Personal Stories

My New Life

Trapped in psychosis for years, I felt like my life was over. I had been in therapy for several years and we had tried medication after medication but the voices kept staying in my life. They were controlling me and I did not have control over my life or anything that was happening in my life anymore.

Being diagnosed with autism at the age of 22 was light at the end of a tunnel as I thought I had found out what I needed to know in order to go on with my life and live my life. But, as my psychotic symptoms worsened over the years, doctors began to suspect there was more to my story than just autism.

By 2013 my life was in shambles. I had self-destructed every single aspect of my life. Failed college attempt after failed college attempt had racked up thousands of dollars in student loan debt which I had no way of paying back.

I began to lose who I was. There were days that I woke up and couldn’t remember who I was. I became the mental illness because it was so prevalent in my life that I believed it was who I was.

I began to question everything about my life. Was this real? Was that real? There became a time where I did not know whether or not something that happened in my life was real or just a hallucination or delusion.

By the age of 28 years old I was seeing dragons and talking to them. I believed they were real even when no one else did. I thought I had special powers to talk to dragons that others did not. The dragons tried to get me to hurt myself. There were times the dragons were there every day.

At this time, I was hospitalized in the mental health ward for the fifth time in my life. This is when the doctors added schizophrenia to the equation and my life became even more complex and confusing than before. Psychosis had gained control over my life.

I thought things were going to get better because when I was hospitalized they put me on a combination of different medicines that should have stopped the psychosis. Instead, the combination I was on made it worse. 

I did stabilize for a few days and left the hospital. I was not stable though but only for a few days when the voices. Visions, dragons and other things came back into my life and stole it from me yet again.

Encouraged to work by family and professionals I tried to get jobs. I never had a problem getting jobs because I knew how to be appropriate in the context of an employment setting. But, I had no control over the psychosis that crept itself into my life and each job I had.

I have had probably twenty different jobs. Usually I keep them for two weeks and then have some sort of psychotic episode that causes me to believe people are trying to kill me at work. I end up staying home. I do not go to work. I do not call because I am scared of them.

When I am around people I have to concentrate really hard. I want to know what is real and what is not real. How do you decipher what is real when you are conversating with others and there are dragons and demons talking with you in the group at the same time?  Is your friend really a demon or are they a real person? I’m left feeling confused and alone.

Because of this, I require a lot of patience and a little bit of extra help doing things around the house. I feel embarrassed and ashamed. Yet, somehow deep down I know we will get through this and everything will be okay.

Then one day at the doctor’s office something magical happens. There is a new medicine suggested which I am very skeptical of. No medicine has helped yet but what if it could? I suppose there was hope so I say we should give it a try and see how it works.

Nothing changes at first and you begin to doubt if you made the right decision. But then the doctor encourages more patience and says these things take time. I continue taking the medication as prescribed. Suddenly, I notice something different.  

I am not hearing as well as I used to. So, I go to the doctor and complain of hearing loss. The doctor asks, “Why do you think you are losing your hearing?”  I reply, “I am not hearing dragons asking me to kill myself anymore.”   My doctor smiles from ear to ear. She says “Your ears are just fine. The medication is working.”

By this time in early 2017, I had already lost hope in the fact that I could ever have my life back or live a normal life without psychosis. I had contemplated suicide many times in my twenties because of the psychosis and the frustration I had with not being able to be a successful person in life. I felt like a failure and like I had let everyone down. Suddenly as the voices stopped, those feelings went away.

I have found that negative symptoms of schizophrenia improve when positive symptoms are treated and improve. The medicine has given me my life back.  I am now free to have my own thoughts and feelings. The dragons are no longer in control of what I think or believe or feel.  I am my own person again much like I was when I was a little kid. I am free to go about my life. 

Now I have a full-time job working well over 40 hours per week. I am stable and I am functioning at high levels. I am no longer delusional and I no longer see or hear dragons. I have been free of psychosis for over two months. I could not be happier.

Schizophrenia can take a pretty good life and destroy it very quickly. I know because that happened to me. I also know there is hope and when a person is treated for schizophrenia they can put their life back together and be a successful person. I know this because that is exactly what has happened to me.

I take my medications religiously because I have seen what a wreck I am when not on medication. I know I could not survive without the medicine and would hate to see me try. I cannot say I was ever a fan of taking anti-psychotic medications before. But, now I can’t imagine my life without them. I have been given a new life. I have new opportunities and now that I am psychosis free, I am ready to live a life full of happiness.

 


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