Emotional Recovery: The best thing I have ever done for myself is to realize, only I could really help myself! I was relying on a professional body of people, who stigmatised and offered me no hope and constantly wanted to remind me, according to them, I was ill and unable to achieve much in my life. And if I fought this appalling attitude and said to them, I think you are wrong, that could be seen as a sign ‘schizophrenia’ was active and I was not accepting my diagnosis.
To put if frankly, the mental health services harmed me greatly with their ignorance, they did not heal me. I have healed my internal self!
I began over time, to learn about me, and how my condition was triggered and how it was calmed. What worked for me and what did not work? I offered myself hope and I became my own best Doctor! I began to understand my fears and paranoia about the KGB and teach myself that I had come to no harm. I began to understand why voices existed and who they may represent. Once this was worked out, over a short period of time they weakened and now they are no more. I just have a distant memory of them.
I began to teach myself, I knew myself like no other, only I knew the true me and I began to ‘reintroduce myself’ into my own life, with my own beliefs, with the purpose of finding a more positive foundation.
I rediscovered me!
If I could offer advice on emotional recovery: Never let anyone tell those diagnosed with schizophrenia who and what you are. Never let a diagnosis define you. It is a part of you and not the whole. Learn about yourself, your symptoms, the cause, the triggers. Work out what helps, work out what harms. Become your own best Doctor! Always believe recovery is possible! Always believe you have a right to a good life and in time and with knowledge it may be achieved! Understand it may be a long road!
Understand, those around you who do not share your diagnosis, are unlikely to understand you! Try and stand in their shoes a bit more! Either family or friend. They will not be able to stand in yours!
Be proud of schizophrenia! I fell down the rabbit hole many years ago! and found a beautiful creative and wonderful side to the condition, as yet, not fully recognised. The best people I have met in my life have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. They are very insightful, intelligent, genuine, caring people, who can think and act outside what is accepted as normal.
Correct medication can help! Incorrect medication can harm!
Look towards those who inspire you!
Talk to those who listen!
Fight for your rights! Again, be proud of who you are, you are truly unique!
Outside influences have been involved with my emotional recovery: They could not heal me but offer a correct level of support with my journey. The film ‘A Beautiful Mind’ gave me hope of finding much needed recovery. And I mean recovery in the way of managing the diagnosis and living a meaningful life. I could find nothing inspiring about schizophrenia, until John Nash and his journey with the diagnosis became known worldwide. His journey was and still is a great inspiration!
So, I believe I have understanding of the importance for others to hear inspiring stories, relating to schizophrenia and mental illness!
My ex-wife Rebecca was always a comfort. I never felt judged by her, only supported. She always knew I was not the man the psychiatric team judged me to be. She knew who and what I strived to be and always supported me with my goals. Life at the time would have been much more difficult without her.
Paul, a RETHINK volunteer, helped me. Paul let me talk to him on equal ground without judgment. He agreed with me that it was wrong the psychiatric services viewed me in such a negative way. Paul reminded me they were just one set of people and I should not define myself by their beliefs. He helped me to be me.
I learnt talk is a cure!
My greatest support is ‘Beau’ my dog and Angel, my teacher. Beau has helped me in so many ways, both physically and emotionally. Beau helped me to train for my treks to the Himalayas. Having a dog, meant I had to get out with him and exercise. He has helped me emotionally and still does. When prescribed Risperdal, I experienced nightmares (side effects of medication) for some years and felt haunted. I would always call ‘Beau’ to the bedroom. He would lay by my side and I knew if there was anything that wanted to harm me, he would sense it; but he lay peacefully by my side, always when needed and eased my fears.
In 2002 after my recovery process had fully started and gained much ground, I won a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship. This enabled me to travel to Nepal and Trek to Everest Base Camp in 2003 with the purpose to try and highlight recovery. This boost, helped me to step up to another level and begin ‘yet’ another journey of self discovery.