Suicidal No More: Choosing to Live with Schizoaffective Disorder
Welcome. I live with Schizoaffective Disorder, formerly diagnosed as Schizophrenia. This blog, created in 2005, is about what goes on inside my mind. It is about coping, living, and advocacy. You will find information on what psychosis, delusional thoughts, and suicidality are like, by a person who has had those experiences. Most of all, you will find a story of hope. If you have a mental illness, know you are not alone.
Source: New Selected Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1988)
I can't pay my rent, I have not got enough money. The electricity got cut off yesterday so had to use rent money to get the electricity turned back on. I can't pay ANY of my bills and am hounded by calls from collection agencies day and night. I am fat and nothing I do to try to lose weight works; I am not cut out for OA. I am taking myself off Clozaril, and I haven't slept in three days. I can't afford food so people have given me food or I have gone to food pantries. There is no money left for gas in the car. I can't pay my phone bill, so the phone will be cut off soon. I can't take much more of this.
I spoke at the NAMI meeting the other night, and it went pretty well. I really only got a chance to tell the first part of my story but I had a lot of people give me positive feedback afterwards.
The thing is, I am not doing so well even though I can hold it together to do something like speak at a NAMI meeting. I've been missing a day of work every week for three weeks. I can't get out of bed because I'm so exhausted. I'm taking so much medication - too much. It doesn't always work to make me sleep anyway. I want to talk to my doctor when I see him this week about getting off some of the meds.
I frankly hate Clozaril. It has led to my mom constantly telling me I seemed drugged and like I don't care about my appearance. It has led people on the phone at work accuse me of being drunk because my speech was slurred. It makes me drool, which is disgusting. It doesn't get rid of all the auditory hallucinations, but it does cut down on them. That's the only good thing I can say about it.
I also found out that Clozaril can cause Lupus, and guess what? I have Lupus. I had it before taking this drug though. So I have an inkling that being on this drug is making the Lupus worse. Would that not make logical sense? Why should I keep taking this medication?
I forgot to get a new prescription for Clozaril blood work to be done. I was supposed to do that last week. And since I forgot, I'll be running out of Clozaril because they won't refill it without the bloodwork. I'm thinking perhaps this is a good thing.
I'm feeling at times like I should go back to the hospital I was in last year and just give up on all of this trying to function like a "normal" person. I can't seem to do this normalcy thing too well. I really need help cleaning my apartment and I have nobody who will do that. It's not that I am just lazy, I have the negative symptoms of psychosis, like apathy and withdrawal, and it becomes an overwhelming task to consider cleaning. I explained this to my newest case manager and she was going to contact someone who might be willing to clean for me for 10 dollars an hour, like my friend used to do, but then she never got back to me about it.
I hate having no internet or TV at home. I could live without the TV, but without the internet it's such a lonely, boring situation to be in. So for that reason, I've been spending a lot of time at McDonald's (like right now) because they have free WiFi here.
If you know of any affordable (cheap) internet service providers, please let me know. Brighthouse wants $450 from me which I do not have so that is why it was cut off about seven weeks ago. I need to find some other way of accessing the internet from home.
In other news, and this is good news, the co-author and illustrator of my book, Episodes of Schizophrenia has created this excellent website about it: www.episodesofschizophrenia.com
Leslie - your comment prompted me to warn you of some things.......
1. Most people come here to die. So if you are younger and live here, you will be seriously outnumbered and things like money for education will be underfunded since the voters are octogenarians.
2. Mental Health System Totally Sucks. We've been rated 50th and I think, more recently, 49th out of the 50 states when it comes to mental health funding. It is HORRIBLE. There are no state hospital beds, few crisis center beds, and lengthy waiting lists at all community mental health centers. The Short-Term Rehabilitation programs we used to have - the program that actually *saved my life* by keeping me hospitalized for six months, no longer exists. It doesn't exist anywhere in the entire state, because that is how much the Florida legislature cares about mental health funding. In other words, they do not give a shit.
3. It's hotter than hell all year around. You don't get to see the seasons ever change.
4. The governor is a MORON named Rick Scott and most likely the next governor will be Charlie Crist, a Republican turned pseudo-dem and not the woman who SHOULD be elected, Nan Rich, because people in the Democratic Party are not supporting her enough and she has fewer dollars behind her to get herself elected than Crist has for himself. Oh, and she doesn't hide that she's pro-choice.
5. The tourists. They love it here. They're annoying.
6. Disneyworld is SERIOUSLY overrated, especially if you have Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder - nightmarish scenarios ensue there.
7. The beach is really only good for getting your skin burned and giving you skin cancer. (A misconception about "Floridians is that we all love the beach. We don't.)
8. People from Canada drive 30 miles an hour when the speed limit is 70.
9. There is a Walmart on every street corner. But I guess that's true of the entire USA now.
10. Legislature doesn't care about women, or health care, or anything really, really important to many of us. But, hey, we have the Rays games to distract us from that.
11. Racism. Abundant. Trayvon Martin. Need I say more?
12. They let people like Casey Anthony walk free here.
13. The death penalty is in full force if you're poor and black. Not so much for pretty white girls who kill their daughters though.
14. Eatonville, home of the legendary American novelist Zora Neale Hurston, is not preserved in her name. It is a run-down dump and there isn't even a statue of her there. It is no coincidence that she was black and died here in a poor house.
15. We have really giant roaches called Palmetto Bugs and they are seriously disgusting.
16. The number of nursing homes full of people abandoned by their northern families is depressing as hell.
17. I'm probably forgetting a few things. May edit this later.
Meanwhile, you have been warned. Of course Florida has its good qualities too. But I'm not a big fan of the state I live in.
I'm the speaker this coming Thursday night at the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Pinellas monthly education meeting. We'll be showing the documentary Out of the Shadow, which I have liked for years, as it is about a woman living with Schizophrenia. I will be speaking after the film about my experiences with this ever-so-lovely illness. I am trying to get the word out because we don't always get the best attendance at these meetings, and the film we're showing *(and I hope some of whatever I say) is really worthwhile should you be interested in mental health.
So please come on out to the Suncoast Hospice at 5771 Roosevelt Blvd, Room 100, in Clearwater, at 7:00 on Thursday.
If you're inclined to throw tomatoes or harass people feel free to stay home. :)