I’ve recently gone way up on my medication, almost doubling my antipsychotic, and my life has returned to the normal it was 10 years ago. Who would have thought that going up on medicine could be so transformational. My mom got me a beautiful sapphire ring for Christmas and I have made a rule to myself: as long as I’m on my medicine at xyz amount, then I will continue to wear the ring, and I also won’t go down on my medicine as long as I’m wearing it. The trick: I want to keep wearing it!

The hard thing about medication with schizophreniform disorders is that people get better with their medication and then go off of it. Or reduce it again. And then the problems come up again. So you really need to work with your doctor to change the medicine if you do change it, and in my opinion, one should try not to change it. My ring is my reminder that my wellness is due to a lot of things, and foremost among them, it is due to medication.

For me, this decision not to change my medication means I have had to change my way of being in the world. My doctor told me that there is a medicine that reduces the amount of weight you gain on my antipsychotic, which is lovely, and so it is all becoming more manageable.

The hardest transition for me has been not being the life of the party anymore. Yes I was manicky, but I didn’t see it that way. I saw myself as vivacious and entertaining, and I miss that, especially as a teacher.

As a teacher I’m doing a lot more project based learning over the direct instruction I used to excel at. The added and unexpected benefit to this is that this actually holds students’ attention and their intrinsic interest better. Furthermore they are more thoughtful in their interactions with me. I’m really enjoying teaching again, although I’m a completely different teacher.

If you’re just barely surviving and are isolated, then consider trying other medications if at all possible. If that doesn’t work, then do what I did for 6 years and learn to embrace where you are right now with grace, and don’t give up hope and gratitude for your life, your past, and your future. The mind responds to God’s grace in our lives and, paired with medication, which for me is essential, we can be a gift to the world. You are not a burden, you are a blessing.

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