Mental Illness Recovery Series: Story # 27

This is an anonymous story of the Mental Illness Recovery Series. She had to deal with horrifying symptoms that took over her life, but with the help of great friends she was able to control her mental disorders. This is her story:

Anonymous is from Coral Springs, Florida, but currently lives in Acworth, GA. She enjoys the Harry Potter Series so much, she has read it at least five times. She also loves Doctor Who and reads about string theory and parliamentary procedure on her free time. Although she has stopped putting time limits in her goals, she would like to either finish grad school or work in a community mental health clinic.

Anonymous was diagnosed by a psychiatrist and still struggles with schizoaffective disorder and bipolar type II. Her first episode was caused after a stressful fight with her mother. Her psychiatrist prescribed her 400 mg of Seroquel. She suffered horrifying symptoms. Anonymous said:

“It started with paranoia – I became convinced cameras were recording me. Then I thought demons were watching me. I woke up in the middle of the night in complete terror, and couldn’t go back to sleep. I started hearing noises and voices. I heard footsteps, doors opening and closing, alarms, and whispering. I saw “shadow people”, bugs, and other weird things. I thought all of it was real. I became obsessed with demons and the supernatural (I held no believe in spirits previous). I believed a demon, named Jessop, was attacking me spiritually.”

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Not only that but, she had suicidal thoughts and self-harmed. But thankfully her fear of going to hell stopped her from committing suicide. The reason anonymous wanted to kill herself was because she had intrusive thoughts about hurting others, being afraid she thought dying was the best way to prevent herself from acting upon it.

This affected her daily life in many ways. She was in college and had a 4.0 GPA she could no longer keep. Anonymous couldn’t think and focus in school anymore. She no longer understood anything that was happening in class and lost all motivation for life. Anonymous became socially withdrawn and didn’t understand that something was wrong, she just felt weird. She withdrew herself from her friends, she said, “I had been going to my best friend’s house twice a week for dinner and a TV show, and I stopped completely. I turned off my phone so people couldn’t reach me.” Even though she was acting strange her friends stayed close to her and tried to give her support.

This made anonymous feel terrible, she said, “I felt desperate, frustrated, and sad. I kept saying “I’m different now” and was convinced people would no longer want to be friends with me.” The turning point to control her mental disorders was her best friend, who knew what was happening. She took time off work to accompany anonymous to see a psychiatrist, and explained what was happening with her friend. Thanks to this the psychiatrist prescribed anti-psychotics, making anonymous feel like a whole new person a week later.

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The strategies she used to control her mental disorders is to go to  psychosocial rehabilitation every two weeks. She also goes to support group meetings almost every night. When anonymous is not hallucinating and stable she writes to herself notes in a journal to remind herself that that Jessop is not real. She surrounded herself with friends that cared about her. She said, “My best friend called and checked on me every day, asking, “How are you feeling today?” I would tell her all the craziness, and she would say “Just hold on. Please. Just hold on. It’ll get better.” My other friends called regularly as well. One of them told me, “We are not going to let you lose yourself.” They came to my house, the brought me food, they helped me with school, and kept an eye on me.”

Anonymous learned that with the help of great friends you can overcome anything. This experience changed her outlook in life. She now appreciates the good moments in life and understands that bad days will pass. This is her advice for others struggling with similar situations:

“Find a couple of people you trust that you can be open with. Find a psychiatrist. Take advantage of prescription patient assistance programs if you can’t afford the medication. Educate yourself as much as you can. Don’t give up. You WILL get better.

When life is good, say ‘thank you’ and celebrate. When life is bad, say ‘thank you’ and grow.”

I am glad anonymous was able to gain back control over her life. Her story is proof that with determination and a support group anything is possible. Help me make a difference by sharing your story.

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