Greetings! My name is Stephen.
I remember when the horrific news came in the 21st year of my life that I was suffering from schizophrenia, and I didn’t take that news lightly. For the past fifteen years, I have lived side-by-side with this illness, and I have learned that to be a survivor of this syndrome, you have to study your mind scrupulously, and you must be diligent in all of your ways, which include your thoughts, your spoken words, and your actions.
I wrote a book on my experience within this unique tribe of people, and I feel that I am truly a survivor. I have been working with NAMI in Family-to-Family classes here in Lexington, Kentucky, and have been making some progressive headway. There are a great number of people out there, especially family members of persons with mental illnesses, who don’t have the answers to their questions.
I have studied schizophrenia, through rigorous therapy sessions with Dr. Michael Moran, and I have come to the conclusion that the only way to live with this disease peacefully is to fight it on a moment-to-moment basis, until you have learned that the true key to the door of sanity is within your mind, not outside of your soul. I am currently working on another non-fiction piece, and should be finished before the conclusion of this year.
When I was diagnosed in 1999, the doctors divulged with my parents the bad news: that I would never leave home, that I would never obtain and work a job, I would never go back to school and acquire my degree, and that more than likely I would commit suicide, and soon.
I turned the tables and accomplished all of these feats! I refuse to commit suicide because I feel that I would be cheating myself of a life worthy of living. I graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in English, and I worked at a company called Path Forward of Kentucky for well over a year and a half, where I was helping those with mental and/or physical disabilities find employment. I have been living on my own for nearly eight years, and I would have to say that I am truly a survivor, yet…I still hear voices on a momentary basis.
Be blessed, be beautiful, and remember to always continue on with the good fight.