Healthfulness

Hi everyone, I’m just writing to update you further on my progress, to describe signs of that progress. I just went to the doctor because I was experiencing abdominal pain and was worried about my health. So why do I call that health? Simple: I never would have done this previously, even if I had thought it quite serious. Once I had a skin rash from an egg allergy I had just developed and I waited months to go to the doctor. When I finally went my eyes were swollen shut. The doctor had asked me why I had waited so long. I didn’t want to go into it, but I knew from my research that this is common with schizophrenia. We don’t always take care of ourselves.

Fast forward to yesterday. They did a thorough exam and told me that I was perfectly healthy, aside from the mental health issues (which I medicate away), plus some of the side effects of my medication, such as being a little overweight and occasional stomach/abdominal pain. I was happy to be able to go to the doctor because when I’m on less medicine I generally don’t. I hadn’t been in a long time. Even if my problems were quite serious. I have had very little instinct toward self-preservation. The extreme of this is seen when people stop taking their medication, wander away from home, and then lose track of themselves and end up living on the street. It is very hard to maintain personal hygiene once one stops. One man I know with schizophrenia broke his leg, opted not to have surgery, which can be especially stressful on an already taxed nervous system, and so his leg healed bent. Up until I went up on my medicine, I would have also dreaded surgery. Everything seems more manageable now.

Watching my wellness…

The hardest thing about mental illness is the beginning of life with it, which for me took place in my late 20’s. The issues stem from this, and Kay Redfield Jamison talks about this in her book An Unquiet Mind: when we get well again, we don’t realize that we can also get ill again, and then we stop taking our medicine. And get ill again.

But something else can happen. When we get well for a period of time, we’re so obsessed with the possibility of a relapse that we bring it out in ourselves or fail to enjoy the good times because we know that they won’t be permanent.

I am doing really well right now. I have been for several weeks, with a few difficult times here and there. And so I’m taking the opportunity to write about my joy of watching my wellness, knowing that it may not last forever, but that indeed things are really nice right now. And that it is okay to be grateful.