It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and today in particular is World Schizophrenia and Psychosis Awareness Day.
Psychosis is a terrifying word, isn’t it?
I have schizoaffective disorder, which basically means I have a mood disorder (in my case, major depression) and I have also separately suffered psychotic symptoms. I was diagnosed with major depression first, after a slow descent into darkness over the course of 2011 that cumulated in a suicide attempt in on New Year’s Day of 2012. Summer of 2016, I suffered my first major psychotic break with reality. As of today, I have had four significant psychotic breaks with reality, each spanning the course of about 3-5 days.
In what I consider my worst break in April of 2018, I left my apartment half-naked, got in my car, and drove until I ran out of gas on the access road. Police were called to the scene, and I was dragged kicking and screaming into an ambulance. As terrifying as that was, it was the best possible outcome that I could have hoped for. There are people out there with my illness who have wound up in similar situations and have not been nearly as fortunate. They are the heart of why I’m writing this.
I’ve been blessed with supportive family and friends. I am lucky in that my medication has, for the most part, worked very well for me. I’ve been consistently employed full-time for almost four years. I’m making it. I’m doing okay.
But for the people who suffer from psychosis who are not okay, support is needed. Donations to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) are being matched during Mental Health Awareness Month. If you have the means, I urge you to support them. NAMI has provided education, resources, and help to me and others living with mental illness.