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Self-Care for My Schizophrenia Is My Full-Time Job

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I am blessed that I can live on my own, in my own apartment. I am glad that my parents are just a phone call away if I need to talk about my symptoms or what is going on in my head. I have schizophrenia, which is a mental illness, and I must find ways to get through the days. Since I live on my own, I must remember to take my meds. I also must remember to eat and fix my own meals. This kind of self-care is how I have learned to live my life almost as if it is my job.

I must have a simple routine. There is nothing stopping me from sleeping through the day. There is nothing stopping me from eating a lot of junk food. There is nothing stopping me from disobeying rules and regulations I have set up for myself, but I need to make wise choices for my own well-being.

I do create schedules and lists to help me remember to brush my teeth or to know what to buy when I go to the grocery store. After I work out, I usually write it on my calendar which is hanging on the door of my laundry closet. I do this so I can see my progress throughout the days, weeks and months.

Once a month, I go to the veteran’s hospital for my monthly medication checkup. I worry about parking a lot. When I find a parking spot, which is usually a little bit of a walk, I go to the blood lab where I get blood tests. I see my psychiatrist, who usually approves my blood work then gives me a prescription for my pills. After the pharmacy, I get my once-a-month injectable which is very convenient. When I get back to my apartment, I make coffee and relax because it has been a long day for me. It is still early, and I need to pass the time, so I work out.

One of the things I enjoy doing is cooking for myself. I try to eat healthy, even though I have no one telling me I must eat healthily. Occasionally, I fix meat, sometimes eggs, and always a vegetable. There is no one telling me that I cannot order a pizza or telling me that I cannot eat ice cream and cookies all day.

Routine is important for my self-worth. I even set a clock, so I do not sleep away the day. One thing I do in my routine besides work out is to talk to both my mom and dad. I call them every day. If I do not, they may think something is wrong. I feel good about checking in with my parents because they are not just my parents. They are also my friends. Sometimes I visit them for a long weekend.

My parents and I like to eat dinner together. I enjoy paying their bills because they have done so much for me over the years. My dad is my fiduciary, which means he oversees my finances. Because I save my money, I was able to buy a car and some new furniture. Despite these expenditures, I am still financially stable with the help of my dad.

There is nothing that is making me eat unhealthily, sleep the day away, or have a productive routine. Family is important, but for the most part, I am alone. Because of my routine, my days do not seem to be boring. I am thankful for my life and love my independence. My family gives me space and does not hover over me which would create stress. It is just me and I must deal with my own mental health issues. If I were not able to take care of myself, I would not be so free to live my life. The self-care I practice every day may appear to some as being selfish, but I consider it my way of taking care of my mental health. It is my occupation and duty, and I am worth the effort.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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