who take their meds and keep up with their doctor appointments are the ones who are better off. They function in life better, succeed in life more and are generally more stable in their daily life.

I know that these medications have side effects, some more severe than others. I know that it may put people off to taking them. I know this all to well.

One of the side effects of my medication is weight gain. Something about the way it metabolize in my body, makes it extremely hard to impossible to lose the weight. One time a few years ago I had gone to the hospital. While I was in there I begged the doctors to put me on a medication that wouldn’t make me gain weight like the original one had. They caved in and put me on something, something that I would regret ever taking. If you look back in my blog posts, you’ll see one labeled “My Worst Episode”. That was the result of this new medication. It failed and I went into a severe episode that lasted about six or seven months.

The problem was that I was so worried about how I looked that I disregarded the fact that the medication I was already on had been tried and truly worked for me. Coming off of It was one of the worst mistakes of my life. I am now back on that same medication that worked for me, I exercise almost daily but still retain the weight. The thing is, now I am completely comfortable with that fact because I know that my mind is safe from a break down.

So stay strong, take your meds. I know the side effects may be tough but the gift of a sane mind far out weighs the consequences of not having meds that work. In time, they will come up with something new with hopes that it won’t have too many side effects. Who knows, maybe they will even find the cure. Best of luck everyone.

Overcoming schizophrenia and handling life

Difficulties arise in everyday life. Overcoming them is your only option. The same can be said about schizophrenia. For me, there isn’t any other option than to get through my worst times and hope for better days. It’s not a question of will I get through hard times but how. Having a plan or even a set of guidelines for a little wiggle room can help you face your most difficult obstacles. You should just wing it because sometimes you’ll just end up chasing your own tail. As I have learned on countless occasions. It doesn’t always have to be a strict plan though but you should always have your goal in mind.

The first time I had an episode, I was completely lost. Not only was I lost in my own mind, but lost in life as well. Sure I found medication prescribed by a doctor but I was also lost in life. There were programs to help me in life but I never sought them out. Instead I went about it the hard way and it became one of my regrets. I needed help with daily life but refused to ask for it. I find it foolish now that I think about it because it would have really helped me. Back to me being lost, I had no direction. People around would have helped but I’m not sure if they knew how, or if I would even ask. I spent my days sleeping and my nights wondering what my life would be like now. I worried how people would react to me given how Hollywood had portrayed people like me to be. Which the way I was being portrayed was not very flattering. I also had no idea how life would work out in terms of how I would provide for myself when I got older. I often had a terrorizing idea that I would become homeless. The thought still scares me to this day. I’ve often had nightmares of being homeless, in a cardboard box in the woods close to a road. My mind lost and dying from hunger. Next to having an episode, this became one of my worst fears. Even writing this down, I feel the anxiety kick in and my palms are becoming clammy. So let’s move on.

I finally decided to set upon a path that was laid out in front of me. Your typical teen age path, license, diploma and job. Though I only got my G.E.D I still managed to get my license and I started job hunting. I went through a few different jobs as depression was getting the best of me. Finally my father gave me the idea to attend a school in the southern part of the state. Feeling satisfied that it would turn my life around, I decided to go. The school I went to taught me a trade, I had already received my GED and got my license. They offer classes for that there and not needing them I could be in trade all day. I also lived there, for the entire year that it took. The structure of that place was rigid and very beneficial for me. Wake at the same time, make my bed, eat at the same times, and make sure I behave myself. I ended up join the student government there and received many awards for student of the month. Needless to say I was doing much better than before my meds. I also wasn’t the Helion I had used to be. That school taught me a lot. They also got me a job.

The point I’m trying to make here is, if you are lost right now, ask for help. Search for something that will give your life structure and meaning. One of the things that I have learned is that if I am lost, I find something that will give me direction. You may not always find the right path yourself.

Hope

Hope comes in many forms. The light at the end of the tunnel, the sun rising to begin a new day, or in a simple cup of coffee. In hard times we search for hope. The problem is, it may not be right there in our faces. That’s when you need to dig deeper. You start searching in places you may not have thought to look before. It’s important to keep your morale up. Seek healthy ways to make yourself happy, even with little things. Sometimes all it takes is a couple hot coffees to perk you up. A warm home cooked meal would do you wonders. Sometimes you may have trouble finding things to keep you going.

When you have trouble finding something to keep you going, it’s time to look smaller. They say it’s the little things that mean the most, I believe this apples to more than just relationships. Keeping yourself happy during the day rough times can be difficult, may even seem impossible but there are ways to do it. Change the sheets on your bed. I know I always liked the feeling of fresh sheets. Get yourself a hair cut or take a hot shower. Never underestimate how some of the most tiniest things can help you immensely.

Most of all, never give up on finding hope and remember that hope comes in all forms. Hope is a powerful asset that cannot be measured. Dark times call out for everything you’ve got.

Being like life. Relentless, beautiful and diverse

Life can push you around sometimes. It doesn’t let up no matter what. It will literally bend you until you break and keep pushing. No matter how much you complain. No matter who you ask for help. At the end of the day you will left reeling from everything. Some look at life as carpe diem. Others wait for it to end. Just waiting for the day to end so they can relax, only to have racing thoughts before they eventually fall asleep.

The way I am looking at things now a days is, be like life. Relentlessly pushing through your day just pushing and pushing. Do I sound like one of those people who tells you to just power through it, like there’s no other option. Maybe a little but what I want you to do is a little different. I want you to look how life just keeps moving, regardless of what gets in its way. Like a tsunami rushing the shore. Picture yourself pushing that hard. Picture for a moment the way life works, how it just keeps going along. It’s the perfect model for how you should approach things, emotionally and physically. Keep this in the back of your mind when your tired, when you think you can’t give anymore, why you’re depressed and think you’d like nothing more than for it to stop. Get the mentality that you’re not going to stop for anything. Allow your mind to clear so that you can focus on the task at. Get your adrenaline pumping. Hype yourself up. Do what you can as relentlessly as you can just as my view of life would. When you’re down and depressed or tired and ready to give up, remember that it is possible to keep pushing forward, no matter what stage of your life you are in. Remember life is not only relentless but it is also beautiful.

Now I’m not saying that you should get into some target fixation trance day in and day out. You are still human and you need to make yourself happy. You also may have others to worry about. Have your goals but don’t give up everything that makes you happy. What is life without someone to share it with. Life is also diverse, keep that in mind. Getting yourself hyped up all day everyday isn’t always good. You’ll burn yourself out because it is not the key to the long run. If you are so focused on your goals that you never stop to make yourself happy then what is the point? They say you could have everything and still won’t be happy. Find that fine line between reaching your goals while still being happy.

Being closed minded is counterproductive to being happy and may even affect you on your way to your goals. It’s always nice to have a specialty but there’s always more than that one thing. Dabble in different things. Expand your horizons and you may find things you never thought would make you happy. By exploring everything, you open doors that you would have never seen before. Life is diverse and simply sticking to the same things will leave you bored and/or feeling like you’re stuck in a rut. I never thought I would enjoy writing but my wonderful wife thought it might be good. Now I’m writing all the time and it really beings happiness to my life. Sometimes having interests in many things can get you through situations where you’re starting at the picture in front of you and not finding the answer.

Moral of the story is, and I know it may sound cheesy but, being like life couldn’t be a bad thing. It’s the perfect model of how you should be, how you should think or how to solve a problem. Stop and look at how life is, and think how could I be more like it.

Burdens

Life can be difficult when you have the overwhelming feeling that you are a burden on people. Feeling accepted can do wonders for someone’s self esteem. When we look for acceptance in people who think of us as a burden, we’re setting ourselves up to be hurt. Sometimes there’s a lack of a better option. You should never feel that you can not open up to someone. Having someone there who can just listen is something worth seeking out. Never be afraid to change who you surround yourself with. Sometimes relationships can be toxic and when they are, it can leave you feeling worthless. We all need someone, it’s the human condition. A primal erg to not be alone. Indulge that erg, but be careful who you want to let in. Some people are not meant to be in your life.

The burdens you bare have a significant affect on everything. You should learn how to separate your burdens and the emotional role the play in your life, from the experiences you go through day to day. A big problem I have is, I struggle when it comes to not letting my burdens stop me from enjoying something. It’s important to recognize when that is happening. Sometimes just the recognition of it is enough to let you stop and think about how to clear your mind, how to move past the burden and get back to what’s going on around. Once you recognize the issue, try to ground yourself. Mentally put yourself into your surroundings. Smell the air around you, feel the breeze, putting yourself in the moment can help you get back to the situation you’re in. It may even help you appreciate what’s in front of you at the moment.

Writing things out can help you in more ways than one. If you find yourself at night, overthinking, having a hard time getting to sleep and letting your mind get the best of you. (Like me right now). Try to focus your thoughts into words. You can write about anything you want to. I chose to write partly about what’s going on in my head, along with other things like solutions or different scenarios. It what goes on in my head anyway but the helps me get out of my head. Focusing your racing thoughts through writing could also help you find solutions to your burdens. Instead of sitting there, mind racing and not really thinking of solutions. Try writing it out. The construction of writing something may help to give you order. Order should help you think clearer and help you find solutions. Instead of worrying about everything because sometimes just closing your eyes and not moving won’t put you to sleep.

Learning tools to handle your burdens gives you an advantage in life. You will enjoy things more and be able to be in the moment without distractions. Having burdens is part of being human but there are ways to handle them. Find what works best for in you in a healthy manor. Start tackling your day with a clear focused mind.

Dealing with problems, Head on

If you had a son or daughter with schizophrenia, how would you handle it? No doubt it would be difficult but it normally would show up until the teenage years. By then you’ve already established your relationship with them, mostly. Would you turn around and give up? No doubt the struggle is real for family members of someone with schizophrenia.

I feel bad sometimes for my mother and father, even though it is not my fault. I did not chose to have this illness. I think I speak for some when I say that there might be some underlying guilt for what they have to handle with me.

My mother, who I believe has something that isn’t being treated properly, could not handle me and my illness. She’s barely been in my life for sometime and for a little while, hasn’t been in my life at all. No doubt that her struggling with what she has going on and then having me was just to much for her. My mother is in denial about her illness, which I believe is the root of all our problems. For someone who once told me I need to accept my illness, she sure will not accept hers. Yes it may be a difficult thing to accept but when you bring a child into this world you need to handle your problems like an adult. There is no room for denial when you have a family.

Then there is my father, who is pretty mentally stable, no illness to speak of. My father try’s to be there for me. I’m sure I’m a difficult thing to handle but he try’s. Though he doesn’t quite know what to do. If you have a child with a mental illness my advice to you is, research as much as you can about it. Learn ways to help and make sure you do not become a trigger for that someone. Being unprepared for a situation can ultimately be bad in any case.

Being unprepared when your child has a mentally illness can cause some serious strain on your relationship. I remember a lot of times I would go to my father with questions or problems or anything to do with my mental illness and he wouldn’t know what to do or say. Not to put down my father but a lot of the time the advice he would give me would be essentially useless. Here’s where doing research would come into play. Obviously no one is perfect but having some information would have been very helpful. Knowing what you’re up against can help in so many ways.

The difficulty with my father not knowing much about my illness definitely put a lot of strain on our relationship. He didn’t know much more than to tell me either go to the hospital or tell your doctor. A big problem was that he thought the medication should be a perfect fix. As we all know there isn’t a medication out there, for anything, that is a perfect fix. Sometimes you just have to deal with the problems and issues. Sometimes you just need to wait them out. I’ve noticed through experiences that waiting it out can be helpful. A lot of minor symptoms will lessen or go away with time. Sometimes you won’t need a medication adjustment, you may just need to talk to your therapist. Having anxiety is stressful and stress is a trigger for a lot of us. Talking to my father was even more stressful because he couldn’t tell the difference between anxiety and schizophrenia. Again this is where knowledge would come in.

The point I’m trying to make is, when you have a problem, you need to deal with it. You can’t deny that there is a problem, life doesn’t work like that. Especially when it’s something as major as a mental illness. Just because it isn’t always visible, doesn’t mean you can sweep it under the rug.

The good things in life.

I’m sure we’ve all heard it, the good things in life are hard to find. Could it be maybe we’ve lost touch with how important the little things are. Think about how easy it could be to find a good thing that’s maybe small, that happened during your day! Maybe even a couple little good things that went right during your day. If you find yourself saying nothing went right today, then maybe you’re not looking small enough.

Little things often go unnoticed because of how they fit in the grand scheme of things. Even things that are really important go unappreciated because they are just the norms. Think about the big events during your day, it doesn’t matter wether it went well or not. Now think of all the little things that led you to that point. Like, your car starting, you filled it with gas the night before so you weren’t late because of filling up. When you went grocery shopping, maybe you bought some quick breakfast meals that saved you on time. It’s little things like that you need to appreciate. Also remember that when I say something is a little thing, it could be of Kathie importance to you. Try not to get hung up on that.

The norms of everyday living, unnoticed, unappreciated or maybe just thought of as that’s how it is now a days. Things like eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Seems like just the norm right? If you ate something today, appreciate it. Commodities have become so second nature that maybe we’ve forgotten the importance of them. Believe me, if you’ve missed a meal or maybe had to chose between a meal or something else, you’re body will tell you about it.

Now back to the beginning. I believe if you find yourself saying the good things are hard to find, maybe even getting a little sad about it. Maybe you should look a little closer to yourself. Take a look away from the bigger picture for a moment, ground yourself to here and now, and just look at the little things that happen throughout your day. You may find that without those little things happening, you wouldn’t have made it to your big event. Maybe you wouldn’t have been able to stay in a good mood because you were running late and never bought that quick breakfast meal.

My big idea behind looking at the small things isn’t to just say appreciate them. It’s to step you in the right direction, so that when times are tough you have something to look for to maybe brighten your day. Good things can be hard to find if you’re not looking in the right places.

Rambling

I’ve realized that even though I have a lot to say, writing is a little more difficult than I thought it would be. So here I am rambling along as I think. There’s so much I could tell you. I’ve have many experiences, some good some bad. I believe I’ve mentioned I used to be good at sports. My main sport used to be football. I played many positions but my favorite was being a running back. Had I been bigger I would have been a fullback. I was fast, agile and I could hit really hard. I was never one to run and dance with people. If I saw you running towards me, I would prefer to run straight at you and mow you over.

Some would say I liked to live a little older than I was. Being 12 years old I was already partying. All my friends were older including my ex. I was in to a lot; weed, alcohol, cigarettes and women took up more time than school and football put together. My friends and I were huge partiers, house parties, parties in the woods and skipping class to go behind the school and smoke.

In no way am I condoning this way of life, but at the time my life was the last thing on my mind. I did crazy things like jump on a train and ride it to my house, all because I didn’t want to walk the 1 1/2 mile to my house. Or the time my mother wasn’t home for three night and made the mistake of leaving her keys to the car at home. It was definitely good on gas because I took it out for hours all three nights and it didn’t get past half a tank. Mind you I did not have a license. So there was this huge river near my house and it was partially frozen over, the water moved to fast so I’m guessing that’s why it didn’t all freeze. So me being young and dumb I decided to try to walk out on the ice. I made it to the middle of the river, dodging open pockets of rushing water. The river was about 80 yards wide so I went a little ways. Luckily and by complete luck I made it all the way back to shore to conclude the absolute dumbest thing I have ever done in my life. Do not try this. You’ll probably die.

Needless to say I’ve done a lot of dumb things in my life. I may be wiser because of it but it probably wasn’t worth almost paying for it with my life to get it. Ramble over

Working

Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of people with schizophrenia that are unable to work. I’m lucky that I can work. Yeah it’s not a hard job with long hours, but at least I can work. My jobs easy, I drive all day. Which is the easiest thing I could possibly do. Driving is therapeutic for me.

Honestly I’ve learned my limitations when it comes to working. I’ve tried difficult jobs where I had a huge load on my shoulders. Two made me show symptoms and one brought me into a full on episode but that’s not what I’m worried about right now.

Being able to work helps me. I may complain about my job sometimes but honestly who doesn’t. Working gives me a sense of purpose. It also breaks up the day to day living. It could be a lot worse and I am very thankful for that.

If you know somebody who has this illness and still works. Congratulation them because it is not an easy task. It can even be daunting for them. Just remember, don’t push them to hard. Our limitations are real, even if you can’t see them but make no mistake, we’re trying. Life is a struggle, not just for those with a mental illness. Just don’t give up, everyday is a victory.

Not All Bad

You may think that all episodes for a schizophrenic are demonic and terrible. In most of my cases they are. Everyone now and again I get one that is not all bad. Back when I was a teenager, around 17 I had an episode that only lasted a few weeks. I had just got out  of the hospital for a second time and the meds were still getting into my system. I was alone, I had socially isolated myself from everyone. I dropped out of school and didn’t have anything close to a girlfriend.

During this episode a woman started talking to me, not like a normal conversation though. This woman and I were somehow connected through our minds. I could hear her thoughts if they were directed to me.

She was on the other side of the world though, me being without a job the furthest I could go was the back yard. Apparently we had time though, because we were destined to be together. Neither of us accepted this at first. Which became a problem because the rules of the episode is you have to want to believe it.

Pretty soon our mental connection was fading. I had to resort to writing little notes and the burying them. So how that was my way of communicating with her.

Obviously I never received a note back but in my head I did. She told me she was a famous singer. Never did get a name or number.

There wasn’t much to this delusion and after a short while my medications kicked in and the episode was over. I never spoke about this to anyone and when no one was looking I dug up the notes and threw them away. It would have been pretty embarrassing if anyone were to find them.

Stigma

Stigma is hard to deal with, for anyone. You see the movies, the tv shows and read the books. How much of that do you think is accurate? I believe they’ve taken the word mental illness and generalized it way to much. Obviously anyone who goes and shoots up a school or becomes a serial killer has something wrong with them mentally. When you think of schizophrenia though, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? A lot would think that it is a mental illness, right? They put us in the category with killers and sociopaths when that isn’t accurate at all. Studies show schizophrenics are a lot more likely to hurt themselves versus hurting other people. Yes there is always a chance that our delusions cause us to lash out but do we plan and execute killing people? Do we make a hit list of people around us? Or have a preference of a person that we want to kill? The answer is no. We’re no more dangerous than a animal who feels cornered. A cat that feels cornered will scratch you. Does that mean the cat is mentally ill? No.

Understandably a cat is different than a human. Where my comparison is going is that people with schizophrenia can be paranoid. We can also be delusional in which we think a person or a group of people or things are out to get us if you will. My argument is that we’re not going to plan out a kill even if we could. Do you think that someone who is suffering from schizophrenia could plan this out. While dealing with delusions and hallucinations and voices. I know from experience that when I’m dealing with those symptoms, I can hardly plan out going to take a shower. I get distracted from the things that are going on inside my head. You would say I can be incapable of daily activities. Does that sound like someone who could plan out a killing?

Hitler, we all know him. We know what he has done. This man clearly had something wrong with him mentally but it clearly wasn’t as debilitating as schizophrenia. He had the mental clarity to carry out his genocide. Does someone who can barely plan out his shower while ill sound like a person who could plan what hitler has done?

My reason for this post is I’ve experienced people acting like I was going to snap and kill just because I have schizophrenia. My father and his family wouldn’t let me move in with them to recover because they were worried about their safety. If anything, the most hurtful thing I would have done to them, is avoid then. Socially isolate myself from them in my room.

Honestly I’ve had paranoid delusions that my family or complete strangers were out to get me. Like I said a while ago, my first delusion was that my mother was eating my brain from the other room. I did not act on this and she didn’t even know about until I told her years later. Unlike some forms of illness or brain damage, our impulse control still works. The proof is in the fact that I’ve never hurt anybody. I’ve been diagnosed with this illness over a decade and I’ve never hurt anyone or anything.

I believe that the want to kill someone is an illness of its own and should be looked into as such. It should have its own category and should not be generalized with people like me.

Whether you agree with me or not is entirely up to you. I’m just trying to explain it from my point of view. The point of view that the stigma is up against.

Day to day

There are many ways to help with schizophrenia. Day to-day activities are sometimes rough, hard to get through. It’s sort of a good thing though. Having more to deal with, or having difficulties dealing with certain things teaches you new ways to do them. It also teaches you how to cope with having a difficult time.

Things as simple as getting up in the morning can be difficult. I know what you’re thinking, not many people like getting up in the morning. Its more than that though, there are many obstacles to get around. I’ll explain, when you get up in the morning, whats the first thing you do? Get dressed, get a cup of coffee, eat breakfast, all while dealing with being tired. Maybe you have stress about your day, something that you don’t want to deal with that day. What if you went through that everyday? What if all you had to do that day is to get up and shower, but you had a hard time finding the will, or the want to actually do something as simple as that. Now picture your mind working against you. So not only are you dealing with being tired and/or stressed, you’re dealing with your mind working against you.

Now when I’m not doing well, small tasks can feel more like I have to climb a mountain. So what do you do, take your medication, don’t be sick right? I’ve tried many different medications, only one seems to work for me. One thing I’ve noticed is that, not a single medication that I’ve tried has got rid of all of my symptoms. There is more symptoms than delusional thinking, hallucinations or hearing voices. There is social isolation, mental confusion or slowness in activity. There is loss of interest or pleasure in activities, fatigue or lack of emotional response. A lot of these symptoms are not taking care of with medication. So picture dealing with what the average person deals with in the morning and add a few of those symptoms.

Imagine, you’re about to go to work, you’re having a rough morning and all you can think to yourself is what if I embarrass yourself. Now for the good part, imagine developing the skills to deal with these symptoms. Yeah it will probably be a work in progress for a while but the accomplish will feel amazing.

One of the positive things to do is to cherish the small victories. Sounds maybe a bit ridiculous but it’s actually very helpful. Be happy that you got up and took that shower, that you got up and went into work on time. Even something as small as brushing your teeth. celebrating the small victories can help your moral immensely.

One of the positive things I have been working on, is to not look at what you did wrong all the time. Instead look at the positive things you got right. Maybe you didn’t get into the shower before work, but focus on the fact that you made it to work on time. My therapist explained to me today that we’re raised to see the bad. Take school for example, if you take a test but don’t get all the questions right, what do you normally look at after the test. Most likely you would look at the questions you got wrong. Sometimes parents tend to tell us what we did wrong, rather than what we could have done right. Seems like the two would go hand in hand, right? The way I see it is, you can mention why something was wrong, but focusing on the what could have done right can really change the mood of the conversation. It could make it more into a positive life lesson rather than harping on someone. Its called constructive criticism.

Another thing I’ve learned that helps me through my day is having something to look forward to at the end of the day. A hobby if you will, something that you can immerse yourself in. To take your mind off of the stresses of life or the symptoms you are dealing with. Writing is a big thing for me, being able to write about things I’m dealing with or maybe have dealt with seems to be very helpful. Talking with someone is also helpful, easier said than done though. Sometimes talking about things is difficult. It may be helpful though, just trying to vent can get things off your mind feels good.

There are many things that are helpful, finding what is the best way for you can change your life. You could develop a positive outlook on life or maybe just get yourself through the day. appreciate the small victories so that even when things are going wrong, you may give yourself just enough confidence to get through it.

My Worst episode

Delusions, hallucinations among other symptoms make schizophrenia something unlike anything I’ve ever heard, seen or dealt with myself. I’ve had delusions that I was a soldier of god, sent to fight demons. My mind has created my own version of hell. One which I could physically see. I’ve talked to people, trying to have a normal conversation but heard an underlying conversation going on. I’ve heard noises that weren’t there and felt things touch me, when there wasn’t something there.

I’m about to tell you about my worst episode I’ve ever experienced. Putting these into words couldn’t possibly do it justice. While reading this, try to image that through my eyes it was completely real. I could see, hear, feel, and I believed every second of it.

It starts off at a campsite that I worked at. I was the janitor of the dinning hall. I had been there a little under a year and I was pretty good at my job. this being a year round campsite, summertime was the busiest. During the summer, I had a lot of responsibility. Some might think that it would have been a two person job during the summer, myself being one of them. The stress of this job pushed me over the edge. My illness flared up, and it was all down hill from there.

It started out as it always did, fading away from reality. Sort of like a slow detaching from reality. Pulling away or slipping slowly into darkness. Even though I feel these symptoms coming on, it’s very difficult for me to, connect the dots if you will, that I am getting sick. It gets hard to think, hard to feel, hard to understand what is happening.

The paranoia set in quickly. Thoughts that people were scheming behind my back. I thought my wife was planning on leaving me. I had a constant thought that my job was trying to get rid of me. One paranoid delusion I had been that the animals, were trying to taking my hearing.

I remember walking to the dinning hall, walking by these owl looking birds. Its hard from me to tell what was real about them. As when I remember a time when I’m having an episode, I remember how I perceived it, delusions and all. These owls, they had this loud shriek. So loud that it hurt my ears. It made me think that it was so loud that they were making me go deaf, and they were doing it on purpose.

I lived on the campsite, it was nice, quiet and beautiful. The problem was I believed there were two buried Indians under the cabin. One, the male, was buried under the porch. The other, his wife, was buried under my bedroom. These two Indians told me that smoking cigarettes connected me with ghosts. not just any ghosts, my grandmother. They also told me that if I ate a pine cone, that I would be closer to the spiritual side of nature. Unfortunately I did eat one and I am amazed I didn’t get sick.

After I was led to my grandmother, I quickly and unfortunately found out that she was in hell. She was trying to reach out to me, wondering why she was there. While smoking cigarettes I would hear what she had to say. I smoked way to many. while walking back from the dinning hall one night, I noticed a tree with a huge knot in it. This tree led to hell. I quickly walked passed it and went home. The tree called to me during all hours. I was told by the Indians that I had to go to it in order to get my grandmother into heaven.

After a while, this delusion changed slightly. I was no longer focused on the Indians and my grandmother, but hell was still at the forefront of the episode. I began hearing a bus, seeing a city bus. idling engine. The bus was waiting for me, waiting to take me to hell. Time was running out I’d think. The bus was going to leave soon and I would be left with nothing. An eternal abyss that was neither something or nothing.

Eventually the episode changed again. It was now centered around my grandfather, a WW2 veteran. He was the soldier in the bomber that fed ammunition but in my episode, he was a sniper. He was a sniper that had killed many and now the men he killed were haunting me. My cats were now the messengers of the dead. They told me that the bus was still waiting. That I was to now go with the men he killed. Where ever they wanted to take me. This delusion was toward the, as I was reaching the point where I couldn’t take it anymore.

The last clear memory of my episode was a mostly new delusion. My wife, with whom I was newly married to, had been pregnant. Only in my delusion was she pregnant. She miscarried this imaginary child but didn’t tell me. I found out because I seen the spirit, which is hard to explain. It was like a form of electricity than moved across the ground. Until it resided in a flower and started its new life. This being too much to bare, I blacked out. I blacked out for months with only fragments of reality that I can remember. I remember being fired from the campsite. I remember bits and pieces of moving out. Then I remember driving to Maine. The long ride was riddled with new, smaller delusions. Yes I am aware that I shouldn’t have been driving

While going down the highway, the sun was rising. I seen a lot of crows. More crows than I have ever seen. It seemed like they were following me. That they were the bringer of death. Another delusion which is harder to explain, was about what I can only think to be the heat coming off the road. This being summer, it was hot. The heat coming of road was to me, the spirits of people who were embalmed. The embalming method trapped their spirits in the ground. They were not able to move freely and they were calling to me because I was the only person who could see them. They were led to me by my grandmother. They were only able to get a couple of feet off the ground. I don’t remember much more after that.

So finally, I was put on the correct medication. It took about a month for it to reach me from deep in my episode. I’ve made a full recovery and so far have been good for almost two years.

 

Anonymous

It may be odd that I’m trying to keep myself anonymous. Honestly this is the first site I’ve ever made. So trying to learn how to do so has been difficult. The reason I’m trying to keep myself a secret is because I’ll be posting things on this site that some people that know me, wouldn’t really want people to what happened. Many have done wrong to me in my life. Honestly I’m not a saint myself, but I’ll get into that later on.

Hardship

A lot of people attribute growing up to the number of years they’ve been alive. 18 and you’re old enough to gamble and fight in a war. 21, you’re old enough to drink. For me, it’s wisdom and experience. In my eyes wisdom comes from experience and I believe it’s possible to be older but still not grown up. I’ve met a lot of people. People who are in their 30’s and still living the high school life. People in high school that are old beyond their years.

People I’ve seen that are old beyond their years, usually had a lot of experience in different things. No, I’m not talking about sex drugs and alcohol. I’m talking about real life experiences, hardship. I believe that struggle helps us grow more than anything. When I was 12 years old, I started working under the table. My mother, being a worker herself. Lacked in providing basics such as food. It was rare that I had something other than breakfast shakes, trail mix, or ramen noodles to eat. Sometimes not even that. I remember stealing food from the cafeteria at school because I never had lunch money. So, I got a job. Provided for myself, yes she paid for the roof over my head but 90% of my meals came from me working.

So what does hardship do for us. Could make us miserable, I think a lot of people would agree with that. I also think a lot of people would agree that, it makes us appreciate what we have so much more. Think about it, if you’ve ever gone to bed hungry, tried to make it through school or work hungry. Shaking so bad because of the hunger. Safe to say you really appreciated your next me. A humbling experience no doubt.

I think hardship also makes us hard workers. Being driven by hunger is a powerful thing. Almost like the instinct to survive kicks in. You put your heart into what you’re doing no matter how small because that can have an affect on your next meal.

If you’re at a place in your life right now where you don’t have to worry about your next meal. Take a second just to think, think the worst if you will. What if you weren’t sure when that next meal is going to come. Would your appreciation of what you do for a living become more, or would you think oh that will never happen. Like before I developed schizophrenia and I thought the world could be mine. My point is, take a second out of your day to just look around. Look in your fridge, look at the roof over your head. Look at the commodities you’re able to afford yourself and think, what if I lost my ability to support this way of life. Appreciate what you have, be proud of what you’ve accomplished but don’t ever forget that at any moment, it could be taken away. If you can appreciate what you have, understand the value. I’d say you’re pretty mature and grown up.

The making

So I had a thought earlier that I wanted to run with. What makes me, me? The answer is complicated. I’m adaptable, I change when given valid information. A change in one aspect of me, could mean I look at a lot of things differently. I’ve been through a lot. There’s no doubt about that, but I don’t think that my experiences are all that defines me. Though I wouldn’t doubt that it has a lot to do with it.

Who we are as people changes. Things happen, people grow. Or people revert back to what works. I have many different views on things. I enjoy many different things. There’s no doubt that I do not fit into any preset category but maybe a little of all categories.

My schizophrenia definitely plays a role in who I am and how I look at things. I would say I see the world a little bit differently. I surely appreciate the good moments more so, than before all this. Each time I have an episode, it’s rough. It’s a hellish experience and not one I’d wish on anyone. I believe I’m a better person because of it though. It helped me appreciate the good in my life. Like my wife, the one who has been there for me since the day she met me.

I believe in some ways, my schizophrenia made me intolerant of some things. Like people that waste their lives. One of the things that bothers me about this is, I struggle with some things in daily life. If I had a healthy brain, no doubt it would change who I am but I would be more capable of the daily routine and more. Looking a people that aren’t held back but choose to waste things is rough. I say that though, not knowing what it’s like not to be held back.

I definitely try to look at the bright side of things. Which I think a lot of people with my illness have trouble with, myself included. This can be a depressing thing to deal with. This causing it to claim a lot of lives. We’re more apt to hurt ourselves than anything else. I find that the key to my happiness is the fact that I don’t think about my illness to often. Like what it has done to me, or how it’s affected my life. I’m a one foot in front of the other type of guy. That being an adaptation from not wanting to look at the bigger picture. I don’t like looking at my life as a whole. More as a daily or weekly basis. Sometimes right down to the seconds.

So, who am I? I’m more than I can explain. Especially in just one post. There is more to everyone than that. One things for sure, I pride myself on growing, on adapting to things. Proud that I am who I am, illness and all.

Keep on pushing

I think I was 12 when I had my first hallucination. I say I think because one of the symptoms of schizophrenia is losing track of time. So to the best of my abilities, I was 12.

Hallucinations are sometime brutal, terrible, and can leave an impact on you for a long time. My first was about my mother. I was actually in my bed trying to sleep. She was actually in her bed reading a book. My hallucination was that she was capable and currently eating my brain from her room. Obviously this not being possible, I think a part of me knew it wasn’t true. It was that fact that it was so real that I actually felt pain, that made it hard to believe that it wasn’t true.

Sometimes I don’t know that what I’m seeing or believing (delusion) isn’t real. Sometimes it’s so powerful that that it just consumes me. Sometimes it leads to me blacking out. By that I mean part of me knows it isn’t real, so I fight it. Usually when I fight it, it doesn’t take long for me to black out. Sometimes it’s easier or less painful just to go with it.

Back to my first hallucination. I thought long a hard about what happened that night. Part of me felt like I should tell someone. Part of me felt like my life was over so what’s the point. Part of me felt like I would just be thrown in a mental ward and left behind. Shows how little faith I had in the people around me at the time. I ended up keeping it to myself, but things just kept going downhill from there.

More about me.

I first started showing signs of schizophrenia when I was 12 years old. Though it wouldn’t be until I was 16 that I was hospitalized. When I was a kid, I was really into sports. I had dreams of one day playing professional. I was probably your average student, although I was really good at math and English. By the time I was in 6th grade I was doing well. I had no idea what was coming for me in the next year. The next year, I would lose a lot.

During those four years between my first hallucination and being hospitalized, it was pretty rough to say the least. Back then I was living with my mother. My mother being a trigger in herself. She did do one good thing for me. I was declining rapidly during those years. I was also very angry and did not like my mother. She tricked me into going to the hospital. Told me I had a doctors appointment at the hospital. Next thing I knew, she left and I was waiting to be admitted into the psych ward.

The Life of Schizophrenia

A life with Schizophrenia can be a difficult one. Not only for the schizophrenic, but those around them as well. I want to give you a look into my life. How my illness has affected those around me. As well as how its affected myself. I’m going to start with some of my memories, update you when things happen. With all this media madness going around about mental illness, I thought that I could help clarify things. Maybe give you an idea how we really are, not what Hollywood portrays us. Something to actually go off of. Feel free to contact me at anytime. Thanks all.

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a tangled thought process

Kharma

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Mental health (poorly brain)

My experience with mental health in a loved one

A Journey With You

surviving schizophrenia

drugsjailandschizophrenia

My experiences with drugs, jail, and schizophrenia.

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The Life with Schizophrenia

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