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?

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 (lack of motivation, flat affect)  symptoms 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 viwed almost 5,000 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:

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 overmedicated 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

Learning to relax again…

Today was a pretty good day.  I worked in the morning and in the afternoon went whale watching off of the coast of Santa Barbara.  My friend and I saw about ten whales which was magnificent to see these beautiful creatures coasting sometimes along the side of the boat or watch them playing from afar.  But the best part was I was at ease with myself and at one point as I was relaxing on the cozy cushions on the boat I just sat there and felt the sun on my face and felt so relaxed.  It was incredible from where I was just a few months ago.  The best part is I get to go out again on the same boat on Saturday with my husband.

What does this have to do with recovery from Schizoaffective Disorder?  A lot.  I don’t relax very easy as I am pretty anxious most of the time but today out on the water I felt like my old self again which was pretty awesome.  Getting out in nature lately has really helped my recovery.  I will never be fully recovered but little by little I feel like I am becoming more symptom free on medicine and learning to live with the side effects.  Here is to all of us who have this terrible disorder, whether it is nature, church, or anything we enjoy, let us all partake in life again and attempt better days like today!

Pax

Victoria

Learning how to relax again…

Today was a pretty good day.  I worked in the morning and in the afternoon went whale watching off of the coast of Santa Barbara.  My friend and I saw about ten whales which was magnificent to see these beautiful creatures coasting sometimes along the side of the boat or watch them playing from afar.  But the best part was I was at ease with myself and at one point as I was relaxing on the cozy cushions on the boat I just sat there and felt the sun on my face and felt so relaxed.  It was incredible from where I was just a few months ago.  The best part is I get to go out again on the same boat on Saturday with my husband.

What does this have to do with recovery from Schizoaffective Disorder?  A lot.  I don’t relax very easy as I am pretty anxious most of the time but today out on the water I felt like my old self again which was pretty awesome.  Getting out in nature lately has really helped my recovery.  I will never be fully recovered but little by little I feel like I am becoming more symptom free on medicine and learning to live with the side effects.  Here is to all of us who have this terrible disorder, whether it is nature, church, or anything we enjoy, let us all partake in life again and attempt better days like today!

Pax

Victoria

I joined a peer group!

In my last post I blogged how to get more involved in NAMI.  Well I did some research and while searching stumbled upon a peer group that I can facilitate one day if I get through the class.  We have only met once but I really liked everyone and the material presented.  It had quite a few topics which resonated with me on a positive note.  I can’t wait for the next class.  Today we did an exercise on what our miracle day will be like which is one of the questions I ask my clients using Solution Focused Therapy.  It got me thinking what I can do to achieve my miracle day.  I know to the rest of the world I am very productive but I have a lot of time where I am at a loss of what to do next and just how to relax comfortably.  Coming up triggers will be discussed which I am very interested in.  I am back at work but don’t want to relapse again into suicidal thinking like not that long ago and have to go back on disability.

As far as my work goes, I have accepted full time work for now but will have one afternoon off during the week when I will go to the peer class and get other things done.  I don’t know how everyone else gets everything done working Monday through Friday.  I need some of those hours to handle my finances and other things and on the weekends can’t accomplish that much?

I am back to walking again which is a great relief.  Movement puts me in such a better mood.  This last month with a bad back prevented me from my normal exercise routine and I really missed it.  Next I hope to get back into gardening, my plants are thirsty and I want to do so much…  Upcoming is my trip to Europe in June.  I am very excited to be going with my daughter to Rome!

Here is a great story of one person’s struggle with Schizophrenia  Enjoy, there is hope on this journey of recovery!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDVxhdPP4SY&feature=youtu.be&list=UUNCuaUgOsvGnAYFh-K0msrA

Wishing you all a great spring!

Pax

Victoria

A surprise at work

Victoria here,

Hello to all!  Well after being back at work for a short period part time they have asked me if I can go full time if we get another grant!  I am not jumping into it but am so grateful that they like my work so much they want me full time.  I am grateful for a number of reasons.

1. That they consider my work to be quality

2. That I am able to work again

3. That I feel like I am making a difference in peoples’ lives again

4. That I am not psychotic or depressed

5. That I can handle this job thanks to excellent management

6. For all of you who continue to support me on my personal recovery from Schizoaffective Disorder

If that isn’t a good list I don’t know what is.

Back to my work, I like the idea of going full time but it will be a challenge and I have to consider what it may cost me.  I will need more help around the house and I must not let the bills go like before.  I am motivated to do this because currently I am working 3 days a week right now and the other 3 days I am at a loss what to do.  I get bored with hobbies I have been into in the past and can only blog so much if you know what I mean.  I hurt my back a month ago but prayed to St. Philomena and was healed.  Now I have to get back to exercise, I have no excuse really and have put on a little weight in my sedentary month.  Man if I look at a cheeseburger I seem to gain weight.  I must accept I cannot eat like a normal person does.  I must do my 2 shakes a day with a light lunch filled with fruits and vegetables and one snack which I enjoy.  I am a foodie but lately haven’t been obsessed with eating like in the past.

For my spiritual fulfillment I have really been enjoying Eckhart Tolle.  He has written several books the one that got me hooked was Stillness Speaks.  I highly recommend it as it quiets the mind and helps me to be more in the present rather than chasing every thought that comes in my mind.

Here are a few quotes from this German/Canadian spiritual teacher~

Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don’t realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.

ECKHART TOLLE, The Power of Now

When you become aware of silence, immediately there is that state of inner still alertness. You are present. You have stepped out of thousands of years of collective human conditioning.

ECKHART TOLLE, Stillness Speaks

Read more at http://www.notable-quotes.com/t/tolle_eckhart.html#X7GoWQYIlV8reqb8.99

He also has an online tv which you can get a free trial.  He is quite amusing and often laughs to himself which really cracks me up.

I also read a really good blog today on Tumblr from someone who is active in Nami and is doing really well sharing with others.  Does anyone know how to get more involved with Nami?

Thank you to all for reading my blog, making comments and all the emails from around the world.  I know this little blog has gotten over 5,000 views which may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of the internet but it is a lot to me and I appreciate it so much.  I have heard from doctors and practitioners like me, people struggling and doing well, college students writng papers, and loved ones of those afflicted.  I appreciate every single email and comment.  There is not one comment I have not allowed which really says that this is a stand up audience and a great forum to share and comment safely.  Through this positive experience I have been so blessed and it has provided a place for me to share what is on my mind and has helped me in my recovery as a sort of outlet.  Many have shared that it has helped them too so it is definitely a symbiotic relationship:)

Bless you all,

Pax

Victoria

P.S. If anyone is interested why I sign my name with Pax please ask me as I do have a story to tell about it, which I may write about in the future anyway but will sooner if anyone is interested.