Living With Schizophrenia and Loving Life
Being diagnosed with schizophrenia and living a normal life proves to be very challenging indeed. Every day is a battle against normalcy and yourself. It may even be tough to function normally at the beginning of a psychotic episode but over time, it can be achievable by schizophrenics.
Schizophrenia is a difficult and painful disorder to live with. It’s very tough initially especially when you start hearing voices or seeing things that others can’t see. At the same time, it is difficult to deny that your thoughts are not real.
However, when you start to believe them, it is even harder for someone else to understand your actions and words. It’s easy for “reality” to get blurred when you’re struggling with delusions and hallucinations.
A Routine Helps
Getting into a routine is beneficial for schizophrenics. A good daily routine can help you focus and take charge of your life. Take small steps to further improve yourself daily. Every single accomplishment brings you a step closer to physical and mental self-improvement.
Over the years, I built a routine that I managed to keep. It starts with breakfast and then, 20 minutes of exercise under the morning sun. Reading is another activity I enjoy and try to incorporate into my routine. Personally, I noticed that having a routine proves to be helpful as it keeps me more focused on my daily tasks and improves my lifestyle.
Journaling daily also helps me to express myself more freely. It is also to document and keep track of my life so that I can better understand myself and keep improving. Daily struggles can be tough, so reading old journal entries sets a reminder to myself of my progress.
Build a sustainable routine that you can follow if you are just starting. Begin with simple activities to take care of your well-being.
Active Actions to Stay Grounded
It‘s easy to succumb to extreme paranoia during psychotic episodes. During those moments, it is important to remain calm. My therapist taught me some grounding exercises which involve focusing on breathing. The goal is to deviate from the anxiousness and try to be collected again.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is also great for schizophrenics. They are simple exercises that can be done to change the thought patterns we have. So, instead of catastrophizing, CBT could help us to identify the trigger and shift the mindset.
While these exercises aren‘t magic potions, they did help me numerous times when things get tough. Of course, there are episodes when it is really tough and difficult to remain calm. However, it‘s highly crucial to be grounded in reality to make us more responsive to the people around us.
Don’t Be Defined by Schizophrenia
Oftentimes, I make impulsive decisions when I am in a psychotic mood. For example, I will cancel the appointments that I had made previously for no particular reason. That‘s not wise as I have since realized that I should not allow those delusional moments to dictate my life in reality. I learned to make decisions only when I am calm once again. Understand that it is important to have a life that is not defined by schizophrenia.
It’s not true that schizophrenics aren‘t able to care for themselves. Neither are we incapable of chasing our dreams and being successful. Take a look at Elyn Saks, a professor of law, psychology and psychiatry! There are, of course, many more successful schizophrenics around the world.
Do not allow this brain health issue to deter you from leading a fulfilling life. Always try and get over these feelings. At the end of the day, schizophrenia is only a small part of our lives. Our identity is bigger than this sickness.
It is also important to remember that we are all different people and that the “normal” way of living may not be for everyone.
Attention, Care and Support
Being schizophrenic, we may develop strong suspicions (delusions) and this will affect our personal relationships with others. It‘s common for schizophrenics to push away loved ones or pass hurtful comments when they are feeling low or when they are having delusions.
Good and strong support from caring family and friends is very important. Build your trust circle and rely on them. They should consist of people who understand your condition and are non-judgemental. Comfort and feeling safe are what you need the most during tough times.
Most importantly, ensure that you have a good psychiatrist and psychologist for professional medical assistance and guidance. Work closely with your psychiatrist to find the suitable medicine and the right dosage. A psychologist should be there to provide tools for managing your mismanagement of feelings and mood swings. This helps to make us more resilient and able to lead a fulfilling life. Thankfully, I managed to find a very good psychiatrist and psychologist. They have supported me throughout my journey and I am very grateful to them.
Don’t Give Up, Schizo Warriors
At the beginning of a psychotic episode during the initial days when I was first diagnosed, it was so challenging for me to function normally. It felt almost impossible for me to do anything. It felt like I no longer had control of my mind. Doing simple tasks like getting up and washing up was a struggle.
However, with the right medication, persistence and a routine, living with schizophrenia is achievable. It took years for me to finally understand that my mood swings are just moments of the day that will pass and I will eventually march on in life.
Schizophrenic moments shouldn‘t take over our lives. Take small steps daily and try your best in every way!
When we are feeling low or down, look beyond the situation and persevere as the rewards are definitely worth the journey. The progress may be slow and may not be seen immediately but every single little effort that we put in will shape us to be better people, physically and mentally.
Despite the challenges, life is still worth living. Living independently is also possible. With a good daily routine, exercise and journaling, anything is possible for schizophrenics. Life improves little by little over time – all it takes is perseverance and passion for life itself.
Just remember, never give up for there is definitely hope for us all! After all, we are the Schizo Warriors!