Why I Choose to Blog About Schizophrenia
Hello I’m honored to be writing this expert’s blog because I do firmly believe recovery from schizophrenia is possible. My contention is that it’s not the enormity or severity of an obstacle that determines one’s fate, but her response to it.
When I was first hospitalized, another female patient left an indelible impression on me. She had an ancient face and wild stare, and because she looked so old, I suspected she revolved in and out of the hospital. I feared I would end up like her, so I was determined not to let that happen.
I was lucky that the first medication I dutifully swallowed for those three weeks halted my paranoia and racing thoughts, so that my brain was calm again. Yet even though I got better, I maintain that if you’re not doing well right now, you can significantly improve if you make your recovery the #1 focus of your life.
In 1998, while in grad school, I bought a book about goal-setting that encouraged me to write down a mission statement describing my life’s purpose. Quite simply, I realized, "My goal in life is to use my writing to make things right. Through my words and actions, I seek to inspire others to change for the better."
Through my blog, featured articles here and media appearances, I aim to do just that. Imagine we’re in Starbuck’s, talking over lattes, and I have an irresistible secret to tell you. The beauty of the Internet is that anyone with access to a computer at home, from a laptop, at a library or clubhouse, anywhere can interact with others who have similar experiences and gain the skills to live a full, productive life.
What would you like to talk about? Is there something on your mind? I’d love to hear from you, and start a beneficial dialogue. My first blog entry will be "Common Sense About Psych Meds," because lately the anti-psychiatry contingent has flamed innocent people trying to better their lives, who just happen to need pills to do so.
Listen, by any external tape measure I’ve done well: I used to work in corporations, I obtained an MLS, and I live in my own apartment with an eye towards buying a co-op. This wouldn’t be possible if I weren’t on medication. In 1992, I hit rock bottom when I experienced a failed drug holiday. After that, I knew I was powerless over the schizophrenia unless I took the pills faithfully, every day as prescribed.
Also, in the coming weeks, I’d like to write thought-provoking entries about coping techniques, and my 10-year recovery model. In my own life, I’ve seen time and again what works, and what doesn’t. I believe if you give yourself a 10-year window of opportunity, you’ll be well on your way to having a stable, happy life.
Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not like a miraculous diet that will slim you down by bathing suit season. It takes hard work, and it’s the best work you’ll ever do for yourself. Self-determination is simply the right of every human being on earth to decide how she wants to live her life.
If you have the desire to get better, and you persist in doing one small thing each day to advance your goals, chances are you’ll achieve what you set out to. Desire. Persistence. Those are the only two traits you need, and everyone has them or can develop them. The more experience you get under your belt, the more confidence you’ll have that things will get better.
Welcome. I hope you enjoy my blog.
Disclaimer: Though I am an expert on my own lived experience with schizophrenia, I am not able to treat or diagnose or give advice to other patients about what medications to take. Consult with your own psychiatrist if you feel you’d like to try something new. As I’ve suggested, my ultimate goal is to uplift and inspire others that recovery is possible. To do well, you need to be honest with your treatment team about what’s working and not working, and explore with your providers the options that might be best for you.
Christina Bruni wrote about schizophrenia for HealthCentral as a Patient Expert. She is a mental health activist and freelance journalist.