The social aspect of this disorder

Welcome to my blog!  Please feel free to read this short bio if you are new, return readers can scroll down to new post, thanks.

My name is Victoria and I suffer from Schizoaffective Disorder (SA), which is basically Schizophrenia plus depression; this blog journals my progress from fall 2013 to now although I was diagnosed in 2008.  I have experienced both the positive (hallucinations and delusions) and negative  symptoms (lack of motivation, flat affect. social difficulties) of Schizophrenia and while the positive symptoms have been under control with Risperdal, since being diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder by UCLA in 2008, I have still suffered from the negative symptoms until recently when my psychiatrist added Latuda. Post diagnosis I received my Masters Degree in Psychology and work in the mental health field currently.

I started this blog in fall 2013 which journals my personal recovery from Schizophrenia.  The earliest entries chart my psychotic period 2006/2007 with much in between and my current focus is managing the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia. I welcome all feedback and enjoy meeting new people  through this blog and other articles I have written.  I have also written a book which is available on Amazon by me, Victoria Marie Alonso- My personal recovery from Schizophrenia, which is for loved ones or those afflicted with this disorder.  This blog has been viewed over 6,000 times and by over 50 countries!  Bienvenidos a todos!  Welcome to all!

Please feel free to email me to share your story or that of a loved one at:victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com

Other mental health providers or researchers are welcome to ask any questions, as well.

New post:

One of the most debilitating problems with this disorder is that in group settings I am often quiet and feel very awkward when I do add to the conversation.  Today was a bit of a breakthrough.  I am forcing myself to get out of my house more and participate in the world.  It feels good to have friends and family that I care about and that they care for me and accept me for who I am, disorder and all.  Many of them even forget I have a mental disorder because I am pretty good for the most part.

My weekend started out rough though because I ran out of my anti-anxiety meds and had an anxiety attack at an AA meeting.  I excused myself and waited out in my car because I had promised a good friend a ride after the meeting.  My best friend came out of the meeting and another acquaintance came too to check on me.  I was pretty anxious but was appreciative that they came cared about me.  We talked for a while and it was a really neat experience to have people genuinely interested in my well being.

After the meeting I went home and cleaned my house!  I haven’t done that for a while because of different reasons but it felt really good to have a clean house that I cleaned not somebody else or just lived with dust and dirt until one of my kids or my mother-in-law would do it.  I decided to spend the day by myself because I could and have been so busy with friends and family that I haven’t had much alone time.  I was ok with myself but wanted to spend some time with people on Sunday because I was afraid I would be bored at home all day alone again, which is what I would do up until recently.

Sunday I invited my dad over for muffins and we hung out for a while with my kids coming in and out.  I received a text from my friend Julia to meet up at a new coffee shop.  I invited my dad and we both went and had a great time hanging out at this really cool coffee shop.  I was out so I stopped by to see another friend who is having a hard time right now but she was asleep and I had some time before a little party I was invited to was going to start so I went shopping and then to the party.  Mind you on weekends I normally would just spend time on my computer and watching shows on Netflix.  It seems that now I get these invites and it is way more fun to hang out with people.

The party I went to had about 15 people and at first I was super anxious but then got really into the conversation.  I asked questions and was genuinely interested in the responses and had a really nice time.  I was nervous about the party but it was great.  I am back at work tomorrow but hope to have more weekends like this where there is a good balance between alone time and time with friends and family.

Have a great week everyone!

Pax

Victoria

I feel surrounded by loved ones, didn’t believe it possible!

For the first time post diagnosis I feel surrounded by people who love and care about me.  I never thought this was possible because there was a time when I felt so alone and I am glad to be on the other side now.

Tonight I  unintentionally hurt my best friend.  I was so sad.  It was a situation which got out of hand because of the disease of addiction (not me, been sober a long time now) but involved another friend I have been trying with all my heart and soul to get sober.  Unfortunately, this disease of addiction can ruin the best people and I had to withdraw my help with tough love and she understood although she was pretty wasted.  My best friend understood too although I couldn’t give him too many details having to protect her anonymity.  I will not stop praying for her though and although it is painful, I feel it was the necessary step.

On another note, my aging parents, who I am so happy they are still alive, have accepted my help to come over 3 days a week to help my mom walk and get back her strength.  I love them with all my heart and soul and feel so blessed to have them as parents.  I am also grateful I can still talk to them and that they both have their wits about them.  They have been there for me every step of the way from birth to now and I love that I get to spend more time with both of them! They understand me better than most and have been the best parents anyone could ever want.  I love you mom and dad if you are reading this!

I also have some other people in my life right now who are great supporters, my daughter, my sons, my husband, my good friend Julia, and several others who love me unconditionally.  This means the world to me.  I know that as someone with a mental health condition support is vital.  I pray for all my readers, that they have the necessary support they need not only get by in life but also thrive despite this tragic disorder.  God bless everyone of you!

Pax

Victoria

Situation, didn’t kow what to do today, froze up

I had an interesting situation today I have decided to write about on here that is still baffling me. A woman with obvious mental health problems was behaving inappropriately and I didn’t know how to help her or the situation. This frustrates me. Having this disorder often leaves me like this where I don’t know what to do especially in social settings. This makes it hard to step out of my comfort zone and respond. So I do nothing and hope that the situation rectifies itself. Today it did not and I felt terrible. But I must forgive myself and try to move on. The problem was that in this situation many other people were observing me and I felt so darn powerless. I can say a prayer for this woman but there are just times when I don’t know how to act or how to help and I blame this disorder. Today I hated having schizoaffective disorder. When it affects other people I am not ok with it.

I get a lot of emails rather from readers. I respond to them all. I know I do not have the answer for everyone and I don’t think anyone expects me to. I am just like my readers and still suffer much from this tragic diagnosis. It can be debilitating. Lately I have had a hard time keeping my house in order. It really needs a good cleaning and I don’t have hired help anymore because I am only working part-time right now and my trip to Europe really set me back. Sorry if I sound like I am complaining but I am very frustrated right now with myself and hope that I can get my house cleaned this week. When my house is in order I feel so much better about myself.

I hope my readers are doing ok. Sorry this is not an uplifting post but I still suffer much and need to write about these times too.

Pax
Victoria

Italy was like a dream!

I have been back from Italy for a week now and finally realized what I wanted to write about my trip on here~
It was like a dream, like my schizophrenia was in full remission practically the whole time. I was worried about the flight, 15 hours on two planes, worried about making all the connections and worried I might not get along the whole time with my daughter. I shouldn’t have been worried at all. I prayed to Padre Pio for all my worries and he faithfully answered every one of them.

The flight was no big deal although I couldn’t sleep on the plane. We made every single connection easily from bus to train to taxis. It was a religious journey intermixed with fun, and both were realized on this long journey around the world. And my time with my daughter was priceless. It is the first of our many travels but this first trip I will always remember as the most special. It was the perfect trip.

I could write much more but will leave it there as sometimes less words are better than many.

Pax

Victoria

Mental Health Day today…

It finally happened today!  I didn’t work due to feeling off balanced mentally.  This is the first time it has happened since I started working part-time.  I didn’t call in sick though instead I just switched my days and am working on Friday.  I just wasn’t “feeling it” is the best way to describe it.  I tried to go to an AA meeting but half way through I knew I couldn’t share and wasn’t getting much out of it anyway so I excused myself saying I wasn’t feeling well.  I am home now in comfy clothes and going to go on an errand with my daughter in a little bit so we will see how that goes.

My daughter is my greatest family support and she is leaving in July or August to go to school in Colorado.  We usually hang out on Wednesdays but it is bittersweet for me because I know she will be leaving soon and I just can’t think what I will do without her.  She understands me better than anyone in my family and is just an awesome daughter many times over.  But I refuse to hold her back from her dream of moving out of our small town and seeing the world.

On one of our walks recently she told me something that I really hope comes true that once she is done with college out of state she wants to live on the Central Coast so that her children can see me a lot and be near their grandmother (that’s me!).  It made my day because she has never said that before and I so much do want to be a part of her life and any children she may have.

Here is to a better day tomorrow!

Pax

Victoria

Am I just a lucky one? or are there more of us doing well?

 

Today I spoke to a reader who is struggling with a loved one with Schizoaffective Disorder who is not doing well and who is in my opinion over medicated by their psychiatrist.  As I was describing all I have done post diagnosis (got my Master’s Degree in psychology, work part time, manage a family, write a blog, and travel to name a few things I have accomplished since being diagnosed in 2008) and I felt very lucky that I am able to do so many things.  I know about a handful of people I have met through this blog who are somewhat able to live a productive life with this diagnosis but I would love to hear from more, either in the comments or email me and share your successes, please.  I want to give her hope and I know there are more of us “lucky ones” out there.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I have had my share of difficulties (3 hospitalizations, months of time off on disability, struggles with socialization, although not recently) but have been able to be more productive than not since being diagnosed.  Of course what helps too is that my immediate family including my husband of 23 years are patient with me and some of them are a great support especially my adult daughter who is moving out of state in July:(  Sure we will facetime but it won’t be the same.  I have had several years to prepare for her to depart though and have built a support system outside of her so that I won’t be as disrupted by her move as much.  I have an awesome, understanding psychiatrist, an excellent therapist (who I see on an as need basis), friends and my dogs who are there for me every day to help me with my anxiety.

I find I don’t really need to blog anymore as a way to cope, but I enjoy all the emails I get and the people I have met through this blog so will continue to blog my personal recovery from Schizoaffective Disorder.

That being said, I welcome any topic anyone might want me to expand on!

On a side note regarding my sign off with Pax, there is a precious saint I honor every time I write it.  Her name is St. Philomena and I ask for her intercession often to help me and my loved ones.  I recommend it highly to those who are Catholic or not!  Sadly we will not be visiting her tomb when we go to Italy but we are taking a day trip to San Giovanni Rotondo to visit the resting place of Padre Pio a modern day saint I have a special affection for also.

Pax

Victoria

 

Solitude can be good at times…

Well what can I say that hasn’t already been said? Life is still good. Couldn’t find anyone to go to the beach with me so I went by myself and glad I did. The day was warm with light winds and the ocean was impeccable. Got good coffee, read a book and just enjoyed being alone for a bit. Sometimes it is hard for me to get out of my house so today was progress. I can get to work ok and meetings but to just get out on my day off can be a challenge. The main thing is that I don’t have a lot of money to spare right now due to my trip in June. I try to watch every penny.
One thing I did recently that was not helpful was read a book about one woman’s psychotic journey to recovery. This was not helpful because I try to forget that period for a good reason, it wasn’t fun but terrible. I never want to be psychotic again and lose touch with reality. I hold onto my sanity with all that I am. I had read this book before and it was helpful, but not now. Learning what is helpful or not is key to recovery I believe.

Pax

Victoria