Archive for coping with Schizoaffective Disorder


Mortenson and the people he's helped

So I have another week of student teaching under my belt.  It’s going pretty well so far.  I am settling in, which is good news considering that I was consumed by doubts and uncertainties before taking on this latest challenge.  With Dr. Levinson, I have paralleled this challenge with when I started my first graduate program back in ’05.  I had been in an inpatient treatment program and was making great progress.  The jump to higher education would not only mean leaving Union House, a place I had grown very accustomed to, but also academic rigors I had net yet faced.  I was consumed with doubts and negativity but I decided to give this new undertaking a go.  And once I got started and immersed into the program, got used to dorm life, again, and met great people; I realized for the first time what I was capable of.

Student teaching has caused another similar realization.  I can be productive at 7 am after a nightly dose of Seroquel.  I can be both engaging and strict while maintaining my good humor.  I can discipline without being overbearing.  I can be respectable and imposing at the same time, and I can help kids learn and grasp new information in a thoughtful and introspective way.  If I couldn’t do any of these things after two weeks of student teaching, I would be once again, looking for another career.

We are currently on spring break and a few weeks after we return, I am going to be teaching the book Three Cups of Tea.  It is about a mountain climber turned philanthropist who makes it his life’s work to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan after villagers from Korphe nurse him back to health following his failed attempt to climb K2.  Greg Mortenson fell in love with the people and their customs, and believed the best way to fight terrorism and extremism is through education.  He has been remarkably successful with his endeavors.

Reading the moving book has inspired me to think philanthropical as well.  As I read I thought, wouldn’t it be great to give back to a community in need the way Greg gave to the people in the book?  I thought about all the doctors that helped me along the way, all the people whose stories I internalized, all the therapeutic places I stayed.  My road to a complete recovery was a long and at times, treacherous one, but it was a successful journey.  I was able to find salvation in a mental health system that fired on all cylinders.

I was driving in the car with my dad following a round of golf on our first 70 degree day of the spring and I told him about my epiphany while reading the book.  “I think that’s a great idea,” he said.  “You could speak to people who are coming through the same system that you endured years ago.  Maybe your way in is to write a book.  You should write down your experiences and try to publish something,” he said.

I didn’t want to tell him that I already have written down most of what I went through during my psychosis and the years that followed.  I don’t know if I’m ready for it to be published, maybe that’s why I kept it to myself.  I do have a voice and I am searching for a forum in which it can best be heard.  This is one way to get my story out, but I want to make a wide-scale difference like Mortenson has. 

I don’t think now is the time to start moving mountains.  Most of my focus these days is on trying to establish myself in the teaching world, but one day, I want my voice to be heard so that others experiencing setbacks due to mental illness can better cope with what they are experiencing and hope for a better tomorrow.


Giving Back…

So I talked to Dr. Levinson about my in-class dilemma the other day. He said that there are times and places when disclosing one’s illness becomes comfortable and even necessary, and that a classroom filled with my peers might not have been the best venue. I agreed with him, but our conversation did beg an important question. I wanted to hear from the veteran doctor about the various patients he has treated over the years. I guess what I wanted to know was whether or not there was truth the what my classmates were saying about mental illness. Is the prognosis for all mentally ill patients dire and dark? Am I an anomaly? Are we all just waiting for me to slip back into psychosis one day?

Thankfully, the doctor alleviated my concerns. He said that the type of patients one treats depends on where he practices. When he was practicing at Psych Rehab, where I started my treatment, Levinson saw mostly patients with negative symptoms which include lack of motivation, improper hygiene and a great deal of what he termed deterioration. He said that with each episode, the brain can recoil from the trauma which causes patients with deterioration to come back a shell of their former selves. Patients that have had ten or twelve episodes can no longer function because of the trauma to the brain. Levinson said that I have never shown any signs of deterioration, that my brain is in tacked and that I shouldn’t ever experience any negative symptoms.

To answer the more important question, the doctor said that since he started his private practice, he has seen many patients like me, that recover completely with therapy and medication. “You are not an anomaly, Josh,” he assured me. I felt great hearing that. He said that about one-third of his patients recover completely, one-third recover partially, and one-third have a hard time functioning. I was glad that he could put me up against other patients he had treated and give me a realistically good prognosis. The clients I have seen at Rehab frighten me. They are disheveled and dirty and often mumble incoherently to themselves. I was glad to know that in time, I would not end up like them.

I met with my medication doctor yesterday and he informed me that he is doing research on individuals coping well with their diagnoses. He invited me to come and speak to a group of Psych residents who have had limited contact with patients with mental illness. Most of their training has been in methodology and research, so to hear a real patient talk about his experiences will be beneficial to them. I felt honored that the doctor would consider me for this talk. He told me that I have a good handle on things and that I am very intelligent and articulate about my past symptoms and my present state. I jumped at the offer. I can’t wait. It is my way of giving back to the Psychiatric Community that served me so completely and effectively over the years.

Uncle Walt

For my last grad class we are reading classic poetry and I happened upon a poem by Walt Whitman called To a Stranger from his masterpiece Calamus. After reading it for the first time, it didn’t really grab my attention, but after discussing the poem as a class and being enlightened by other English minds–the poem definitely resonated with me.

Coping with my illness hasn’t been easy, sometimes I feel like I’m doomed and I refer to my psychotic experiences as being part of my plight. The biggest hurdle I had to overcome early on was letting go of my past. During my rambunctious teenage years, I hung with a fast crowd and did fast things. I drank too much, slept too little and experimented too much. As a result, I was disillusioned and confused as a young man.

I realized early on in my recovery that my old friends, guys who still drink heavily, were in fact triggers and sources of stress that hindered my continued recovery. As a result, I cut ties with almost all of them. I don’t know if this was a harsh decision. I probably would have found a way to cope with having them around if I really tried, but the easy way out in this case was my way out.

I miss them. I’ve seen one or two of them on the street in the city at different times and was forced to completely ignore them. How strange that felt, for both of us if they in fact saw me too. I stopped calling them or contacting them and my only interaction with the old group of guys was at our ten-year high school reunion two years ago, and at a friend’s golf outing once a summer.

Then this poem struck me and it captivated the way I feel about these lost and fractured relationships. Whitman wrote:

“You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me,/I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become not yours/only nor left my body mine only,/You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass, you take/of my beard, breast, hands in return,/I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or/wake at night alone,/I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,/I am to see to it that I do not lose you.”

A lot of my fellow students said that they thought Walt was creepy by writing all of this about a stranger, but a few felt that maybe he knew the subject of this poem. That was how I read it, that he knew the person he was writing about but had damaged their relationship so irreparably that he couldn’t even bring himself to interact with him/her.

I have dreams where I’m walking through my old high school cafeteria and I pass a table that is occupied by all of my old buddies. I look at them, they look at me and I just raise up and hand and say, “hi,” and then walk off. Is there still a connection? Is there still a bond between some of us, any of us? Has time and my psychotic past damaged the relationships irreparably? I don’t know the answer to any of those questions.

The only way to find the answer is to try to rekindle these ancient connections. I think about coming forth to the old guys with everything I’ve been through, my run-ins with the law, my multiple trips across country, my peculiar behavior, but what good would it do? I still have to sit at bars with them and stare at my glass of water while they pound Vodka and Red Bull. I still have to stand idly by while they pick a fight with the guys standing at the pool table. I’m not that person anymore, nor will I ever be.

So my contact with the old guys is through my words on this page. It is an inhuman contact, one that once was but will probably never be again. How sad that makes me. I think of them like Uncle Walt does his stranger; we once were companions but now mere faceless memories.


I just saw an intense and very disturbing movie called Brothers starring Toby McGuire and Natalie Portman. The storyline was gripping and the acting was superb. It was about a Captain in the Marines who has to leave his young family behind as he is sent to fight in Afghanistan. While overseas, he encounters a problem with insurgents and is ultimately taken captive. Back home in Minnesota, his wife thinks he is dead and she tries to move on with a great deal of support from the Marine’s brother. The climax builds as the captain eventually returns home only to suffer from post traumatic stress symptoms, turning on the family that he loved and trusted with all of his heart.

The themes in the film were especially poignant to me considering the reality that many individuals, after experiencing a psychotic break, can suffer from similar post traumatic stress symptoms upon attempting to return to functionality. I explained this fact to my wife as we sat in the theater, discussing the movie well after the curtain was drawn. She asked me if I ever suffered from similar symptoms and delusions following my psychotic break in 2003, and I told her, luckily, that I had not.

I feel extremely fortunate to have transitioned to a long and meaningful recovery immediately following treatment for my diagnosed illness. I told my wife that the events surrounding my break which included breaking into a house in West Texas and spending several nights sleeping on the concrete floor of a holding cell were extremely traumatic, and could have resulted in long-lasting symptoms after I tried to reenter civilization. But they did not. Why I took to the treatment so well and completely is inexplicable. The staff at the psychiatric rehabilitation center that I have been attending since 2004 says that I am an anomaly. Some professionals feel that it has been my support systems that has worked so incredibly well in my favor, that is to say a supportive and understanding wife, and knowledgeable and concerned parents… For whatever reason, I have responded to medication and therapy extremely well and continue to move forward with both. The biggest thing that I have yet to accomplish regarding my recovery is substantial full-time work. I am embarking on that challenge this fall when I interview for full-time teaching positions following graduation from my current Masters program.

It was last week during my therapy session that I reflected on another movie I saw recently, Up In the Air, with George Clooney. I tried to relate Clooney’s character to the type of professional I hope to become. Although he was the anti-hero in the film, playing a character with no regard for the emotional well-being of the many people he hurt, he knew his role in the work place and carried out his role as a professional who fires people for a living, extremely well. He knew how to think on his feet and attack each potential problem with confidence and sureness.

My therapist thought that I was missing an important message from the movie which was that Clooney’s character was never one to be admired, and that the man behind the suit and tie lacked all moral fabric and empathy for the people he regularly hurt. I tried to explain to my doctor that I wasn’t identifying with his professional position, just with his competency and great ability at what he did for a living.

Two things are really important to me as I embark on a teaching career: one is that I know what I am doing and that I am good at what I do, two qualities I felt Clooney’s character exhibited throughout the film; and the other is that I love and am passionate about what I do, qualities he failed to display at any point of the movie. So part of me did identify with his character, and the other part of me failed to see in him a person who was truly content with his life’s work, which is extremely important in my world.

I haven’t written in a while because nothing has really come up. I’m still planning on downloading pictures from my honeymoon so that you can get a sense of the mind numbing adventures we had in Maui. I’m adjusting to married life and it hasn’t been completely smooth sailing. I’m still getting used to calling Jamie my wife and trying to get my mind around the fact that she now has my last name. I thought that the step to move in together, which we took over a year ago, was the biggest step we’ve taken thus far. I figured that our marriage was a legal thing and not much of a transition or adjustment, but it is both of those things. I’m getting used to thinking as a couple and transitioning to our growing identity together separate from my firm individual identity that I have developed over the last 30 years. We are a unit and have to form our own ideal identity as husband and wife. The important thing though is that our lives as newlyweds have been filled with a great deal of love and a lot of laughter.

Unstructured Time

I’m adjusting to my first week back to snowy Chicago. It has been an adjustment. After you spend a week in paradise, getting back to reality definitely takes its toll. And the adjustment has been especially difficult for me so far. I am 3/4 of the way through a six-week break from school and my graduate assistant position in the Education department.

When I have a lot going on, which is all the time other than winter and spring break, I am functional and busy. I work hard in my classes and diligently complete tasks on the job, but now, nothing is really going on. That’s not to say that I don’t have a lot to do, because I do. I have five books left from a 15 book list given to me by my cooperating teacher for the spring. When I student teach after the winter quarter, I am teaching an independent study where my 7th grade students can choose any of a list of 15 books to read and report on, so I have to have read all 15 by that time. Also, I am taking the last of my state exams on February 13th before I can receive my teaching certificate and I have a list of 30 plus schools that I have to apply to before my student teaching in March. So there is a slew of thing I can and should be doing with my time.

But the idea of winter break has surfaced in my brain which leaves me with heaps of unstructured time. Rather than getting up early, going to work on my applications and plowing through books on the book list, I roll out of bed past noon, watch re-runs of Sportscenter and knock out about 50 pages of my book before even thinking about the other things I have to do. I think this is a product of the Seroquel hangover I feel on most mornings, but it is more a result of the loads of unstructured time I have when I don’t have to be at school or work early in the day.

I’ve talked to my doctor and we are going to try to space out my doses of Seroquel so that I’m not taking all of it before bed. Hopefully that will help a bit. I used to look forward to my cup of coffee each morning, but I have developed a reaction to the acid in coffee so I am no longer able to drink it when I wake up, which makes the prospects of rising early and functioning at a high level even harder to accomplish.

Today was the first day I got up early and got things done. Yesterday and Monday were disaster days where I watched the same episode of Sportscenter like five times. I got a lot of reading done, went to the gym, which always makes me feel good, and went shopping for things we needed in the apartment.

I hope I can start to make better use of my time during the remaining week-and-a-half of my break. I know the stuff will eventually get done, but I will feel much better about it if I”m proactive and working on tasks early each day. When I waste away on the couch, I don’t feel good about myself at all.

Married Life

Well, I tied the knot last Sunday night. The wedding was beautiful which is a testament to Jamie and all of her hard work and tireless planning. Every last detail was carried out to a T, and the wedding and celebration was a night we will never forget.

I know I was ready for this momentous step in our relationship. Never for a second did I second-guessed my decision to spend the rest of my life with Jamie. I do notice my ring finger a little more though. I have never wore rings so the bling on my finger feels a bit heavy and out-of-place. Other than that, everything is great! I also notice others’ rings. I find that I look to see if people I run into have wedding rings on. If they do, I wonder what their wedding was like. Was it as special and unforgettable as ours?

I am posting from Maui. We are on our honeymoon. I found this week, when I am talking to someone else and referring to Jamie as my wife, it is also taking some getting used to. She still signs her receipt with her maiden name because she hasn’t changed her credit cards yet. So I guess it will take some getting used to on both our parts.

The honeymoon has been spectacular. As always, Jamie pushes me to limits I never thought possible. She allows me to explore adventures that previously I would shy away from. Today, for instance, we saw the sunrise from the summit of the largest dormant volcano in the world. From 10,000 feet, I took in a wonder that made me appreciate nature in all its glory. When you see the Hawaiian sunrise from 10,000 feet you forget about everything else. For a moment, you are suspended in time and place totally captivated by what you are seeing which makes all your troubles and concerns an afterthought.

After the sunrise, we biked down the volcano at break-neck speeds. The trip was 30 miles and we did it at about 25 mph. Again, I would never have taken on such an adventure without Jamie coaxing me to do so and challenging me along the way. It was wonderful.

I am enjoying life and am a very fortunate man to have found such an incredible wife that encourages me to explore new heights and accomplish new and challenging feats.

Birthday Thoughts

Well, today is my birthday. I am 31 years-old. I don’t feel any older. After 27, they all feel about the same. I’m now counting down the hours to my wedding which is taking place on Sunday night. This time next week I will be on a beach in Maui for my honeymoon. I can’t wait.

Today was really a day of great reflection. Jamie and I spent the night at her mother’s and I woke up early to the sounds of Jamie’s and Donna’s voices in unison singing ‘happy birthday’ to me. It was funny and heartfelt and I enjoyed it. I’m really looking forward to getting married because I am inheriting a great family. Donna has welcomed me with open arms since the first time I met the family and I can’t wait to call her ‘mom.’

I took this day to reflect on my 20’s and think ahead to what the rest of my 30’s will be like. I’d have to say that my 20’s was a decade of tumult. I spent the first five years floating around without any real responsibilities or goals. The first half of my 20’s could be described as dreams unmet or unfulfilled. Partly because I was young and partly because of the onset of my illness, my dreams were grandiose and pollyannish. I aspired to be a film writer in Hollywood without any real training or effort. And while things might happen that way for a very select few, I had to curtail my dreams to more realistic endeavors as the decade wore on.

After spending some wasted time in my Great Aunt’s West LA mansion trying to make it as a screenwriter, I came home to focus on other ambitions. I thought I would be a firefighter for a while and then settled on Grad School about the time my medication and therapy finally took effect. For the most part though, during my 20’s, I bounced around from one idea to the next without ever really finding a passion or connection with any one dream or aspiration.

Then, when I hit 30, things started to come into focus. I was dating Jamie for a while and realized that I wanted not only to spend the rest of my life with her, but also to start a family with her. I decided that my talents and skills would be best served in the teaching profession, inspiring young children in their academic growth and development. So, for the first time in my life, I had focus and direction.

As the 20’s were years of tumult, my 30’s will be years of great change and variation. Already, within the next 2 to 3 years, I will finally have a career, a new wife and hopefully a child on the way. How could life change any more for me? So how do I prepare for all this? This is a question that keeps my up some nights. There is no blueprint or road map that can guide me on the journey on which I am about to embark. I just have to keep my head and take on each challenge as it comes. I know this sounds like a broken record because I have made reference to confronting challenges in the same way in previous posts, but it’s really all I can do.

I have my brother and brother-in-law as good role models as I watch them take on their challenging fatherly duties when we all get together. If I can be the kind and selfless father that they have become, I will be in good shape. So as I confront this decade of great flux, I hope only that I remain healthy both physically and emotionally so that I can enjoy all life has to offer as a new husband and, one day, a proud and confident father.

Family Bonding

I’ve been busy this past week, preparing for my wedding which is this Sunday night, and repairing one of the family properties with my future brother-in-law, PJ. The property work was rewarding, not only because it required about 30 man hours over the last week, but because it provided PJ and me an opportunity to bond and become closer future brothers. PJ has a very colorful past. He filled the hours scraping glue off of the walls with heat guns by relating wild stories about his teenage years growing up in South Texas. I couldn’t really compare my youth on the North Shore of Chicago with his escapades in the Longhorn State.

The fact that PJ was opening up made me more comfortable sharing some of my personal stories during college and after. As I started to relate some of my history with him, I got all the way up to the point where I nearly failed out of my first school and moved back home at 21 when it dawned on me that I was leading right up to my psychotic period. The only people with whom I have shared these times are my immediate family and Jamie. There was a brief hesitation and then I kind of glossed over the next five years without much detail or emotion. I wanted to tell PJ what I’d been through, I know he would understand and maybe even offer some insight of his own, but for whatever reason, I didn’t think the time was right. Besides, I thought that I would have many other opportunities to open up to him.

Sharing some of our respective pasts definitely brought us closer together over the last week. And working in that dilapidated family room until its walls were clean and painted was rewarding and a bonding experience that I will always remember.

On a separate note, I have had occasional, heart-pounding-out-of-my-chest stress over the past week concerning my impending marriage to Jamie. Not because I’m not ready, or I’m not sure about the union, but because I am entering a new stage of my life. The next several years will probably be the most stressful and joyful years of my life. PJ told me that his marriage to Jamie’s sister has been extremely satisfying and different from anything he experienced previously. While his raucous years in South Texas were fun, his marriage has been something he wouldn’t trade for the world.

So when I have these nervous moments, I think about how my life will change for the better following my wedding. I hope to start a family, hold a steady job and share life with the woman I love. And as long as I stay the course with my treatment and medication, nothing should stand in my way.

After I told Jamie that I almost discussed my psychosis and illness with PJ, she asked me why I hadn’t. I told her that I just wasn’t ready and she told me that if ever I am ready, PJ would be a good person to confide in. He is an understanding and empathic person, so I know she is right. Then she said, “You know, my mom knows quite a bit about what went on when you were sick.” She explained that she had to talk to someone about what I shared with her early on in our relationship, “And she doesn’t judge you for a second.” Jamie also told me that one of her aunts is on antidepressants. Then I told her I was shocked, “She seems so healthy and in good spirits,” I told her. This aunt is her youngest aunt who is usually the life of the party, making jokes and livening the mood at family functions. “Funny,” I said, reflecting on this news, “I never would have guessed that she would have issues with depression.”

Then Jamie, in her encouraging and thoughtful way said, “Do you think people know you have an illness and are on medication when they get to know you?” I thought about this question and then gave an honest answer. “No, I guess not…” “Well, you’re right, they don’t,” She said. And that was one of the best compliments Jamie has ever given me.

Don’t Blink

I was heading into the city on the Kennedy this morning and I caught a panoramic view of the beautiful skyscrapers that paint the Chicago skyline. It was a clear fall day and the buildings looked majestic across the blue sky. I forgot about the stressful wedding preparations and job applications that are constantly hanging over my head these days and admired the Windy City in all its glory. Then a song came on the radio, I was tuned into the country station, a habit I had picked up since my two years at Beloit College in rural Wisconsin where country music was a staple.

A song called Don’t Blink came on and I reflected on some of the lyrics: “Just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap and you wake up and you’re 25 and you’re high school sweetheart become your wife…” I felt like this verse was appropriate for me at the present time. I feel like just yesterday my dad was teaching me how to throw a curve ball in the back yard and in about two weeks I’ll be married. Where has the time gone?

I’ve known Jamie for almost two years and to think that two years can fly by like they have is kind of scary. I remember meeting her, I remember my first impressions of her and to this day sometime when I look at her, it’s as if we just got together. The flame of our love has never burned so strongly. The end of the song goes: “100 years goes faster than you think, Don’t Blink.” My brother-in-law told me yesterday as we were doing some maintenance work on one of the family properties that I should try to take a step back at the wedding and take everything in. I thought that was good advice but I’ve heard that such reflection can be quite daunting given the constant chaos and excitement at big weddings.

So I guess this morning was a time of reflection, a time to take a step back and not only admire the city, but admire my life and the turns it has taken over the last two years. It seems every turn has been for the better and I truly feel like Jamie and I are soul mates. You hear it all the time, but even through the constant confusion and stress surrounding the wedding, Jamie and I find time to take it all in.

Tonight as she dropped me off at my brother-in-law’s house so we could get more work done, we embraced in the driveway. We kissed and comforted each other and the passion and love between us is as strong as it has ever been.

So I’ll try not to blink, but if I do and I wake up years down the road next to Jamie, my love and soul mate, I will consider myself extremely fortunate. Life does go by faster than you think, but with a beautiful and loving person by my side, I’m not worried.

My Friend the Murderer

So I’ve been having these random thoughts. I’m driving home from work and my mind wanders to the face of an old friend. I befriended this guy named Rob when I was doing an outpatient program just after my diagnosis. We were both staying in a halfway house in Chicago. We became fast friends because we had a lot in common. We were about the same age, in our mid-twenties, from the suburbs of Chicago and die-hard Chicago sports fans. His diagnosis was bipolar and he had a history of substance abuse. We would spend our days in therapy groups and then head to ESPN Zone at night to watch sports. We were both very serious about our respective recoveries, ordering cokes at the bar restaurant and discussing triggers and warning signs in our therapy groups. We were good for each other and kept the other on the straight and narrow. Now, I think about reconnecting with Rob. I see his face and hear his voice as I drive the deserted city streets at night. So what’s the problem with remembering Rob? He is currently doing time in a maximum security prison. That’s the scary part. One morning while I was writing for the Sun-Times, I opened the second page of the paper and saw Rob’s mug shot, clear as day. The accompanying article described a gruesome murder. Rob snapped one day and killed his mom. bludgeoned her to death. I sat there in the office for like ten minutes without moving, I don’t even remember if I was breathing. I couldn’t share this news with anyone because no one in the office knew of my checkered and psychotic past. When I went to my weekly therapy session at the same place Rob and I attended group therapy years ago, one of the staff members asked me if I’d heard what Rob did. She offered support but I was frozen, I didn’t really know what to do or how to react. It turns out Rob went back to abusing substances, this time more substantially. He was dealing and doing cocaine before he stopped attending groups at the rehabilitation center. When I knew him, he was a conscientious and insightful person, trying desperately to put his life back together which meant patching up a rocky relationship with his mother. I never knew him to be the angry, psychotic killer he morphed into. It was very troubling. I got a text from him a few years ago on my birthday. The fact that he remembered my birthday was incredible. I thought it was nice and didn’t think much of it. I still have his cell phone number in my phone. I guess I should delete it considering he won’t have access to a cell phone, probably ever. I think about bumping into him on the street or at rehab as I used to. Then I think about him locked up for the rest of his life. He will never see the light of day as a free man. It’s awful to think about. Our journeys as people with mental illnesses take us on roller coaster rides. My journey took me into the life of a troubled young man in whom I saw a great deal of promise. I never would have imagined Rob committing murder, let alone harming someone he loved. I still can’t talk about it much but I see Rob as the victim as well in this scenario. Obviously his mother suffered in this instance but he is a troubled and lost soul. I knew Rob and I know that when he killed his own mother, he was a different person, a victim of extreme psychosis. Some of us have been there. Though I never became violent during an episode, I did end up in a stranger’s house and spent a weekend in a Texas prison. It is apparent Rob went off the deep end and the most upsetting thing for me is the realization that had he continued on the path we started together, with regular therapy and daily medication, he never would have ended up with a life sentence. Part of connecting with the mentally ill community is coming in contact with individuals who just can’t right the ship. I’m thankful that I’m cascading along a smooth surface with a supportive crew in my corner. Unfortunately, Rob was traveling along a very different path.

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