I can say I’ve been reasonably stable for about 5 years. I haven’t been hospitalized for 5 years, but I still have ups and downs. As you know, I was recently fired from my job. That was not easy emotionally to handle. I am diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder bipolar type. According to The MayoClinic, “Schizoaffective disorder symptoms may vary from person to person. People with the condition experience psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, as well as symptoms of a mood disorder — either bipolar type (episodes of mania and sometimes depression) or depressive type (episodes of depression).”
I become depressed very fast, then manic very fast. Yet, I created a safety plan to stay in control. I felt so low I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t brush my teeth or shower. Then I became manic overnight. I was fluttered with ideas, starting art projects, still not showering, felt destructive, felt impulsive, felt superiors, felt empowered by superpowers, and felt like I was a God. Eventually, minor hallucinations started. I would see shadows and bugs. I immediately called my team and said, “I need help” Medication was increased, and so was therapy. My mentor even went into action and became the mom I needed. Rev. Dr. Barn (Mama Barnes) became the spiritual mom I needed, grounding me in prayer and scripture to read. And my professors extended time for assignments. This is my team. This kept me grounded. Even though my mind was becoming irrational, I fought the irrational. With the power of my God, intellect stayed home, didn’t spend money, stayed away from sharps, cooked every night, did the artwork, went to bed on time even though I couldn’t sleep, and remained goal focused to become healthy.
I came to realize what I’ve always known as accurate recovery isn’t linear. It comes in waves. Recovery is possible. Recovery is achievable. I take medicine four times daily, with as-needed prn for anxiety and hallucinations. I also get a six-month inter muscular injection for my schizoaffective disorder. It has changed my life. Thank you, APRN. Sue Brown, for starting me on my first shot because it was my first step in recovery and stability through medication. I take medicine to stable my mood, for ADHD, to help me sleep, to help me with my autism symptoms, to ease my depression symptoms, and more.
I want you to know that I wouldn’t be where I am without God, and that’s my belief. I wouldn’t be where I am without my team. I have three therapists, an APRN, PCP, nutritionist, personal trainer, spiritual leader, and mentor. I don’t have a traditional family, but God gave me a team to make up for what I don’t have, and now I’m making trans friends. Call me lucky, but I say I’m blessed.
Before I was stabled, I have hospitalized a minimum of 5 times a month. I hit one year 50 times in a year. I was miserable. I was a self-harmer. I hurt others with my words, I couldn’t keep a job, complained about everything, and was very ungrateful, leading to me being mentally ill and homeless. I saw addicts with substance illness overdose, I lived in a therapeutic shelter, I lived in an independent living home, and I lived not knowing my next move. Tantrums, crying tears, and praying for a home.
6 years ago this July, I got a studio apartment, my own home, then a year in a bunny rabbit named Jhonni Root-Canal. Then 3 years in, I moved into a one-bedroom apartment. I graduated from college and am now pursuing my MSW at Western New Mexico State University. I feel honored. I have a 3.85 GPA. I am an honor student. I am happy.
So recovery isn’t linear. I had a pit stop at depression and mania, but it wasn’t a pitfall. I am searching for a new job. My savings is almost gone. But I am strong and well able to overcome anything and everything that comes my way. Because the strength, I believe, comes from the Holy Spirit, my team, and my medication.
Recovery is possible, and it’s hard. Please feel no shame or condemnation wherever you are in your recovery. Don’t feel shame for needing medication because it saves lives and is a blessing. You can do anything with it, and without it is hard to do almost everything. Don’t feel disqualified because of your mental illness or disability. It’s not a flaw. It’s a character enhancement. You are wonderfully created by the creator. Stay encouraged. I posted pictures of my meds and injection to see a piece of my life. Thanks for reading. Keep pursuing your recovery! You got this!