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This is Me


I have schizoaffective disorder. It’s like a cross between schizophrenia and bipolar. It’s a severe mental illness but I’m very lucky to be high functioning. It’s still a battle, sometimes every day, but I’ve learned to fight, to persevere and to rely on God. A lot of people with this disorder aren’t able to function even with medication. While there have been times when I’ve been unable to work, I’ve also been able to hold down rewarding jobs for years at a time. I require medication and counseling, but I have been blessed with gifted doctors and counselors that have enabled me to live a rewarding life.


I’ve written about my illness before but I’m going to be doing a lot more of it. I want to get my story out. I want to give hope to others who struggle and understanding to friends and families that love someone with a severe mental illness. It can be scary when you talk about hallucinations and delusions. Our nightmares are real to us. The frustration and disappointment that others may feel are nothing compared to what we feel. It is our life that is affected. From having to quit yet another job to the disappointment on other’s faces, it is our life that didn’t turn out the way we dreamed. The pain and the anger that you glimpse feels overwhelming to us. We didn’t ask for this illness, and we don’t want it but we have it. Most of us take medications but that brings its own complications: weight gain, flat affect, and yes, even death. These are hard core medications we put into our bodies, and they aren’t magic bullets. They may not help completely – if at all. We undergo electroconvulsive therapy that robs us of our most precious memories just for the chance of normalcy. We want to be like everyone else but we’re not and it hurts.


So, if you know someone with mental illness – severe or mild (if there is such a thing) – show some grace. Know we’re trying our best even when it seems our best is not enough. Realize we want what you want more than you could imagine. And if the meds or the ECT or the therapies don’t work, it’s not that we don’t want to try. Our brains make it so hard, and the treatments are harsh. Some of us are luckier than others. Remember that.


Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

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