My Destiny is Recovery from Schizophrenia; And So Much More

My Destiny is Recovery from Schizophrenia; And So Much More


Listen to Executive Director Gabriel Nathan read this post aloud:

People with mental health challenges are often brave, resilient, and strong. We are not what others think we are, we are more than our bad days. In terms of raising awareness, there still a long way to go. We are expected to function just like everybody else despite having to live in an entirely different reality. I have schizophrenia, but my disorder alone does not define me. For about three to four years post-diagnosis, I had a hard time accepting that I was more than just my condition because I had fewer coping skills to manage my symptoms. Being in recovery for me means, having the fortitude to simply carry on with life despite my condition now.

I have had schizophrenia since I was a young adolescent. Schizophrenia is a serious and persistent mental illness; a complex condition that impacts a person’s feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and perception of reality. With schizophrenia, I experience episodes of psychosis from time to time. This is when my hallucinations and delusions feel more real that I struggle to think clearly and concentrate. I then begin isolating myself from everyone because I struggle to differentiate my dreams from reality. It is impossible to predict how schizophrenia will affect someone’s life, because the symptoms, severity and pattern of illness over time differ greatly between people. The impact of the illness also depends on the treatment and support they get to recover, cope, and stay well. Although there is currently no cure for schizophrenia, in my experience, it can be managed with medication and therapy.

At the age of 15, there was an alarming deterioration in my overall everyday functioning, a few months before my first psychotic episode. Through the early years after diagnosis, I did not have sufficient knowledge about my disorder, which only delayed my recovery and prevented me from accepting my diagnosis sooner. My friends and family were surprised when I abruptly started to lose a lot of weight, appeared tired all the time because I used to be excellently skilled in socializing and entertaining. I began losing interest about my everyday activities, school, and isolated myself from everyone.

As time went by, I started to feel an overwhelming growing distance between myself, everyone, and everything around me. This feeling was deeply isolating. I started hearing abusive voices in my head that made me feel like I did not belong in this world. I then began seeing visions of people staring at me from afar. As a child, I felt completely reviled and uncared for. I remember crying myself to bed every night because I believed everyone hated me and wished I was dead. As an adult now, I still struggle to cope with the symptoms, but for an adolescent, it was really terrifying.

Getting the diagnosis of schizophrenia weighed down on me greatly because, on the one hand, I was discouraged that I was unable to put into words how I was feeling or what was going on in my mind, and on the other, it was challenging for me to focus on what was real, due to the continual perplexing hallucinations.

My declining mental health worried my family to a great extent that I was brought to see a psychiatrist. This meant taking a break from school. I began getting inpatient treatment at a psychiatric facility for almost a month which was followed by a six month admission to a psychiatric rehabilitation centre. Although being in treatment was a safer place for me to be to be in at that time, the sight of how the ward looked and the way the patients were being treated has kept me traumatized till today.

Over the years, finding the right treatment and incorporating a healthy and constructive lifestyle meant gaining more insight into my illness to better cope with symptoms that come with it. Despite being in recovery, I still have phases of struggling with my mental health because I often only feel in extremes. I understand that recovery from schizophrenia will be an on-going process for the rest of my life, but on some days, I still find myself tearing up to the mere thought of it.


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For the longest period of time, I have only felt in extremes. Feeling deeply about everything has merely either made this world heaven or a living hell. However, I have grown to believe that in the deepest depth of every feeling lies the sincerity of every pain and pleasure. I have been in great delights with the truest elation and I have been burdened by the sufferings of the darkest agonies.

When my schizophrenia symptoms are at their worst, it starts to get harder to cope with the ever-existing hallucinations. This disorder has altered my perspective on the world in an incredibly sophisticated way. I struggle immensely with paranoid thoughts that makes it hard to connect with people. One of the hardest paranoias that I cope with is the feeling of being watched, listened to, monitored in some way. I am constantly watching my back because I never know when things will happen. I find myself in paralyzing fear when I experience paranoia that I shut down and keep to myself. I often feel alone because of my delusions because my mind is perpetually analyzing everything, I am so acutely observant that I notice things that nobody else notices. I tend to withdraw and retreat to myself a lot which leaves me feeling helplessly lonely at times. That has been one of the most difficult symptoms to deal with because at that vulnerable state, it is difficult for me to connect with people. It almost feels as if there is a huge barrier separating me from everyone else.

I think it has been truly enjoyable to feel ecstatic happiness because, when I do, it feels as though the world is constantly trying to communicate with me to make me realize that to be alive and different, is also to be gifted. It is important that we remind ourselves of how far we have come despite having to deal with the added stresses of life. To go on with my life when there is a continual battle in my head is simply agonizing, yet to go on with my life with a little hope in my heart is the only thing I have ever been doing after every breakdown.

Struggling to get out of bed, to go to sleep and fighting my mind constantly in between to stay grounded in reality really does take a toll on my mind, especially when I am struggling with my mental health. Schizophrenia has definitely made it hard for me to socialize, date, and relate to most others. I have missed many years to being in treatment. Many times, I had to put my education on hold to recover from my frequent breakdowns which only delayed my academic journey from school to college by years. I have lifted myself back up from the ground after being pushed down hard by the weight of the symptoms of my condition very often but I believe the little victories matter too.

I have struggled with my mental health greatly while living with a mental illness. I believe my story deserves to be heard and understood. I realize now that it is okay to be different. The voices will get softer, the shadows will disappear. I will get through the struggles like I always have and cope with the hallucinations better along the way. It is absolutely fine to feel alone and fear everything and everyone around. I have wept and wailed when I needed to, and I will not feel ashamed for feeling. I fight battles in my mind every second of the day to simply stay alive but I rise from them every time. I believe I am going to be okay and so is everything else.

Because life keeps breaking me to pieces, I believe it is my haplessly fated destiny to heal yet remain broken. Through every painstaking struggle, I have carried on. I have experienced the joy of having a mind that works differently, but I have also endured the pain of suffering because of one. I have lived on despite it all. I battled through every madness in silence, and I have fought through eerie darkness in the presence of nobody but myself. If the world chooses to leave me behind and unnoticed for my lack of brilliance, I shall go on shining my light, for one should always remember to shine to impress no one but oneself.

I have been walking through fire, with a mind that feels like it is constantly on fire. If that is not significant enough for me to trust that I am stronger than my disorder then what is? I may live a life different than most others, but I am destined for so much more than just stigma surrounding my illness.



EDITOR IN CHIEF / EDITOR: Gabriel Nathan | DESIGN: Leah Alexandra Goldstein | PUBLISHER: Bud Clayman

Jahnavi is a passionate and self-taught writer who has a great fondness for writing, music and nature. She has gotten articles published on The Mighty, and a local news portal, The Vibes for World Mental Health Day. She is currently pursuing a college certificate in Food & Beverage services. Jahnavi was diagnosed with schizophrenia in her early years and she has been learning to cope better than she has before. You may connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @JahnaviElango.