Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Missing Someone on Christmas

In my anxiety group last week, we talked about what makes Christmas hard for people. One thing that came up was remembering people we have lost that no longer share Christmas with us. Every Christmas, since my Grandpy died, I could still close my eyes and smell the Polish sausage as I walked through my Grandparents’ front door Christmas Day. My Grammy lived seven years after my Grandpy died, but it wasn’t the same. My Grammy hardly ever made traditional Polish food after the loss of her husband. In fact we lived with her after my Grandpy died because she didn’t want to live alone and my Grandparents had a three story house! Anyway, after my Grandpy died my Mom mostly made the food and it was more an American style Christmas. I do also miss my Grammy now; she would always give me lots of gifts. She really spoiled me. However, it wasn’t about the gifts, it REALLY was about the thought behind it. I would go shopping with my Grammy and if I said I liked something my Grammy would make a mental note and buy it later and surprise me. I was the whole memorization and surprise that made the gift special.

Now most of you that have been following my blog for a while know that my Uncle Dick died this past summer! He was my oldest Uncle and he was eleven years older than my next oldest Uncle. The reason being that my Grandparents were told that they would never be able to have children again! However after eleven years my Uncle Jim came along, followed by my Dad eleven MONTHS later, and finally my Uncle Bill five years later. Anyway, I never spent a Christmas with my Uncle Dick. I grew up in Chicago and we never traveled to New York during the winter months. And when we moved here to New York State we still didn’t travel the three hours to visit him because his area got a lot of snow. However, his was always the first Christmas card I received. Also as you know I would write to my Uncle Dick at least once a month. He had told me things I don’t think he told anyone else. So I was very close to my Uncle Dick.

Anyway, I had cried a lot when he died and then I seemed to heal. My Uncle Bill took my Uncle Dick’s ashes up way up New York State to the hunting camp my Uncles and Dad used as young men. Well, guess what? I get this little package from my Uncle Bill last week and I opened it. It was a sliver cross with some of my Uncle Dick’s ashes in it. Now first I want to say that is the most beautiful and thoughtful Christmas gift ANYONE has ever gotten me! However, I cried a cried a good hour. I cried because I missed my Uncle Dick, I cried because I wonder who is next, and most of all I cried because since this summer I had forgotten about my Uncle Dick. It’s hard the first Christmas without someone. Now I am not like other people that get to stare at an empty seat at Christmas dinner because, like I said, we never spent Christmas with him. However, he was still part of my Christmas tradition.

I heard it once said that it is good to feel pain after someone has died, it means that we truly had a connection with that person. I feel like I had a strong connection with my Uncle Dick and that I still do. My Uncle Dick led a good life, but didn’t find Jesus until the last decade of his life! I know he is in Heaven and I ask him to pray for me. I know that one day I will see him again. However, I also know that from time to time I will hurt. One of the things with a mental illness is to realize that we still have emotions and being sad and being depressed are too VERY different things. Yes, you can get depressed over the loss of a loved one. However, that you need you doctors help with. Being sad and realizing it is healthy is a good thing. In fact I think that grieving in a healthy way to ease depression and symptoms. So anyone missing anyone on Christmas I understand. However, our Savior was born on Christmas to save us from death. Remember!

Friday, December 11, 2009


First I would like to apologize for how long it has taken me to post a new blog. I don't have many followers, but I have faithfull followers! I also wanted to tell the Medcaffs that I am praying for there son Brandon. If anyone else wants prayers let me know because that what I do. Anyway, here is a poem for Christmas for all of you.
By Amanda Robin

You scurry in your busy malls
For just the perfect gift.
You wonder to yourself.
Why am I not there?
It’s because I can’t
Stand to be in a crowd.
A crowd I think
Is judging me!

You hurry to
Dance recitals,
Christmas Carols,
And holiday movies.
And still you wonder
Why I am not there?
It because social engagements
Make me jump out of my skin.

You go to family gathering
Plates full of food.
Laughter resonating
Off the walls.
People connecting
With others they haven’t
Seen all year.
And still you wonder
Why I am not there?
Professionals describe
It as too much energy
In the room

However, I sit near my
Nativity scene
And pray.
I pray for peace in the world
Love in my heart,
And joy for you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I already know what my New Year's resolution is going to be!

When my therapist said to me that singlehood is the greatest gift a young person could give themselves, (She thinks thirty is young, I guess it’s your prospective!), I didn’t truly understand what she meant. However, now I been thinking about an old saying. It goes, “Before you can love another person you have to love yourself!” I thought I did love myself. However, I haven’t been taking care of myself properly. There is the weight thing, being too tired to wash up at night, and not always tending to my Spiritual Life. So I have decided to take better care of myself. Not for God, not for my parents, and certainly not for a lover! I think I am entering a year of grace and at the end of it, I will truly love myself.

I want to talk about doing stuff for myself. They say when I baby is born until it is about two, it is ego centric. Only worrying about its own needs! Why can’t we all be like that? It makes sense for a baby to worry about itself because it has to survive. However, as we grow older we do things for our parents and our friends. I can remember being three years old and all I wanted to do is be like my friend Sarah. It was so bad that there were three of us that hung out together, Sarah, Laura, and myself. Anyway, Laura and I would fight constantly over Sarah’s attention. My Mom even thinks my favorite color is red because that was Sarah’s favorite color. I still stick to my guns saying it’s red because of Elmo. However, there are so many things I did just to be like Sarah.

Next, you know what we grow into adolescence doing? I remember being thirteen and having the biggest crush on this boy in my CCD class (Sunday school). Anyway, I would put on make – up for him, dab on perfume because I think he would like it, and generally be nervous around him for being careful not to do anything that would make him not think the world of me. This continued for much of my life (of course not with the same boy or even gender.) The worst was just before I was diagnosed with my invisible disability. I was dating a very abusive girlfriend and I let her dare me to do stuff that wasn’t good for me. For example, I drive a very undriveble car (it was only meant for on campus and the doctor about a mile off campus) an hour away from my college, in the rain no less, to a ratty neighbor. It was very dangerous to say the least. I don’t know that if I had been in my right mind whither I would have been scared shitless or not. However, that is something I want to change.

Now I said that I don’t want to take care of myself not for God. My Lord is the center of all I do! However, I am a separate being from my God. I know my Father in Heaven will be happy for me when I am done. I also offer it all up to Him. However, I still have to love myself for who I am. So my New Year’s resolution is to take care of myself! I hope by the end of 2010 I will be happy with the person I have become. And I am not doing it to “find” someone. I just wanted to make that clear because I did say about loving yourself before another person. If I do find the love of my life at the end of the journey then it is a bonus. It’s just to say that I am doing this to find a lover is defeating the purpose. I want to be happy with me, for me, and by me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


There is an issue that I find common among people that happen to have a mental illness. It’s avoidance which takes many forms. However, what I am going to talk about is social avoidance. When I was first diagnosed, I was still living on campus and I was staying at the recovery house, after being discharge from the hospital. My friends from college wanted to see me, but I was avoiding seeing them. It happened that one day my best friend at college had her mother visiting her and she brought my best friend and her roommate, my other friend. Now her mother said that they were family. I was a little shaken when I found it was friends and not family. However, after our visit I felt better. Then when I came home to live with my parents and finish college in Chicago, I only had one friend to go out and do stuff with. My therapist at the time had a hard time convincing me to hang out with her. Every session it was like pulling teeth for him to get me to promise I would go out and do stuff or just even call her.

Gradually, I got more social. However, in 2006, I was hospitalized for the second time. (I am truly blessed that in the ten years I have had this illness, I was only hospitalized twice.) Anyway, I was inpatient a week and half before my graduation ceremony from college. I had already finished all my work and was accepted to get a degree. However, I came up with a million and one excuses not to go to my graduation ceremony. I had a therapist assigned to me in the hospital and the day before I was discharged he said to me, “If you are not well enough to go to your ceremony, then you aren’t well enough to get out of the hospital.” So you know what? I went and so far my college graduation was the best day of my life. I know there will be other best days like when I find the love of my life and make a commitment and if I every welcome a child into the world. However, for now that college graduation ceremony meant the most for me.

Now I can’t believe how social I am. The reason for writing this blog is because I just got home from one of my good friend’s house. I feel so comfortable with her, even though she doesn’t have a mental illness. I think that’s a part of avoidance too that when I first started feeling happy and well, I only wanted to hang around with people with the illness. It was like a safety net. Now in my life I have four very good friends. Two are mentally ill and it is o.k. to hang around with mentally ill people. However, I have two friends without the illness. I feel at ease around them and my avoidance is starting to go away. I think there is hope. St. Therese says, “It’s love, not time, that heals all wounds.” I think the kindness and compassion these people show me brings me a long way! And for the first time in a long time, I feel alive and free. It’s like I want to be out in the world and understand other people! I thank God and my friends that are healthy and good friends.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A long awaited thought!

First, I want to apologize for how long it’s taken me to update my blog. I don’t have many followers, but you are all faithful so please forgive me.

What happened?
By Amanda Robin

One day I was on top
Of the world
I was a promising,
Genetics major
A scholarship,
A loving boyfriend,
Fifty sisters to call my own!

Then I was in a place
That a judge
I was to stay for
72 hours.
I had lost my

Now I live everyday
With a illness that
Limits me
In society

However, I have
My Freedom
Like never before
Knowing my limits
One day there will
Be a cure.
Love of a group
Of people with
My illness
That know no bounds
Of understanding

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rewinding to the Past

I know that I have been writing what is going on right now. However, for the sake of my blog buddies I am going to back it up a little. Also I guess because this is so close to when it all happened. You see on November sixth it will be ten years since I knew that I had a mental illness. On November sixth of 1999 was the day that will live in infamy for me. It’s the day I was truly convinced I was going to take my own life! Yes, it’s true that since then I have had suicidal thoughts and I was even hospitalized in 2006 for that, but this was the only time I was ACTUALLY toying with the notion I would. It’s like the other times I didn’t want to, but I had the thought. This very first time, I was seeing myself DEAD.

Anyway, that night my R.A. took me to the hospital after I called the crisis line. They gave me two choices, I could either sign myself into the mental health unit or I could get court ordered. Well, I made a big show of things and finally I was escorted by four uniform police officers to the mental health unit. Now I knew there was something wrong before that, for about two months, I wasn’t eating, sleeping, or bathing. My friends on campus tried to help me. Then my mind started playing tricks on me.

Now, what this is really about. After my parents took me back home to Chicago from the recovery house two weeks later, I still didn’t know up from down. I would say I lived in a fog for the next five years. They had no idea what medicine to give me and they weren’t even sure of my diagnosis. I would have frequent panic attacks and had no skills to combat them. Sometimes they would get so bad, it felt like the whole world knew. What I mean is I remember one time I got a panic attack in the church my family belong to in Chicago and I walked out. However, when I was outside, I presided to talk to myself out loud, wiggle my hands like crazy, and pace up and down. Our deacon found me and took me to the rectory to calm me down. The usher, who didn’t know my illness, quickly told my parents that I was in the rectory and they needed to come quick. That was just one incident of many.

Well, what change all that? My parents and I moved here to New York. You can go on the NAMI page, New York scores higher than Illinois in mental health care. Actually, though for the first two years I lived here, I was still in that fog. My panic attacks had gotten so bad, that I would literally lie on the floor and pull my hair out. Sometimes they would set off schizophrenic episodes. In December of 2003 was when I first starting hearing voices. Before that all my hallucinations where visual, when they became audio, it scared the shit out of me. Then I decided to do something about it. I signed up to be admitted in a day program for mentally ill people. In the spring of 2004, I started at a program in Saratoga Springs called Friendship House and I learned a whole new way of thinking. A lot of times what I compare it to is that a mentally ill person needs to learn their manners again. It’s like when I was getting nervous before the whole world had to know it, thus scaring the ushers and later pulling my hair out. Now I take nice even breathes and do the trauma sequence of touch field therapy.

Yes, there is life after a mental illness, but it takes time. I will also point out that I wasn’t placed on a medicine that would really help me until 2001 and was off of it for six months prior to hearing the voices. I was trying a different medicine with the doctor’s care so I could lose weight! I guess that’s one of the reasons it’s scary for me right now, going on a new medicine. There is no blood test for a mental illness that they can give you and can say this is going to work for you! If you’re or someone you love is still in the fog remember, first the medicine, then the therapy, and then a new life!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Getting Personal

I have just realized that I usually talk in a general format and not about my personal life. Tonight I want to talk about what’s going on in my life. Particularly my new medicine change, I been on one medicine for my schizophrenia for three years now. It has made me gain so much weight! I have literally doubled in size. At first, I thought changing meds when it was first brought up to me, would be a vain thing. However, I change in front of the mirror in my bedroom and I think of what I used to look like. I’ve also decided that not wanting to reach three hundred pounds is not vain, it’s a health issue.

Since gaining all this weight, health problems have arisen. I have high blood pressure, pre – diabetes, and a worse injury to my knee (yes, Amber if I was only half my size and fell down your stairs, I probably wouldn’t still be in physical therapy). Now the high blood pressure and the diabetes runs in my family, but ALL of those in my family that have that got it at a much older age. Also my digestive system is pretty whacked out. Now I don’t think that it’s directly caused from my weight, but the medicine I am on makes me hungry. Now I do take responsibility here and say that I control what goes in my mouth. However, when you get hunger pains and want something your not suppose to have it’s hard.

I am a little scared trying this new medicine. My regular psychiatrist, the female Dr. L,. is out on maternity leave, but she has been encouraging me to try a new medicine for quite some time now. I trust her. She said before she went on maternity leave, when she assigned me to see another doctor in her place, that if I wanted to try the new medicine while she was away it was o.k. My temporary psychiatrist the male Dr. L. (their not related or married;) was very open to the idea of trying a new medicine. He just wanted to tell me the two medicines that are known for not gaining weight only have a twenty to a fifty percent success rate among schizophrenics. However, I still wanted to try it. The male Dr. L. told me that some of the older medicine is not known for gaining weight, but I said that I would rather stick to the newer generation of schizophrenic medicines.

Tomorrow will be my first day on the new medicine. You probably want to know what it is, but this is a public blog and I don’t advertise for drug companies. The important thing is I am living a fearless life and trying something new. I hope that you all will keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Life goes on
By Amanda Robin

Mom gets her knee sliced open
Like a cantaloupe
And Dad still has to pay
The bills that come
Like a wave.

I fall down stairs
But you know what?
Before I did
I did something wonderful
Something that would
Change the way people

People die
Dogs are put to sleep
Hurricanes destroy houses
But life goes on!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sex! Again?

First, I want to ask the forgiveness of all my blog followers for not posting for two weeks. Sorry, I have been physically sick. Now on to the interesting topic of sex! What does it mean to us? There are some mentally ill people that have an addiction to it. Some may know that there is a Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. And some of us just don’t have the desire for sex anymore. One of my friends in group doesn’t feel like making love to her husband anymore because of side effects of her meds! I know when I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia my Mom said, right to me, that she read either people with schizophrenia are very interested in sex or they don’t want anything to do with it!

Well, I really am fascinated with sex. However, I wouldn’t call myself a sex and love addicted. I am going to tell you a secret. Well, I tell this to everyone so it’s not that much of a secret. I am going to be thirty years old in January and I have never slept with a man! I was raped by a woman in Oct. of 1999 and I don’t remember everything happened to well because I was going through a schizophrenic break! About two weeks ago I was finally brave enough to ask my OBGYN if I still had a hymen and she looked and said I don’t. My GYN told me that it could not be from the rape it could be from riding a horse or something unrelated to the rape. Blah! Blah! Blah! Anyway, I am virtually a virgin without a hymen. Now people I know this might be too much information, but if you don’t want to read it then don’t.

Anyway, my point is that society makes us believe certain things. For example, the Roman Catholic Church (all of it because I discussed this in New York, Chicago, and Cali) believes that masturbation is wrong. However, in therapy we learn that it is normal and healthy. Also when Governor Palin was running for vice president everyone made a big deal because her daughter was pregnant. Is that really that usual of thing? I know when I went to high school at least one girl in each class would be pregnant. I remember what the rector of the Episcopal church which I attended told me something I will never forget. He said, “Sexuality is a gift.” So why do we trash the gift by making everything taboo? Now I do admit there are people that really are Sex and Love Addicts. However, I am just saying we shouldn’t be embarrassed by sex. I think that as long as we aren’t hurting some else it is a gift between you and God perhaps another person.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

An Invisible Disablity

I have written a lot what it is like living with an invisible disability, but I haven’t explained what an invisible disability is. There are a lot of people with lost limbs, blindness, and even mental development problems. However, what about people with mental illness? Can you tell the difference? I am sure the check out lady at Price Chopper where I get my grocery doesn’t know I have a mental illness. I am sure the man that usually sits across from me at church on Sunday doesn’t know I have mental illness. I am sure the family that lives across the street from me, that the only contact I have with is a simple wave, doesn’t know that I have a mental illness.

I think that’s why it’s so hard to get out of bed in the morning. We, mentally ill, don’t know if we are going to do something like lay on floor in church and cry (like I did) to let our invisible disability away. We don’t know if we go on a date with someone and things get serious when the right time to tell that special someone is. We don’t know if we will do well at work. As long as we stay in that bed, then no one has to know. I know I didn’t go to my high school reunion because as far as those people know I am still only 135lbs and have a degree from the college I originally got my scholarship to.

Maybe it would be easier for us if people could see? I mean then we wouldn’t have to explain why it took eight years to get a degree, or why we don’t know about having kids, or why we need more time at work. I mean maybe if people could see then we wouldn’t hide in the shadows. I remember my first inpatient visit to the unit, when I was first diagnosed, they told me not to tell anyone I didn’t want too. I felt like I should keep it a big ugly secret.

Well people I write this because mental illness, while an invisible disability, shouldn’t be in the shadows. It’s shouldn’t be a big ugly secret! If we all wake up to that fact, then we might realize that the lady in church, or the man next door, or the people in the grocery store have a mental illness too! It could even be that dream guy we met across the room at a party. Everybody lets stand up and say it may not be something you can see, but I do have a disability that I can overcome, and you can learn about!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A poem for breaking false images

By Amanda Robin

I see you through the fog
Of my life,
Standing there with your friends.

I think to myself,
Should I go over there
And introduce myself?

My throat feels like
Pine needles stuck in it.
My eyes feel focused
Like a hawk.
My lungs are tightened
Like a crushed can.
My palms are as wet
With sweat as
Niagara Falls.
My heart is in
My stomach.

And you know what?
They want me to find
My soul mate!
I can’t even talk
To you my friend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What does my Jesus do for me?

Now I am no much of an evangelist, but today I am going to talk about my bridegroom, the keeper of my heart, the one I run to when things go crazy, my best friend Jesus Christ. When I was little I loved Him with all my heart and couldn't imagine being away from him. However, as I got into middle school and started to reason with myself, how could someone be the Son of God. I mean REALLY how could someone be God, but God still be one person. I also reasoned if Catholicism (which I was raised) was the first Christian Religion and that was the true church, than wouldn't Judaism be the ultimate religion? Now I am not mocking Judaism, but it wasn't what God intended for me! Finally, I went away to college and lost all religion Sundays were family days and so going to church without my family felt weird. There was no temple to become Jewish like I had planned. So what I did was float between classes, friends, and parties.

My Illness is what brought me back to Jesus. When I was court - ordered at nineteen to a mental health unit and He was all I had. For about two months before I was placed tjere I was in a really abusive relationship and I could hear Christ calling me. Now we all know that schizophrenics hear voices, but that not what I hear, rather I felt a pull in my heart. Then I knew I was not living the way I should and I went to the Newman center on campus and confessed everything. To this day only my one of my close friends, the campus police, and the priest who heard my confession know exactly what happened the night I was raped. And you know what? It was that priest first suggested to me that I could have been raped. Then there was that morning in the mental health unit. I felt like no one believed sick. I hadn't talked to a psychiatrist the night I went in and they told me I wouldn't be seeing the doctor until the afternoon. I don't know what make me do it, but I curled up in a little ball and just prayed, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus." I consider that the moment I was saved. That afternoon my Mom who had flown into Indy airport and made the hour drive from there to Muncie, showed up with the Newman center priest. I told him I wanted to receive communion. Later that evening he came back with the body of Christ and I slept like I hadn't in forever! I felt so good.

Then there's tonight. I went to an Episcopalian healing mass. Now your like wait a minute she said she was Catholic. Really I consider myself Catholic Episcopalian with a sprinkling of Pentecostal. I was a cradle Catholic and then at the age of twenty - four I was received into the Episcopal communion. My current Sunday worship is at a Catholic church, but I've started going back to the Episcopalian one on Thursday. I would like to share with you a thought that the priest Mother Laurie offered. Today they celebrated the man who started the first school for the deaf in America and the first deaf Episcopalian priest. No I don't remember there names. But Mother Laurie said that the deaf people probably all prayed for the hearing to come back, but instead they started a new way for deaf people to communicate. So God helped more than just one person to "hear." Also my friends blog Gaining Insight is about the stigma of mental illness. I think this story of the group of deaf people gives us hope! Once marginalized now beocme main stream.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What to do?

It’s really weird when I was first diagnosed with a mental illness, I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to leave my bedroom or in the case when I just got out of the hospital, the room I was staying at the recovery house. I have always said that half the battle of mental illness is getting out of bed in the morning. I still have those days where I don’t want to get out of bed because it is a big scary world out there!

However, now that I am over nine years in therapy, I feel like my day is always planned out for me, doctors’ appointments, group therapies, reaching out to friends so I don’t isolate. Yeah, that’s still a problem for me. I tend to hang out with my parents and my Uncle Jim a lot more than my friends. However, I am ALWAYS DOING SOMETHING. And guess what? I fell and twisted my knee! I don’t even know how to spell the name of the thing they said was broken. It’s soft tissue in my knee, something between my knee bones where the two bones meet at the joint. I know this because the REALLY cute P.A. showed me exactly what he thought it was. OMG… this P.A. looked around my age and he had NO ring on his left hand. I digress though; this is not about hot P.A.s I met in my adventures of being sick all the time.

What this is about is the fact that my knee hurts and I am not supposed to be doing ANYTHING! It’s hard. I feel like I should just go for a walk or something! I still go to my group therapy and I went for an MRI today (for the knee). However, I can’t just sit and watch T.V. It’s like the mental health system has programmed me to not be standing still for one minute. I am actually washing my clothes today which I shouldn’t be doing. I feel stuck. In limbo.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I wanted to share a poem with you all that I read on camera for my amazing friend's documentary. If you would like more information on her work. Look at her blog Gaining Insight. However, this is my work that was inspired by her work. She just inspires people.

What do you see when you look at me?
by Amanda Robin
What do you see,
A nutty squirrel,
A psycho crazed lunatic,
A person without all her marbles?
Tell me what do you see?
Do you see a woman lying on the floor
Of a Church crying because
The priest eyes look funny?
Do you see someone who is
Hallucinating so painfully
That she is ripping her hair out?
Do you see someone who laughs
So ill - fatedly that she throws up?
Tell me what do you see?
A bright young woman
Who has her bachelor's degree
in Cultural Studies?
Do you see,
A talented young published
Do you see,
Someone wanting to be
Your friend?
Tell me what do you see
When you look at me?

Monday, July 27, 2009

What is well?

First off, I would like to apologize to everyone for not updating my blog sooner. I have been lazy as of late! My question today that I pose to all of you is what is well?

Some of us take our medicine and others do not. Does one make us more well then the other? I take my medicine as prescribe and I still get schizophrenic episode. However, if I didn’t take my meds. I would probably be homeless and wondering the streets!

I mean does going to therapy make us well or not? Sometimes when we in therapy stuff stays with us because our time is up and we can’t work through the rest. I realize a lot of people practice “door knob” therapy, where we don’t tell the therapist what’s really serious until fifteen minutes before time is up. However, does crying and releasing all this sad emotion good? I have often wondered if a hundred years from now if they would think that is just inhuman. However, hashing through serious stuff in until it becomes a scare and not a wound helps a lot. I know I said it before group therapy helps me tremendously. Without the support of my fellow peers in the rooms, I don’t know where I would be.

Does living a normal life make us well? For example we could go to work. But isn’t true that sometimes it brings more stress then it is worth? However, don’t we want to be productive members of society? I think that is good for the soul. Although, I don’t hold a job, I volunteer.

I think maybe we have to choose the lesser of two evils. What is well anyway? I think it’s funny if a poor person is mentally ill, she is called crazy. However, if a rich person is mentally ill, she is called eccentric. In this world we have to be ourselves. The most important thing is to be true to ourselves. And if that means sometimes we seem a little off to people, well so be it! However, keep taking those meds, going to therapy, and being productive members of society.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Passing of my Uncle Dick

My Uncle Dick was very special to me. When I was about eleven years old, I wanted a pen pal. I had just learned how to write letters to people through English class. I am sure that between e – mails and texts now children learn much earlier now. Anyway, I wanted a pen pal and I looked in one of my “little kid” magazines and it said you had to have five dollars to get a name of another kid across the country. I am sure now that five dollars isn’t a lot, but back in the early nineties it was. Thus, it started; I looked on our family’s kitchen table and saw a letter from my Uncle Dick. Now as long as I could remember my Uncle wrote my parents and then wrote a paragraph for me. My parents had busy lives and didn’t write him very often. However, me, like I said, wanted a pen pal. So began a letter writing spree of letters once a month between a little girl and her Uncle. Now for the next eighteen years I would write once a month and my Uncle Dick would write back!

At the beginning of this year, I think my oldest Uncle, my Uncle Dick new something was up. He would write me instead of the usual one letter, a letter every other day. He wouldn’t mail them until he got his Social Security check, but I would get them all (about fifteen) from him in the beginning of the month. He was writing less and telling me that he couldn’t remember from day to day. Then it happened. Last Monday, my Uncle Bill called my Dad. (Both my Uncle Dick and my Uncle Bill are my father’s brothers). We happened to be in the car on our way taking my Dad to work. My Dad pulled over and talked to him (you can’t drive in NY and talk on the cellphone). I knew it was about Uncle Dick and my Mom was squeezing my Dad’s hand and asking him if Dick died. My Dad got off the phone and told us. It wouldn’t be later that evening until I talked to my Uncle Bill myself that I would learn how my Uncle had died. My Uncle Dick, who was going to be seventy – two in August, died alone in his apartment because he had an infection that caused all his organs to shut down.

Now this raises a lot of question for me. First, what is the difference between grieving and being symptomatic? When I cry do I take it too far? I had to learn this when my Grandma died in 2005! I think the most important thing is to talk about the grief with someone no matter if it’s a friend, family member, higher power, or even an animal! The Second question, am I going to die alone? Will I be like my Uncle and have someone find me in a chair slumped over fighting to stay alive, but already died? I surround myself with friends. Also one thing I will always have is a phone. That’s the reason my Uncle Dick wrote to us because he had no other means of communication. No he wasn’t deaf; he just didn’t like the phone. Third, will I have made enough difference in the world that I would have five concerned family members cleaning out my apartment once I am gone? I guess all I can do is be me, let go, and let God do the rest!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mentally Ill
By Amanda R. Blodgett

First, you don’t give a
Shit about eating.
The food on your plate
Is an enemy.
It only sustains a life
Not worth living.

Then you haunt the
Night like a ghost.
Who needs sleep
When your dead?

You are not
Brushing your teeth
Combing your hair
Or being conscious.

Finally, your actions
Are not yours.
You wonder aimlessly
Already gone.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sexuality (ohh getting serious)

I know some about my diagnosis because I try to understand my illness. However, there is some things I don't get. Like, for example, everyone says that I do so well. I feel like all I do is live and be happy. Then when I was filling out my application for TSA and my therapist wrote my diagnosis down, she said that it was Paranoid Schizophrenia. Then my therapist commented on the severity of my diagnosis. I never knew that there were varying degrees of Schizophrenia, let alone I had one of the worst!

Anyway, that's not really what this weeks blog is about. I am leading up to it. One of the lesser things that I am diagnosed with is a sexual identity issue. I don't know if that started when my brain formed and I started getting the Schizophrenia or if I was always like that. I do know that I did have a crush on my eleventh grade English literature teacher that was a woman, but when I fully came out of the closet it was about two months before I was court order to a mental health unit.

My problem is that the only label I can place on myself is bisexual. I am attracted to both men and women. However, sometimes this confuses me. I didn't fully understand what that confusion was about. However, I had two therapist tell me that I shouldn't worry about the diagnosis of having a sexual identity issue because homosexuality is not a mental health issue. Then, just recently I decided to ask the psychiatrist. Mostly because the psychiatrist I had for about four years never had time for me. The psychiatrist I have been seeing now since January is a lot like another special psychiatrist that I had. Anyway, I asked her and she said that homosexuality is completely normal. The reason I have the diagnosis of a sexual identity is because I have issues with it!

It's true. I do have issues. One day I wake up and I think all day about being with a woman. Then you know what happens? I see a hot guy and think man, I would like to do him. I been over this many times. I am attracted to men's body. Everything! His hair, his eyes, his mouth, his butt... With women it's different. I like a woman for her inner beauty. It's more of a spiritual thing with women. So my dilemma is do I go for sex or a inner connection! And why the hell can't I have both?

Just to be fair, I have had two serious relationship in my life. One was with a young man when I was in college who was the BEST boyfriend anyone could ask for. The other was just after I came out of the closet. It was the worst relationship one could imagine. I won't go into detail, but I always say that no one can tell me there isn't a devil because I slept with her! So I guess what I am saying is, first off, I don't have much experience. Two, I have polar examples.

I know I have people who read this so I am happy. I guess I am looking for advice, criticism, and understanding. Thanks for listening. Keep fighting. And love like you'll die tomorrow!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


We are afraid of a lot of things in this world. I know people with mental illnesses (including myself) that are afraid when the wake up. I know of people who are afraid of dying. I used to have phobia about plants. What makes this fear? Is it because we don't believe there is greater, bigger plan. Can one function without knowing there is something bigger than one's self?

I know people who spend their life in fear. I also know people that have given themselves over to a higher power and do lots better. It's really a lonely world out there. Do we want to spend it all by ourselves. I know many get from my blog that I am Christian. However, I can't knock anyone's religion because I believe all religion is helpful. I guess I am knocking the atheists.

You know, though, I once was an Anthropology major for a while and I know that the human animal is so afraid of death they have to believe in a power higher than themselves. My prof. told me that even if someone says they don't believe in God that they still do somewhere in the back of their mind.

Mental illness is hard enough, but to fear that you have to handle all this shit alone would be awful. Not having someone that would ALWAYS listen would be awful. Not knowing that our pain helps the universe some how would be awful.

Fear can be relieved in four little words: "Jesus take the Wheel." Again it really doesn't have to be Christian. If you give your fear over to some higher power, trust me, you will feel a whole lot better.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Be Merciful to Me Lord
By Amanda Robin
When I cry in mental anguish
because my thoughts keep going
without end.
Be merciful
When I cry in mental anguish
because the voices are laugh
just like little demons in my head
Be merciful
When I cry in mental anguish
because I feel like dragging
a jagged edged blade
across my wrist
Be merciful.
When I cry in mental anguish
because you are the only thing
between me and hell of pain
of never waking up.
Be merciful.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Physical illness messes with a mental status

I am a little late in writing my blog. I wanted to keep it up every week. However, last week I was on vacation and now I am home with a physical illnesses. I have always been allergic to nature, but God has a sense of humor. I can remember being thirteen years old and coming home covered in mud because I love the outdoors. Our vacation was camping in St. Regis Falls New York. You would think I would stay in the cabin. NO! I had to go hiking, looking for firewood, and building my first fire all by myself. No just to be clear, I don't think that God made me sick, I have never thought that! It's my own stupidity of not knowing when enough is enough! That and I probably should have bathed every time I came in from the outside like the allergist told me to do when I was a little girl!

Anyway, this is leading somewhere! Promise! Before I feel physically really bad my mental illness kicks up and I get what my Mom would call "moody." So that actual physical illness itself sets off my brain chemistry. Does anyone else find this to be so? Also once I give in and go to the medical doctor and they give me an antibiotic that messes with my meds. I am not sure about copy right laws and everything so I won't mention the name of the antibiotic, but there is one that interferes with my anti - sciatic. Most meds do effect me, but this particular one actually plays with what my Schizophrenia. They all do, though, in a way.

What happens when I get sick physically is that it messes with my birth control (my male visitors don't have this problem) then I get feelings like I want to hurt myself. I have what GYNO call PSDD. I basically don't get PMS, I get depressed. Sometimes the reason I deal with the moodiness my Mom describes it because I know the antibiotic will do worse.

It's funny how are body is all connected. I think we can help ourselves by taking care of our body. I am not some kind of hippy that believes in herbal medicine or anything. I am just saying that if we don't treat our body right it effects more than just our body. Everything is connected!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

a Poem for Sanity

By Amanda Robin
Who is sane?
Is my best friend sane?
She works like a dog,
At a hospital.
Only to see her
Patients dead
In the dark.

Who is sane?
Is my high school teacher sane?
She still teaches kids
To pillage the dead
Bodies of cats,
Only to have her students
Later ask a doctor,
“Exactly where is my

Who is sane?
Is a solider sane?
Sharing with the man
On the other end of
His scope,
The idea that
God is on their side.

Who is sane?
Is my psychiatrist sane?
She gives me a sea
Of pills.
Blue, grey, and green.
Not knowing how they work!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Group Therapy

Friends are important. Some of my best friends I have met through group therapy. Now many of you know that in a lot of group therapy rooms you can't date fellow member so no I have never done that. However, when I say something really moving to people in group and the tears flow it's nice to have a hug from a special friend.
When I was first diagnosed with my mental illness, I thought OMG I am not doing this group therapy thing! There was no way this rebellious, social anxiety disorder gal is going to sit and share with strangers. Well, mostly what I did for the next three years was sleep. I did have connections with the outside world, but nothing like what I would find in the rooms. You can say I isolated.
Then when I was twenty - four and had no where else to turn, I decided to be admitted into a day treatment facility for mental ill in my county. You would never believe that I was going to do three hours of group therapy, three days a week! All while I was still finishing my last two years of college. I went to a non - traditional college so I didn't have to go to class. I did my work at home so it fit. I mean I could try to get more skills to fight the voices and I could finish my education. It was scary at first going into a room with strangers. I left two years later with more friends than I could ever imagine. It's one thing to talk to a therapist. It's a completely different thing to pour out to your peers. My fellow groupers saw me as inspiration with going to school and responding so well to the therapy I was receiving
I like group therapy so much that even though I am discharged from the day treatment facility and only see a therapist every three weeks for individual therapy that I attend two group therapy session twice a week. I go to a modify DBT course and an anxiety group. Again there is nothing like support from other mentally ill people. My therapist wants me to also make friends in the "real world" and admit that's scary, but I have and I couldn't have done it without my group therapy friends.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I am dedicating this post to my parents. I believe without them I wouldn't be where I am today. I am today a happy almost thirty something woman handling my disability better than most. I know that some say with age mental illness gets better. I think this is true because I noticed with age that I am more mature in handling the signs of my illness! Last time I wrote about my beginnings. That had ending so horribly with me court order to a mental health unit basically because I didn't know what the symptoms of my disease were. It's getting easier over time, but I did crash again in 2001 because again I ignored the signs. I didn't go into the hospital that time mostly because of the support of my family. They may have not understood it at first, but they embraced it with loving support. At nineteen, court order to the mental health unit, I found my Mom had ridden a plane from Chicago to Indianapolis, Indiana and then rode the hour to Muncie, Indiana. My father was the one, the staff at the hospital, was communicating with and he was on a business trip in Guadalajara, Mexico. When my parents brought me home to Chicago after a three day stay in the hospital and a week in the recovery house on campus, my parents support didn't end there. I would often see visual delusions in the form of eyeballs in the wall. My first three years after being diagnosed, I must have called my therapist once a month My parents endure me crying, pulling my hair, and often times trying to pull my skin off my arms. I truly believe I couldn't make it without their help. Still to this day sometimes I need help from them.
I have seen many people with mental illness as I am very active in my mental health community in my county. I don't know any statics on support. However, I know through people's personal experience that when they have loving people in their life they do much better. It could be parents, a very close best friend, or a spouse. We all need life lines on this earth. Humans as a species are very social animals. I can't tell you how good it feels to have a hug once in a while, a tender smile, or encouraging words. We were not meant to be alone. It is very hard with this illness because often times we isolate, wanting no one around us. This is something we must endure to get out of. We need people. The only was to survive with this invisible disability is to make ourselves visible.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Who am I

Hello Everyone. I am new at this so we shall see how it goes. I am a twenty - nine year old woman living with Schizophrenia. My attempt with this blog is to share my experiences and educate people. I truly believe with all my heart that I couldn't have done it with out my Lord, Jesus Christ. With that I will explain how this all started.
When I was nineteen years old and in my second year of college, I was in an abusive relationship. Many times people are predestined for a mental illness and something triggers it. It usually happens between late teens and early twenties. I had been to church in a very long time. My friends had noticed something wrong with me. However, my help first came with my Lord. I want to make myself right with him. I went to Reconciliation and in celebrating that sacrament the priest said to me it sounds like I was raped. He is only one of three that know what happened that last night with my partner. I knew I had to do something and two of my friends had clinical depression. Like I said my friends knew there was something wrong with me, I wasn't sleeping, eating, or bathing. I was more concerned, though, with what had happened in my love life. One of my dear friends who has clinical depression took me to the free mental health clinic on campus. I should have told them then that I was having suicidal thoughts, but I didn't. The gave me an appointment for two weeks later. I mostly wanted to know how to deal with an abusive relationship.
Well, my body wouldn't let me wait two weeks. My mind started playing tricks on me. The most significant thing that happened was in my organic chemistry class. It was a very simple lab and I had no idea what I was doing. I broke half of the equipment I was using and almost caused explosion. I was very good with Chemistry so this was very unusual for me. Another event was that I was playing a child's board game with my roommate and her friend and I didn't know the answer to the easy questions. I started realizing something was happening to me.
In the beginning of November of 1999 I felt increasingly like I couldn't trust anyone. Then I encountered my guardian angel. Now many of you know that schizophrenics can have hallucinations, but this was different. It was the day I would later try to kill myself. I was walking in my dorm and I saw a beautiful older African - American gentlemen and he told me that I could trust my Dad. I didn't know why, but that made me feel better.
That night, the night I was going to kill myself is a blur. My bowling friends said that I told them I wasn't going bowling, but was going to go to a sorority function. My sisters said that I told them I was going bowing. I wrote two letters that night. One to my then ex abusive partner talking about my love. Then to one of my close friends I wrote a letter about leaving this earth. I got in my car and was ready to drive it into a wall. Before I even started the car something in my mind told me not to. As a miracle, if I had started the car, it wouldn't have worked because the battery was dead. I thought, "My God I have to get the hospital."
I went back to my dorm room and called the crisis line from the free clinic on campus. I was connected right away to a psychiatrist. He told me that he would get someone to take me to the hospital which was only a ten minute walk from my dorm. My R.A. knocked on my door about five minutes later. I was still talking to the doctor. The doctor asked if he could talk to her. She took me to the hospital and waited with me.
I did not want to go into the hospital. I had never had any experience with a mental illness. My fear was that I was going to a strange and awful place. When someone says they are going to commit suicide under most state laws including Indiana where I was going to school, a person must be court order if they won't go willingly. That is what happened to me! My R.A. walked me to the mental health unit and I was escorted by four uniform police officers. I had remembered what my guardian angel said about trusting my Dad and I told the nurses on the mental health unit to talk to my Dad.
It was very hard in the hospital. I tried to "escape" three times. However, being so sick I didn't really make good attempts. Each time I did they called my Dad and my Dad talked to me. Finally, the only person I could turn to was Jesus. And that day I gave my heart to my Lord and Savior. I am not saying my Dad didn't help. However, I needed something bigger, something cosmic. I needed a higher power.
My road since then has been very hard and I will write more about my illness in the coming blogs. I hope someone reads this and it helps them! Ciao for now!