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Welcome to Belovedgems, a blog about building a bridge between faith and mental health. The author rooted in her faith , her old-soul leads her into adventures to seek spreading hope into the world through a couple of written words.

Living with Schizophrenia

By: Alex Marie Phillips

I’ve been told that there’s a 75% chance I’ll never be able to have a normal job- that I’ll have to find something unimportant, low stress and low demand to do with my life. To this, I say just watch me try.

On 18th October 2014 I ended up in Accident and Emergency with several kidney issues, and while being treated for these, doctors noticed that there was something wrong that was not physical. I had pressured speech, and could hear things in my head that weren’t there. I was quickly sent to see a psychiatrist, who told me it looked as if I had a Schizophrenic episode, with bipolar tendencies.

Even though I was out of hospital within a month, I was signed off of work; forced to leave college, and my part time job. This was probably the hardest part of it all, everything was halted, leaving me with very little purpose, and even less to do day to day.

In October 2015, I got the official diagnosis of Schizophrenia with bipolar tendencies and given a three-year suspected recovery. Somehow having a name for the condition I have suffered with for years, has made it a lot easier to deal.

Now, in December 2015, I’m saying stuff it to a three-year recovery. I’ve spent the past year hating my illness because it was forcing me into a life I do not like, so from 2016- I’m living my life. I start volunteer work in January, and I’m pushing my blog so that one day I can fulfill my dream of writing for a living. I say no more, to the idea of recovering from home, living each week from one hospital appointment to another, and instead, I’m going to recover at the center of my community. I even hope to start doing some work locally raising awareness to Schizophrenia.

I understand that my illness may in some ways restrict me, but I plan on living my life to the point where my body tells me I cannot do anymore. I am not going to sit around avoiding things because some doctor or nurse or average person has told me I can’t do something because of my illness. I will try everything I want to do and let my condition and myself decide whether or not I am capable of doing it.
Schizophrenia has such a stigma to it, hearing it being discussed when they were first assessing me was terrifying. What do you think of when you think Schizophrenia? Violence? Institutions? Murderers? To begin with I thought of similar things, but I learnt very quickly, that though I carry the Schizophrenia label, very little of the connotations apply to me. I’m not violent if anything I’m the opposite. I internalize a lot of my emotion, have a bad habit of going completely mute when my emotions get to high, and get quite nervous around people due to the added noise within my head. I’ve never been in trouble with the police, never been institutionalized, and most am not a murderer.

What I’m trying to get at here is not all Schizophrenics fit into the neat little box that the media tries to fit us all in. Each of us shows our illness in different ways, and with many you wouldn’t even know if we didn’t tell you. I’m open about my condition now, to try and prove the point that you shouldn’t judge us; you should look at a person’s character and not on the label a psychiatrist has given them.

I am determined to conquer this stigma, and be who I want to be, achieve what I want to achieve. I’m throwing away the list of ‘suitable jobs’ for people with my condition and I will go into the industry that I want. You cannot allow an illness or mental health condition dictate to you what your life is going to involve; you have to choose your path for yourself.

Alex is a newbie blogger over at Angel Wings and Petti Coats and is trying to raise awareness about Schizophrenia at the same time as blogging about life in general.  She is a HUGE bookworm, who also loves to write with a good coffee, surrounded by a dog and two gerbils. She’s currently using her time to study for a degree in Classics, while expanding her library of read books, and volunteering for mental health charities. You can connect with Alex on Twitter , and Instagram.
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