When you have a mental illness, it can be hard to look at things positively. This is especially true if you suffer from depression as by its nature, you will tend to have a negative outlook on life. But always remember that no matter how bad things are, they could always be a lot worse. Also, there are people in the world who are much worse off than you. I have never done drugs, which helps a lot. Drugs change the chemistry of the brain. My condition could be a lot worse if I had done drugs. When I was hospitalised, I met and befriended some other patients, including a girl much younger than me who heard voices. She still heard them, despite being on many different medications. While psychotic episodes are terrifying, I am grateful that I don’t hear voices as it sounds like a problem that is much worse to deal with than psychotic episodes, which can be treated with the medication which I was prescribed.
Humans often attach labels on things. The term ‘schizophrenia’ sounds scary but when I lifted the lid and actually examined how it impacted upon me, I realised that it wasn’t as bad as I originally thought. One of the hardest things for me to accept is that my condition has affected my memory and cognitive functioning with each psychotic episode. However, I have to focus on what I am able to do, rather than what I am not, which includes practicing law. I have discovered gardening, which was great therapy for me during such a difficult period of my life, including one of great sadness when my father passed away. For awhile, I operated a small nursery out of home and therefore learnt how to run a business. I developed a gardening blog and became very active on social media, which was a huge learning curve. I have since turned my gardening blog Anita’s Garden into a platform called In the Circle, which enables me to share my thoughts on different topics in the format of a lifestyle magazine.
While my condition has changed the course of my life dramatically, I found the courage to carry on. Like I said in an earlier post, I’m always looking for alternatives so I don’t feel that I’ve had to make too many compromises or miss out on too much in life.