Don’t Ever Let Yourself Get Complacent With Mental illnesses. Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Anxiety, Depression are lifetime illnesses

In lieu of a photo (it is too cold in Edmonton to take photos!) please follow the link after today’s blog to read a poem I published in my community newspaper!

21 years ago, I went through an incredibly difficult time in my life. I was living in a tiny 10 foot by 15 foot apartment, full to the ceiling with furniture, books, clothes and the things I tried to save throughout my life and I started to allow more time to go by between Psychiatrist visits. I got him to call in my prescriptions, which I was taking. But it had been such a long time since I was ever ill. More time than I had ever gone before in good mental health since I had been diagnosed. I started thinking, “Well, what if I’m not mentally ill anymore.” and “What if my mental health problem is strictly due to a hormonal imbalance.” I was cautious, though not cautious enough. I decided to try lowering my depekane, which was what kept my moods stable. I thought it was doping me up and that I could reduce it and still stay sane. Over the next weeks and months, I kept getting into brushes with agencies trying to get me help, including the crisis team and the police. I was out of it and my parents knew, and they had been trying to get me help (I found out later that depekane has to reach a certain level in your blood to work properly and I was way below.) The worst part about mental illness is that not matter how sick you may be, you likely won’t realize it. Schizophrenia is odd though, sometimes it taunts you and tortures you with hallucinations and voices and you end up wanting to end it all.

I was so lucky to have family and friends that cared enough to help me even when I was on the verge of being dangerous. In the end, I was in such severe psychosis that I thought someone was trying to kill me and that they had placed a bomb in my apartment building. I screamed and kicked on every door trying to tell people to get out any way they could. The end result of that was that I was evicted and I spent the next 6 months in a psych hospital. I have very little bad to say about the staff there, except for one doctor and one nurse who had huge egos, and the nurse was incredibly cruel. To this day, I suspect that my doctor didn’t give me the medication that would get me better because I called him incompetent and asked for a different doctor.

So the lesson to be learned is, treat a mental illness as the most important thing in your life. Over time, with taking medications properly and consulting often with my doctors and therapists, eating a good diet and exercising, and above all, challenging myself to keep doing more things that push back anxiety (getting in front of crowds and giving speeches) and keep my brain sharp (puzzles, reading, taking ginkgo biloba) I am able to accomplish more than I ever thought I would have been able to. I wanted to put in this post a poem I wrote that was published in my community newspaper instead of a photo. As always, it would be great to hear from my readers!

apologies dear readers, for some reason I was unable to copy and paste my poem into this field. Anyone who would like to read one of my better poems, please click on the link and check it out as it appeared in the Boyle-McCauley News

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