Victory, Now

Received Dec 2004

My recovery is the exception that needs to become the rule: within 24 hours of my psychotic break, my mother drove me to the hospital, where I was admitted and given the medication that worked. This first episode happened in the fall of 1987, after I graduated from the University in June, with a BA in English. I started to get paranoid, exhibited odd behavior, and wore bizarre makeup and dressed in tatters. I was 22 years old.

Three years later, I stopped collecting government disability checks, I lived independently, and I had a full-time job with health
benefits. It had been my goal to do all these things, because in the years after I got out of the hospital, I lived in residences and attended day programs. The ex-patients there were lifers, with no ambition, who willingly allowed others to do everything for them. It wasn't the kind of life I wanted to lead. I knew I could do better.

In my 20s, it was rocky. Though I still had a lot of messy feelings, I thought I was doing well, because nobody else was able to hold a full-time job or do what I had done. I asked my doctor to supervise a drug holiday in April of 1992 and it had fateful consequences. I relapsed in July and spent two weeks in the hospital. Returning to
work, I found out my career at the firm was toast.

This had a domino effect. I found and lost one dead-end job after another. Laid off in June of 1997, I decided to follow though with my goal of going back to school. In June of 2000, I graduated with a Masters in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. This degree opened up the world to me. I found the career I love, far
different from the one I took just to get out of the system. As a public service librarian, I interact with members of the
public every day. I research their information needs using the computer and reference books. Currently, I'm a YA librarian, which means I work with the teens. I've held for them poetry workshops and a tee-shirt design program. I also recommend good books to read.

When I started working here, things happened in a snowball roll. I joined a writing workshop, where 'm working on my book. After that, I found a great support group where I met people who have become friends. I started to write the female Living Life column for Schizophrenia Digest. As well, I contribute articles to New York City Voices.This all wouldn't have been possible without the love and support of my family, who saw me at my worst and loved and accepted me
anyway. I also have a great psychiatrist who treats me like a human being. He told me I've recovered fully. I'm in remission from the schizophrenia. I have been out of the hospital for 15 years.

As long as I'm on the medication, I have no symptoms. Of course, the rattle in my head comes back when I have stress, in the form of self-doubt. It's like my schizophrenic brain has to find another way to mock me. It will do anything to try to take away my hard-earned confidence, but I won't let it!

So I do the things I have to do to keep my thoughts and feelings in harmony: take meds, attend the support group, and write in my journal. Also, I credit full-time employment in the career I love as the #1 factor in my having recovered successfully. It's a source of pride, it gets me out of the house, and it gives me a livable income so I can own a co-op, invest for my retirement, and travel.

I'm proud of how far I've come. It took determination and hard work. I have a vision for what I want to do while I'm here on this
earth. My goal in life is to use my writing to make things right. Through my words and actions, I seek to inspire others to change for the better. I'm writing a memoir about my experiences. I expect to publish it when I'm 42. In 2005, I turn 40. I think the best is yet to be.



   Copyright 1996-2004. All Rights Reserved.