I wanted to write a post about how I have tried to deal with schizophrenia over the years. Also what advice I would have give to myself in the past so I could give it to myself now. Hope that makes sense.
This post is more for myself than anyone else. I am not a professional and every thing here should be taken with a pinch of salt.
This is so so important. This is something I have struggled with to this day. My mind seems to get very busy when I try to go to sleep, I like to imagine story’s where I have special abilities and can do cool things. I could literally stay up all hours of the morning imagining these things. At one stage I had a iPod with hypnotherapy recorded on to it that used to play all night. I would usually relax and listen to it and fall asleep. I also had some heavy metal music on it. I once was woken up by a voice in my mind giving out about it and to turn off the music, odd experience to say the least.
In an effort to deal with my busy mind I started blanking my mind, sort of pretending to be asleep. I have gotten good at this and can fall asleep easily enough, unfortunately my dreams and nightmares wake me up very easily or any sound around the place. Not sure how to fix this and would welcome any advice, trying meditation on and off at the moment. I also like to play some sounds of the jungle, I let my mind wonder for the length of this then do my best to go to sleep as soon as it is finished. Its like I made a deal with my mind think about anything while sounds play then straight to sleep.
When my illness was very bad I would wake up to some very strange scenes usually about witches and the like I never figured out how to deal with these. Other than acknowledge they are not real and I might need to change my meds.(edit 23/07/17 Noticed people reading these older posts with out looking at newer ones. So I just wanted to note my first therapist suggested giving suggestions to my dream self like I will have good positive dreams etc. I do a little meditation and give these suggestions to myself and they work a treat about 90 odd percent of my dreams are good and I generally sleep fine but still wake up early and have vivid dreams there just not nightmares anymore that said any noise outside etc. Will wake me up. Seriously would recommend meditation, just 20 mins in morning and evening can really help me through tough patchs).
I think I have gotten used to getting less sleep. I go to bed early enough to try to make up for the fact I will wake a few times a night. Unfortunately I can wake around 4 or 5 in the morning sometimes I can go back to sleep but usually wake quickly as my mind gets very busy when I sleep. Sometimes trying to function on less sleep can be very challenging, and a tired mind does not help with anyone’s mental health.
They gave me sleeping pills for a while but these where like taking smarties and had no effect after a while. When I really struggle to sleep I find meditation usually gets me to doze off.
In summery sleep is very important you should do what you can to get a good nights sleep.
Asking For Help is fine:
When I was really suffering I did not ask for help and was in a really bad state. I left it really late to get help and then ended up on the institutionalized by choice in the public care system in Ireland, as I thought I was a danger to those around me, ( In truth the only person I was a danger to was myself ). I found the public system in Ireland terrible I came out worse than I went in. No one explained to me what I was going through. I digress if you ask for help and do not get it keep looking in different places, I got some better advice in the private health care system but still found this to be lacking again no one really sat me down and explained to me what was going on but to be fair I was very quite and internalized everything so did not help myself.
I started looking online myself at first did not find anything interesting but eventually did start to find useful information, Like what Counselling service locally deal with my illness, I am trying to make an effort to meet this person once a month, I have found it useful to talk about my condition, and have found some of the things I go through are not that unusual, and what I would consider normal people can experience these as well to some extent.
I also found it somewhat useful to discuss some of my symptoms with family members, but they have there own problems so I do not use this avenue to much but again it can be useful.
I found a local support group online and went for a while and stopped but plan to go again, People should be aware that you can hear some heavy stuff at these meet ups, which can be a trigger for your own problems, but it can be useful to meet people going through similar things.
Always ask for help when your in trouble either your GP or family member, and remember if they do not give you a good response just look elsewhere.
Don’t be afraid to take medication it has definitely helped me a lot it. To offset some off the main symptoms but don’t expect it to fix everything I would definitely recommend finding someone to talk to regularly that you are comfortable with to help put things in perspective.
I find eating healthy and exercise helps with your mental health a lot, I find running great but find what works for you. I would definitely recommend something in the fresh air – I started out just walking with my dog . Also given the effects of anti psychotics on the body I would definitely recommend it as I gained a lot of weight at first with them and took best part of a year to work it off. I guess I can live with being heavy but given a choice I would chose to be lighter makes my running a lot easier. Also setting small goals along the way is useful, helps keep you focused when you exercise. There is a link to a sight I find useful below, I think you click on text and then the link that pops up, not sure have not done this before.
I have started policing my thoughts a lot and just making myself let things go. Its like taking note of a thought and seeing if this thought helps with your mental health or not. If I find a thought goes down a negative road I do my best to put it out off my head, This can be a difficult exercise but well worth the effort. I find singing songs in my head a useful exercise to achieve this but again find what works for you.
I have started trying to engage with the voices in a positive way. To mimic what I saw in a ted talk I saw somewhere on word press. The link below express this idea much better than I can. I found this woman very interesting and articulate.
OK nearly finished, seriously impressed if your still reading to this point.
I find the music and radio very useful but there can be a lot of negative stuff on the radio so I find spotify extremely useful as my music taste various on my mood and if you are willing to pay for it you get no adds, And playlists for various moods are again very useful. I listen to music in the background for just about everything. As I imagine most people know its a great pick me up.
I also find having a routine very useful work at certain times, run at certain times and same with eating and life in general, but I still have days when I struggle to make it through the day, When this happens to me I just set my sights at certain times during the day 11:00 , 1:00 and 3:00 and don’t think past these times what so ever just focus on making it to these times.
Also jotting down your thoughts at the end of the day can be useful.
Well that all I can think of for know and again I am not a professional so take everything in this with a pinch of salt and what works for me may not work for some one else.
Hope this post finds you well.
Keep up the good fight.