I Felt 'Doomed' by My Schizophrenia Diagnosis
I vividly remember the day I found out my diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia — in the GP’s office as he was reading the last notes from my mental health team.
“I see you’ve been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia,” he said gently. Those two words: paranoid schizophrenia. Those two words kept ringing in my head. Even my voices were screaming it at me, “You’re a schizophrenic, you’re a psycho.” Ah, the usual kind nature of my voices … not.
From that day in October 2015, I kept reminding myself this was a lifelong condition. No cure. No hope. I felt completely and utterly doomed. My voices have never really been kind to me, but even they chipped in their piece about how I was doomed for life. My voices fed my anxiety and paranoia the fear I might never feel any better.
You see, back then I seriously struggled a lot. Voices, hallucinations, intense paranoia, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder and dissociation. It felt like if it wasn’t one thing it was another, and I felt completely stuck and helpless in a pit of consistent torture. Throughout 2016 I wavered through recovery and relapse continuously — some of this was due to medication that wasn’t right for me — but I slowly started to trust my psychiatrist and understand why I had my diagnosis. He explained everything so wonderfully to me, and that was the start of my acceptance. It was still extremely hard to comprehend the fact I had been diagnosed with a lifelong illness. It wasn’t until I was put on another new medication that I saw a new side of things — recovery.
For the first time in years, I was functioning. I was laughing. I was living. Meeting friends didn’t seem an impossible task anymore. My psychotic symptoms were almost nonexistent. I also started doing a lot of self-help such as art therapy and keeping a diary of paranoid thoughts/what the voices say, so I could learn to rationalize things when my hallucinations felt real. On top of this, I also started EMDR therapy. Unfortunately, I didn’t do this for too long as I had a relapse due to stress and ended up in a hospital, in which my medication was changed. This inadvertently caused me to relapse further and put me back in the hospital again very recently.
I’m still inpatient right now, but my point isn’t about the relapse, it’s about the recovery. I know it is possible with the right medication. I’ve recently restarted back on the medication I was taking when I felt my best, and I’m starting to feel better already. And you know what? I don’t feel doomed anymore.
Take things slowly, ask your psychiatrist/psychologist/mental health professional or even GP questions to understand your diagnosis better. Write things down, do some painting — whatever it takes for you to be able cope with your diagnosis, do it. It’s all about learning about yourself and your mind, and in time, I hope you won’t feel doomed anymore.
Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.
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Thinkstock photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz.