Recovering from Mental Illness

Suffering a mental illness when you're young is extremely difficult and debilitating. When you’re young there is an immense amount of pressure to fit in as well as to act and to look a certain way. Judgment and stigma from peers can run high and be openly expressed. Many times, those who suffer from mental illness when they're young believe that something is wrong with them and don’t know how to “snap out of it.” As difficult as it can be to live with a mental illness when you're young, it is also hopeful to know that the suffering doesn’t have to last forever.
I started antipsychotic medication in my 20s as in my late teens and early 20s, my life was consumed by psychotic symptoms; it was isolating and scary. I suffered from auditory and visual hallucinations. I didn’t even know I was sick, but when I was eventually diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, it came as a relief. Knowing it was an illness made it less frightening, and taking medication was life-changing. I was free and ready to pursue my dreams. Here’s a look at my life before and after starting antipsychotic medication.
Have you considered using the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to help your mental health recovery? Many people with mental illnesses are employed, but working with a mental illness can be challenging. Stress can cause symptoms to break through, and there may be times when you need time off. Would your supervisor be supportive? Could you apply for benefits under the FMLA to help your mental illness recovery?
My name is Nancy Zacharakis and I’m excited to be joining the Recovering from Mental Illness blog at HealthyPlace. I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety for about three years, from the ages of 21-24. My mental illness began after competing in a bikini bodybuilding competition and suffering with binge eating disorder. The unhealthy relationship with food and my body during my 16-week competition preparation was a catalyst for an eating disorder. My binge eating then led me to feel depressed about my life, my body, my relationships, and my career. I suffered from anxiety as well, feeling anxious about what was happening to me, what my future was going to look like and how I was going to deal with this abnormal behavior.
Setting goals is a great way to move your life forward whether you have a mental illness or not. Doctors diagnosed me with bulimia and schizoaffective disorder about 10 years ago, but mental illnesses haven’t stopped me from wanting my own successful business. It is easy to get off track when you’re struggling with symptoms of a mental illness, but I’ve remained as persistent as possible. Here's how I set goals with a mental illness.
Coping with a diagnosis of a mental illness can be scary, but if you’ve made it to this point, it means you’ve reached out for help. That’s a great first step. You’re on your way to receiving treatment and most likely feeling better. It's important to cope with mental illness, and it's important to cope with the diagnosis of mental illness--accepting the illness--too.
Taking on motherhood with a mental illness makes starting a family difficult. I had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and bulimia in my early 20s, 10 years prior to giving birth to our daughter (Mothering With an Invisible Mental Illness). My husband and I always wanted children so we decided to take a chance. Here’s our story of entering motherhood with mental illness.
Attending college with a mental illness can be very challenging. The stress of your course load can exacerbate your mental health symptoms. If you’re attending a school away from home, being far from your family or support system can add even more pressure. My time in college was a very long and bumpy road, but when I slowed down and put my mental health first, I was finally able to graduate in 2014. Here’s how I survived college with a mental illness.
I’m Megan Rahm and I’m a new co-author for the blog Recovering from Mental Illness. I live in Toledo, Ohio with my husband and 14-month-old daughter. I have struggled with mental health symptoms most of my life, and in my early 20s I was diagnosed with bulimia and schizoaffective disorder.
Working while on disability should not be penalized. I used to work in a restaurant for $8.25 an hour for 20 hours a week. I reported this income to Social Security, and my Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits were terminated. Not only that, but the government told me they overpaid me and I had to pay the money back--all at once. This is not right. Working while on disability should not be penalized.