Sunday, April 19, 2015

Free and Strong

A day in October not long ago could have been a different day. By nearly missing an injury to my spinal cord, I instead had burst fractures in my lower vertebrae. The first night in the ER after falling 30-40 feet/a 4 story building the doctors did not know if I'd ever walk again. After doing multiple scans and tests, they found that I would not even need surgery and I had to wear a back brace for 3 months.

Fast forward a few years when I started running.

Someone asked me this past week how it feels to run.

Every time I run, I feel strong and free. There just are no words to do justice to talk about the great feelings that coarse through my veins as I run. Nothing can stop me. My paranoia and anxiety go away when I run. I love how the wind whips through my hair.

I am training for a Half Marathon sometime this year. I have already begun my search for smaller races (5K/10K).

Meanwhile, I have been running 2-5 milses a day...Running and sprinting. Running a mile takes me about 6:30-7:30 minutes. Sprintig a mile currently takes me 2:30 minutes., although I usually break the mile into pieces.

Free
and
Strong.

Onward I fight my mental illnesses through exercise. Nothing else like it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Coming to Terms

So how long have I been apart from this blog? Enough to notice that there are more than 40,000 views. I started this blog a few years ago in graduate school paranoid as anything. I remember how hard it was to even get out of my apartment.

Since graduating with my Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering, my life has continued to pile on more difficulties, to the point that I have not been able to work..

But I am still here.
That is not a small feat.

I am on a journey now in taking time for myself to come to terms with my mental illnesses, learning steps to deal with my illnesses..

It's not that easy.

I am on a good medication regimen (11-13 pills a day) and I have to stay on these medications every single day. If I don't I decompensate in a matter of hours to the most crazy, terrifying psychotic/paranoid shutdown.

I haven't had many shutdowns lately, but I have to admit that I had a serious breakdown at the grocery store a couple weeks ago. Same old, same old paranoia and psychosis. No matter if it is the same symptoms. It was terrifying. The FBI. The government. They can read my mind, because I hear their voices responding to my thoughts. I see people staring at me. They all are talking about me, watching my every move. What's wrong with me?

Won't this ever stop?
I don't know but I feel good where I am. I get better each and every day.

Coming to terms with life. Coming to terms with my illnesses.

Not easy but doable.

No matter how bad my condition, I hope I never lose the fighter within me.. Because I am giving this life all I got. Setbacks may be hard sometimes but what matters most is to take it day by day. Life is worth it.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

THe Paranoid World

I do not think that most people understand what paranoia is. I have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder (schizophrenia and bipolar I) and PTSD.

I am currently on 5 medications and  take 11 pills each day to stay somewhat normalized. I say "somewhat" because there are points in which they do not stop my paranoia., The only way I have found to getting rid of the paranoia (if not severe) is to do rrality checks, although people do not really enjoy me aksing all these questions just to gain back my sanity. For most, they just say "think positively," "get over it", or "thats nothing." Some even laugh at me or get angry at me.

Let me allow you into the world of a parnanoid person.

I walk around campus in graduate school. I have only been living here for a few months. I'm on the phone with my brother saying I think it is time to go back to the hospital. So I go. I am met with a ton of people starying at me in the hospital entrance. Do they know what I'm going through? How do they know about me? Can they see my illness? At this point, the whole university knows.The government is still after me.

Another hospitalization, I thought I was in the Holocaust ansd that the doctors were killing al of the patients. I was running around trying to save evefybody, trying to figure out the puzzle of freeing everyone.

During one of my other hospital visits during my graduate school career, I saw a list of things ona table and I thought the list that I found was a list to free me from an FBI interrogation (I still have paraonoia about the government but not as severe). I kept tying to figure out this list and I finally got to the bottom of the list and I don't remember why, but I kept taking my hospial gown off., They yelled to the other patients to go in their room.

At another hospital, I became entirely catatonic and I did not tak, eat or slep for 3 days. That was in the midst of one of the most terrifying parnoia/psychoti period. Tehy finally gave me a strong medication and it lessened. But I still remember all of what happened.

The littlest thing can set me off on a crazy rant or adventure.

I was hospitalized 3 times in gtaduate school and I sitll received my Masters degreee.

Now my parania is not as bad as it's been while in the hospital. THe majority of my paranoia/anciety is contained by the endless sea of medications that have been prescribed to me. Some may believe that watching people go through psychosis and paranoia, but it's not funny at all. It is one of the most terrifying things I go through. Sometimes I still believe that I am still being watched by the FBI, which are inproportioate to my reason why they would be after me. I have learned that it is possible to overcome the paranoia by talking to myself about the relaity of what's going on.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Frustration of Mental Illness(es)

Every day, I deal with my mental illnesses, currently diagnosed as having schizoaffective, bipolar type and PTSD, Some days are brilliant. Others I just wish I could be free not to interact with anyone.

This past year, I was in the hospital 3 times. During the times when I was out, I was in treatment programs.

Among side effects of medications is movement disorders, dry mouth, blurred vision, acne, and most catastrophically, memory loss.

When I am off the meds, I have "limited" clear thinking and photographic, or eidetic, memory. That's how I did so well in school. However, I have to take the meds or else I end up back in the hospital., I have been known to decompensate in one day if I do not take the meds. When I decompensate, that means that I have full-blown paranoia and psychosis. I lose touch with all reality. As a PhD student, I ran around the hospital unit naked. My life feels like almost two different lives.

I want to focus on the life on meds, even though my creativity, artistic ablities and eidetic-like memory goes away with the meds. It's a loss worth taking, because I highly like being stable.

It sucks that I lose my memory because I cannot remember everything that I did in college and graduate school. I do not know if I am able to function with a 40-60 hour work week in the field of biomedical engineering., That is hard for me to comprehend but to be all-realisstic, I have to take my meds and my illnesses have gotten much worse over the years as the schizophrenia part of my brain has gone haywire,

As a highly functioning person who has schizophrenia, biipolar and PTSD as well as haivng studied neuroscience/neural engineering amd neurology, I find my life as being something very interesting.

I think I will always remember the moments in my life when I could function while being manic. Nowadays, my mania is maked with severe paranoia and psychosis. Terrifying psychosis. So, I continue to take my meds.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lessons I have learned in therapy

I have been in and out of therapy since the age of seven. It hasn't always been easy but I've learned a lot from my therapists and counselors. I have been in and out of hospitals 12 times in the past 10 years.  I have also been in 4 outpatient programs. The following is a list of things that I have learned in therapy.

1. I cannot be held responsible for any other people's behaviors except for my own. We can only control ourselves. This has been an important concept for me to understand because I tend to want to change others but the only person I can change is myself.

2. Breathing in and out and meditation work. I was reluctant to start doing it but it helps a lot. In the past two weeks I've been using meditation a lot more  and I've been more calm without taking anti anxiety medications. A therapist once told me the medications are only a small part of  what aleviates the illnesses I am dealing with. Recently I have been figuring out how to feel better. I tend to meditate multiple times a day, something that I never thought would happen.  The first time I ever tried meditating I thought it was a joke.  My mind would always wander. But now since I've been using it for years it is much easier to focus on one word or a number or anything pertaining to the medication. It's not a joke to me anymore. It is something that I use every day.

3. There are some good therapists and there are some bad therapists. Fortunately for me I had more good than bad. But I did have one therapist who basically charged me to hear her talk about her own issues. Needless to say she didn't help me a lot. So I changed therapists and forgot about her.

4. There are good people out there who really care about me. Not just about money. Or a paycheck. I have felt cared about by many therapists.

5. Getting better takes time and a lot of patience. I sure wish that I didn't have to go to therapist for the rest of my life but I have a feeling I will be in and out of therapy for the rest of my life. I wish I could feel better at a snap of a finger but life isn't like that. Being in therapy is not a weakness. This life is a journey. There are usually not easy simple solutions to mental illness. Take your time to feel better.

Monday, December 8, 2014

If at first you don't succeed,...

I woke up twice last night and I've been up since 5:30 AM. Among the things that I thought about this morning I looked up how many medications I have taken over the past 10 years. I realize that I've been on 20 psychiatric medications among other medications. I've racked up 12 hospitalizations in the past 10 years as well. I've been in four outpatient programs for mental health. And it gets frustrating after a while. It seems like things aren't working.

This weekend I talked to my doctor because the medications weren't working well. I was pacing, had high paranoia and anxiety. But that didn't stop me. Nothing can stop me when I am motivated to become a better person and a mentally well person. Even in the amount of time that I've taken out to become well, even though it's frustrating that it took longer than usual, I am glad that I have made it this far. I am glad God has saved my life literally on numerous occasions. I'm glad that I made it this far even with all of the challenges that have come my way. It's not easy but it's doable. This life is truly livable no matter what the circumstances.

Ever heard that saying "gotta go when you gotta go." Well that's how I think of it in terms of my mental health. When I need to go to the hospital it's not a bad thing necessarily.  It doesn't even have to be a setback. I was recently in the hospital for 3 weeks and I can honestly say it was a huge leap forward for me. It just means I need extra help but it's not a weakness. It means that I need to go somewhere safe and where people can help me 24 seven.

My main point for writing this blog post is that sometimes we give up too easily. Sometimes we don't give the day a chance. Sometimes we just sit or lay down all day wondering what we can do when we really know what we can do. We just don't want to. We choose not to. I could've given up on the second hospitalization. I could've wondered why I was still in there, why I had this illness that I have but I feel like one of the luckiest people on earth because it's not about what life you're given; it's the life that you make. It's about making the most out of the life you've been given the matter what comes your way.

So what do you do when you try at first and you don't succeed? You try try again. You keep going no matter what comes your way. You keep striving for the best even when it's the most difficult times in your life. You keep fighting for what's right and what's real. In my case you keep taking the medications even when they're not working because you know that you will find the right amount of medications that you should be on. Its about not giving up. All of life is about not giving up. It's about fighting, fighting for a better day.

So in conclusion I would like you to meditate on what I have said about not giving up and trying and trying and trying more and more and more even when things get frustrating because this life is much more than just the heartaches. My message to you today to those people on Facebook who don't know that I'm still writing my blog because I deactivated my Facebook a month ago ( yes I fell off the face of the planet) and those around the world reading my blog I like to say: never give up.

Peace and love.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hope is a winning battle

Over two years ago I began this blog project. It has been a space for me to reflect, encourage, persevere and fight for a better day.

Then comes the name of my blog. "Hope Rising." And even though I have been dealt many hard cards in my life, even more so recently, nothing seems to stop me from moving forward. What does hope mean? It is the desire to move forward despite any external difficult circumstances because you know in your deepest of depths within your heart, mind, body, soul and spirit that a better day will come. You do not know exactly when it will come but you just know. If you have hope, there is not anything that can stop you from achieving your dreams. The unremarkable becomes remarkable. The ordinary becomes extraordinary. 

For so many years, I hoped to be believed. I strived to be believed. Not that I wanted people to pity me. It's more that I hoped I would be heard. I hoped that someone would take me seriously and help me take the necessary steps to better my life. This came after not being believed by a pastor, who also thought my suicide attempt in high school was a play for attention. No comment. Now people are starting to take me seriously and believe me to the point that I am almost uncomfortable. I am safe yet I do not know what it feels like to be safe. Even more than that, I don't know what it's like to be heard, really heard.

My greatest hopes are being realized now and it is an incredible feeling. I never truly realized what "hope rises after the storm" means until now. But to me God has shed a whole new light on it in my life. I have gone through turmoil from the minute I was born until now and I am taking actions in my life to alleviate the turmoil. No life should be in constant fear. No life should be taken advantage of and blamed for things outside their control. Nobody should have to be used, mistreated or abused so for now, I am standing up for myself and rightfully so. No more sitting under the bleachers, being spat on or abused and yelled at when the home team loses. No, I am sitting on the bleachers, having fun and encouraging other people in their lives with God. No longer an outsider.

Community is what this life is about. Not all of it but in life, we need to listen to each other, not argue or fight. We need to believe each other and stand up for each other.

My hope for today is that we can all find hope, someway somehow. Hope is not a losing battle. It is a winning battle. Hope helps us to overcome our deepest fears and things we are dealt here.