It has been two years since I was released from the institution, in jail and in the state hospital, in California. After my release I was thirsty for knowledge about my illness, schizophrenia.
I remember going to the nearby pharmacy to get a prescription and then doing research on the computer on schizophrenia. I got involved in an outpatient treatment facility, called Providence Community Services: Catalyst, in San Diego through a referral from my social worker in jail.
At that point I did not have a clue that I would strive to help others with mental health concerns by sharing my experience on a blog or leading groups. I did not even know what blogging was or that I could start my own non-profit organization.
Catalyst was awesome. They provided a clubhouse, Oasis, that offered several groups and services such as Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), help finding employment, and cooking classes among several other services. I really grew there mentally. I got back into college and was well balanced, and doing the things I enjoyed again.
After a few months I moved back to Atlanta to be closer to my mother and sister. I went to the County mental health department, participated in groups, and started blogging in September 2008.
Starting a blog was my sister's idea. She said it would allow me to keep track of my moods and improvements, blogging would be like my online diary. I blogged everyday about things I learned about my illness from books I had read and about the groups I attended at County mental health.
Now I am facilitating groups at the center where I receive treatment with the support of my therapist. I also facilitate groups at another facility. Through this experience I have learned what my strengths are and that with hope and support I can live the life I want to live despite having a mental health diagnosis. I also believe that if I can live the life I want to live, you can too!
Thank you for reading about my experience with living with schizophrenia. I hope this post inspires you to move forward after you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a mental illness.
I believe my wellness and ability to function at the level where I am now to organize, perform research, and to teach others is a blessing from God. I especially thank my family and treatment team for supporting me. I welcome questions, comments, and other opinions related to this blog.