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“Finding My Purpose After Psychosis”

Read about one author’s experience with psychosis, and the steps she took after a period of hospitalization and recovery to discover a part of her identity she thought she had lost. The following is an excerpt; you can read the entire post on the NAMI blog:

“I was working on a PhD in the humanities when I experienced my first episode of psychosis. I quickly spiraled into delusions and full-blown mania…For seven months, I lived in a delusional state isolated and torn away from all that I loved and had worked for in my life.

It took me several years to find and become stable on the right antipsychotic medication and accompanying medications that make the side effects bearable. According to my doctor, I would get well. And he was right. But that didn’t mean I coufald pick up my life where I left off before my episode.

I worried that no matter what I did from now on I would fail. I began to believe that mental illness had destroyed my life and left me intellectually crippled. What could I possibly do now that would bring me the intense joy that research and writing had shown me was possible?

I decided to write poems about the pirates I had researched so extensively. But, who wanted poems on such a topic? Why, children of course. So, I began work on a book of children’s poems. It was such an absolute surprise to engage in this activity. It had never occurred to me that I might undertake and embrace my fate as a children’s author. I spent two years laboring on this new book. Finally, at last, I could work hard and produce something.

Mental illness doesn’t have to be the one definition of who we are. It may be a disability we have to cope with, but it also may bring opportunities we never expected to make life bright and enjoyable. I think any lesson derived from my experience is that you should never give up on hope. It took me a decade to find an activity I could pursue with success. And that activity was something I fell into by accident without thought or planning. That one thing for you is out there, too. Though mental illness is a devastating diagnosis, I firmly believe we can overcome our limitations to live a life of satisfaction once again. I am living proof that hard work pays off.

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