I was diagnosed with schizoaffective in 1999. I was suffering mood swings, delusions and hallucinations about evil spirits. I felt like I was very much alone. There are times I still do think I’m uniquely singled out to suffer.
But thru the help of NAMI and other supports groups available to me at my mental health behavior provider, I see clearly the focus doesn’t have to be on myself anymore. Many people come to the meetings and get to share their struggles, which are a lot like mine. The meds help me a thousand times over, as well as pastoral care, counseling and case management. When I struggle now with feeling like I’m alone, I usually am able to use some of the skills I’ve learned within the support to realize I am not alone. For example, Cognitive Behavior Therapy has rewired my thought processes in a positive way, bringing hope and confidence, which both bring balance and happiness to my life.
The fight is real. We need real intervention - from meds and doctor visits to going to some NAMI meetings to see our struggle through someone else’s life. Often, counseling should be added to the regiment, because counseling and meds are the primary means for getting better, being able to cope, and to gain confidence over our disorder.
When we think we’re alone, we sort of give more power of the disorder over our mind. We start “psyching ourselves out” and obsessing on top of the original disorder - hope diminishes and despair takes over. Deep depression takes a place in our mind that adds to the confusion we already are suffering.
The best place to go from there is some kind of meeting - be it NAMI, support groups offered through your behavioral health office, or support telephone lines. I’ve even used the ER line offered through our behavioral health office just to talk. I think they got to know me personally.
I always feared as a very young boy that I was going to have a mental illness. I read about it in our old encyclopedias we had at home, and the notion just scared me. I grew up and found myself fighting myself all alone, unable to express what was really going through my mind - until the day I got treatment and support. Then I knew I could cope with my disorder.