Monday, 31 January 2011

Schizophrenia is all in the mind

Hi Guys

Had a good day today, because I was so busy I forgot to worry. Went for a dog walk with three friends and their dogs today, which felt good because I usually walk on my own and sometimes feel a bit like a sad loner. However, when I got home I was exhausted and a bit stressed, and I realised that actually I think I prefer my own company when I am walking the dog. It is much more peaceful. And maybe this was one of the causes of my illness - it is certainly the cause of a lot of my stress nowadays - I am always trying to be something other than the person I am.

I am always trying to make friends, to make people laugh, to make them like me. People-pleasing, it is called. Always trying to be more gregarious, like my sisters and like other people I admire. But actually the people who know me best and who love me best - my little family basically, they see the real me and they're not bored. In fact, I'm probably better company when I'm not trying too hard to impress.

So, I must take it all down a notch. Stop caring what people think. I know I've said it before, but really.

That's my insight today. I've ended the day exhausted but positive. I had to do a lot of running around after school, and even though I felt I'd failed as a parent by taking the kids for a MacDonalds tonight (we have about two a year and NEVER on a school night) I did it because it was the only way to get them fed without killing myself and it didn't make me feel guilty. This is progress!

I intend to do away with the diagnosis of schizophrenia. I don't know how, but I'm going to make it happen. For everyone. If anyone is ill - as I was - then psychosis is an awful enough term, but at least it is a temporary condition. How dare anybody stigmatize another human being with the awful label I (and some of you readers) have been given? If you accept it, then your life is over, because you just give up any hope of being normal ever again.

I'm still going to use the term in posts - to make people listen (I've noticed on my blog stats that if I include that word then more people read those posts - maybe the blog then comes up more on searches). But if you have come to this blog from Rethink, start re-thinking. Use the diagnosis to further your understanding of your illness. Take the medication, until you're sure you no longer need it (take the advice of the medics on this one, but also, be brave). It need not be a life sentence.

Don't let the diagnosis use you - don't label yourself as an anything. You are a person, who has been ill and who is now ready to get better and move on. And recovery from this illness is possible - if you end up with anxiety and neuroses, which I may possibly have (!), that doesn't make you schizophrenic. Schizophrenia is a life without hope, and nobody's life is that. If I had not struggled against the mental health professionals, I would never have had kids. (You can read more about that in the early posts here, but basically the medication I was put on and told I would have to be on forever, stopped me conceiving). If I had never had kids, I probably would have never got better - they are my raison d'etre.

And one more thing - be true unto yourself. It was the only piece of advice my mother ever gave me, and I didn't have a clue what she was on about. She never explained. But I do know now, and appreciate what she was saying - there is no need to put on a show for anyone. You have a right to be here, as much as anyone else, you are worthwhile, just as you are, so be yourself. Bye for now. X.

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