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Taking Steps to Advance with Schizophrenia

Posted May 20 2009 1:20pm
After my diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia in the summer of 2007, and release from the institution at the end of October I took baby steps to wellness. There is a process to recovery, but everybody may not do it in the same order or in the same manner. These are the steps I took toward recovery...

I applied for Supplemental Security Income, moved into an Independent Living home, and enrolled in a county day treatment program for youth with mental illness. Typically, people are denied Supplemental Security Income on their first attempt, however, I was not. I think I got approved on the first try because I had history with the State Hospital and I had a nurse help me with my application. It took six months to get benefits.

The day treatment program was great. I attended Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) classes, in addition to other classes geared toward mental illness awareness. I took a break from school and work for a few months, however, when I returned to school I took one class to take things slow. I spent five months in an Independent Living arrangement before I rented my own room with a family. I lived with the family for four months before reuniting with my mother and sister in another state. I moved from California back to Georgia to be with my family.

When I arrived in Georgia I went to the county mental health department for a doctor, medication, and therapy. I applied for Medicaid, but was denied, however, I enrolled in the Abilify Assistance Program and I am currently receiving medication through the program. I attended therapy weekly and then I went on to a marketing internship.

Because I planned on returning to school to recieve my bachelors in business and marketing I took the internship. Now the internship has ended and I am now volunteering my marketing talents toward a non-profit organization. My next step will be to enroll into school part-time and to take two or three classes.

How did you recover from mental illness? Do you know of any scholarships for mental illness for school?

If you would like to learn more about schizophrenia I encourage you to visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada).
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