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I'm home from the hospital and doing VERY WELL!! I love you all for your concern and for taking the time to read my blog.

Posted Aug 17 2014 12:00am
Hi Everybody!

I apologize that I have not written anything in over a month. I had to go to the hospital for a much-needed mental health break and medication adjustment. I attended group therapy with an excellent therapist named Tonya, art therapy (which I LOVE), did a ton of journaling (I filled up three composition books), and worked with my wonderful doctor, Dr. Shah, on many medication adjustments. I also received help from my mental health housing agency on getting my apartment cleaned and straightened up and some other things. I also received help from my lovely and wonderful friends Kristyn, Don and Judy (from NAMI - an EXCELLENT ORGANIZATION which you need to check out at www.nami.org, wherever you live in the US), and Phyllis (from NAMI), and my family who came through for me in ways they never have before this crisis.

Things I have recently learned or realized in ways I never have before
1. Stress leads to anxiety which leads to psychosis and a flare up of Lupus, so I need to decrease the amount of stress in my life, especially the financial stress which is a huge trigger for me.

2. People genuinely like me and care about me even when I don't realize it. For example, when I first got to the hospital I thought people were talking about me negatively and I was experiencing auditory hallucinations, but the patients and the staff continuously told me that they did like me and by the time I left I believed them and every patient hugged me (even though touching is technically not allowed). They also voted for me twice to be the "Unit President" and I started the goals group every day by saying "Hi, I'm Jennifer, otherwise known as......" and they would say "Hillary in 2016!"), and I would introduce the Vice President as "This is Kevin, otherwise known as...." and they would say "Fidel Castro!"  because he was very strict about enforcing the unit rules whereas I was more liberal (hard to hide that). One day a patient was reading his sheet that you have to fill out every day with your goals for the day, and he ended it by saying, "Jennifer for 2016!" which I thought was really sweet, cute and funny. It's good to laugh!

3. The universe wants me to be alive. I am meant to do important work as a NAMI ambassador (I told everyone in the unit about NAMI and all the services we provide - for more information see www.nami-pinellas.org if you live in Pinellas County or www.nami.org if you live anywhere else). It's extremely important for me to feel that I am making a difference in the world and I believe I can.

4.The universe makes things happen for a reason (synchronicity), and there may be no such thing as simple coincidences. For example, I had a roommate who was really sweet and caring and kind and helpful, and one day while she was there, I bought a Diet Coke from the soda machine outside, and it had her name on it (Coke and Diet Coke bottles now have this thing where it says "Share this Diet Coke with...a person's name).

I got fired from my job while I was in the hospital, and I became hysterical over it. This call came the day before I was meant to be discharged. If this call had come while I was at home I may have ended my life, but the call came while I was in a safe, secure place. And the next day, after I made clear that I would sue the employer for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, I got my job back!

5. I need to stick to a schedule, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, write down all the doctor's appointments and therapy appointments I have on a calender (which I am doing), and a schedule book I am carrying now in my purse. I need to pay the rent the first week of the month without fail. I need to stick to a STRICT budget (which I am doing), and for example, I cannot afford cable/internet at home, going to the movies, buying new clothes, or eating fast food anymore at all.

6. Today - for an example of how things happen for a reason -for example, today I went to the Unitarian Universalist Church (which is the only church I will willingly go to and where agnostics and atheists are accepted), after being invited by my long-time friend and former professor, Dr. Byrd, to see his daughter play the cello (she is amazingly talented), and my other favorite professor (from USF), Dr. Griffin, who taught all of my social work classes and who convinced me not to drop out when I was feeling overwhelmed and experiencing psychosis, so I kept with it and got an A in all my classes, well she was there because she also attends that church. Dr. Byrd is one of the strongest supporters I have ever had in my life, and Dr. Griffin is the reason I didn't drop out of college like I almost did a couple years ago, and they both attend that UUC church, and I want to go there on a regular basis now, because I have been there before and really enjoyed it (they even read poems during their service, and I absolutely love poetry), and this will help me with having a reason to get up early on Sundays and not sleep in (need to stick to a regular schedule), and it will also bring some more peace and serenity to my life.

7. I am not superwoman. I cannot do all the things I want to do all the time, and that is okay. It is okay to ask for help and there are people who will help me when I really need it.

8. I do NOT need to resort to suicidal thinking when I am overwhelmed. I have a lot of coping skills which I can use, and am using, and will continue to use. (I am even carrying a collection of cards with my coping skills on them inside a little envelope that I made in art therapy in my purse).

9. I can and will accomplish my goals eventually, it just might not be as quickly as I want it to be,

10. Even though my Lupus and Fibromyalgia are flaring up badly right now and I am in a lot of pain, I can still manage to keep active and do the things that are most important and need to be done, and I have hope that I can get better with the help of my rheumatologist who I am going to be seeing on Friday (She thought I had Lupus for the past seven years but she only officially diagnosed it a couple months ago - another thing that overwhelmed me, and while I was in the hospital I developed the butterfly rash on my face caused by Lupus and a rash over my arms and legs and chest which the medical doctor said was from Lupus and not a result of being allergic to any medications so I had to deal with realizing that I actually do have Lupus and I will have to deal with it for the rest of my life).

11. I need this blog! And I deeply appreciate everyone who ever reads it greatly, especially all of you (like "Borderline Lil") who are kind enough to make comments and care about me. Much love to you all.

12. It's very important that I take things one day at a time, try not to worry and have racing thoughts, and focus on one task at a time. I also need to write down everything I need to remember since my memory is very poor right now (possibly due to Lupus), and I am doing that. It's very important that I not overwhelm myself.

13. I do experience manic episodes, even though I believed I hadn't been manic since approximately 2004, which causes my racing thoughts and not sleeping for days at a time and - in the hospital - led to rapid speech and extremely high anxiety - so I need to take a mood stabilizer and I am doing that now, which evened me out a lot.

I think that covers it! I have limited internet access now since I have no internet at home, I don't have much time to go to places with free wifi, and I need to focus strictly on my job while at work so I might now write as often as I used to or would like to on this blog, but I will try and keep you updated and find interesting topics to write about as often as I can.

Thank you for being there, for taking the time to read this, for trying to learn more about Schizophrenia and/or Schizoaffective Disorder (my accurate diagnosis which means a combination of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder), for caring enough to learn about mental illness even if you are neurotypical, and for caring enough to leave comments which make me know people are actually reading this.

Love to you all, and have a great day! Try to think positively!

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