I have schizoaffective disorder a combination of bipolar and schizophrenia. It’s considered a severe mental illness and my counselor is amazed I’m able to be as high functioning as I am. Granted, I’ve had a lot of really bad years, but with the help of a quality psychiatrist and counselor, effective medication, and an awesome support system, I’ve been able to lead a happy and fruitful life.
Not everyone is so lucky. Because of my openness about my own struggle, I come into contact with others with mental illness. The stories I hear break my heart. Some have doctors who don’t listen to their patients. They prescribe without understanding the side effects and make patients suffer through medications that make things worse instead of better. Some doctors prescribe medications that are ineffective but refuse to think outside the box and try something new. It leads to patients not wanting to take medications at all because they seem ineffective or even harmful.
One friend is in a pit and doesn’t know how to get out of it. His pain tortures me as he gets sicker and sicker. The illness is consuming him; the doctors are at a loss. He’s been admitted to a psychiatric facility which we all pray will break the cycle of depression and anger. I want to tell him it will get better but I don’t know how. Yes, I’ve overcome a lot of it but I’m 53 and my relief has only been over the last 6 years. The road we’re on is long and frequently painful but we have to dig deep and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
When I post I get a lot of concern which is wonderful but I’m so lucky. I don’t have to hold down a job or go on state assistance. I have excellent insurance. My wife understands when I spend time in bed in survival mode. I have friends that love me and listen to me when the pain gets overwhelming. But I pray for my brothers and sisters who are still in hell – a place I know all too well. I pray that they find the medical help they need and the loving support they crave. I pray for those supporting those of us with mental illness. Please don’t give up! We need you!