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The last time I went to a therapist was back in 2006 or 2007.  I was actively psychotic at the time and the therapist did all he could, within his limited power, to get me the help I needed. He was able to get me to a psychiatrist, but I have no idea what the psychiatrist’s recommendations were, because I never saw her again.  Also, I know the drill, say you are not a danger to yourself or others and there isn’t much they can do. After the appointment with the psychiatrist, I think I saw the therapist one last time, and then I quit going. I eventually got treatment for the psychosis, but it was in the E.R. and I struggled way too long.

The problem with the therapist was that I have a negative view of therapists in general. My original psychotic break involved a relationship to a therapist, and all the toxins from that experience are still actively living in my psyche.  She was as unethical as they come.  Some of my psychiatrists over the years have speculated that I wouldn’t have developed full blown schizophrenia if I was not exposed to the trauma this therapist caused. That oath about do no harm, I discovered in the worst possible way, that some people don’t take that sentiment seriously.

I realize that having a whole treatment team is a positive and necessary experience for many people and keeps them functioning at their highest level. There are many people that go to a psychiatrist, a therapist, support groups, and other professionals in order to stay on top of their illness. I am all for the best possible treatment for the individual. I think individuals need to figure out what combination of treatments work the best for them, and then build that team, environment, or whatever. Do what works.

I have created a type of treatment team that works for me, but is a little bit different. I see my psychiatrist regularly. I don’t mess around with my medications, or my health. I get my blood work done a couple of times a year, and take the recommendations of my doctor. There is no fooling around for me in this area.  I have only missed one dose of my medications in the past eight to nine years and that was a complete accident.  I simply forgot.

In terms of therapy, the best therapy for me is to keep an active mind; a mind that is not focused on my illness but on productivity. That is where writing comes in. I use the money that I would normally spend on a therapist, for a writing coach and writing mentors.  I work the best when I am held accountable to someone else, so a writing coach works to help me try to develop some discipline. Mentors (mine recently passed away) help me learn about the craft of writing and help me to become better at the way I put words on a page. My mentor, when he was alive, also gave me encouragement and support. I need someone to tell me I am good enough. I need someone to tell me I have potential. I need someone to say, “That is terrific!” And encourage me to send my work off to a magazine, or journal.

My support group happens to be a few writers that I am close to that I can send work to and ask them to critique. They also send me their work, and ask for my edits and opinion. We help each other out in any way we can, but it is all related to writing and not mental illness.

Lastly, my husband and I have created a therapeutic environment for me to live in. We consider my symptoms and try to create a routine for me that will minimize my being overwhelmed by my illness. It doesn’t always work, but I have found that nothing in terms of schizophrenia works one hundred percent of the time.

Just like everyone else on the planet, I am doing the best I can to survive. I am living day to day, and for the most part it works, not perfectly, but perfection is a matter of perception, and I like to think positively. I’m going to say, I have it better than most, and that is stunning coming from someone with schizophrenia.