My mental health
- 1 Post
- Age 22
My name is Vishalatchi Arunagiri and I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia two years ago. I did not realize that I had this mental illness and at first could not accept it. Is this reality or fantasy? I was experiencing intense delusions that felt so real, it were not possible that it was a fantasy. But now, I have come a long way and can tell the differences between reality and fantasy and I want to share some of my experiences. This story is not a story about my struggles or a debate on treatment options, it’s a story about how to not give up and to live your life and function even with this disorder and the side-effects of medication.
I have lived in many countries and have travelled a lot, I used to be very independent and sociable but when my mother left me alone for three weeks something bad happened to me. I couldn’t cope with my fashion and marketing course. I stopped eating and I would sleep a lot. I did not pick up any phone calls. Soon after I was diagnosed as having Schizophrenia. When I first got diagnosed I didn’t realize that I was living in a fantasy world and wasn’t able to know what was reality was. I would tell my parents my delusions as if it was real and happening but now after medication I realize it was a delusion but at that time it felt so real.
It wasn’t easy at first. I would forget to shower and brush my teeth at times and wash my hair. I needed to be reminded from time to time. I had a lot of paranoid fears as well such as somebody is going to rob me, kidnap me or kill me. I was afraid to be alone because my sense of direction is poor. But now I am much better and sometimes after class I will go into an eating shop and wait for mom. I am a very positive person and as I took control of my life, things got better. I never go back to the past and I keep on going into the future and focus on the present.
As I became more and more aware of myself after taking medication and seeing a psychologist for psychotherapy, I started to become much better. They gave me strategies on how to deal with the symptoms. I learnt to deal with the symptoms by seeing a psychologist every Friday, which helped me in functioning. I also found an academy that does makeup and started taking makeup classes to take my mind off things. I help my mom with her business as well.
Going to class was not always easy but I had help from my mom to push me everyday with waking up, as I always feel so sleepy due to the side effects of the medication. But that didn’t stop me from graduating with a diploma in bridal makeup and media make up.
The medication can have many side effects, such as sleepiness, the ability to walk well etc. but I learned to deal with it. The medication has helped me a lot as I am so much more aware now between what is real and fantasy. I know what is a delusion and what is real. I am able to focus more and the voices in my head have lessened. But you can’t do it with medication alone. I had to work hard especially during stressful situations such as my final exams. I practised a lot and the teacher in the academy was very helpful and understood when I was tired and she would send me back early.
It is not always easy but I have come so far and I am still fighting and I am happy to say that I have completed a course during my illness and I did it all by myself. I hope that other people like me do not give up and please go out there and do something and something that you love. I love fashion and makeup and so it gave me the inner strength and desire to do more. After this my life changed and I started to become closer to my mother and family. I am always telling myself that things will get better and it did. When I saw success stories, it would help inspire me and reading a lot about the illness educated me. So it is important to keep yourself educated and motivated.
After completing my course, I took up another course in media makeup. Media makeup is mainly for fashion. I have graduated from. Currently studying Indian bridal and will be finishing soon.
I also did one semester in fine arts and graduated from sketching and drawing module. Currently I have my own business which offers makeup for anybody and everybody from normal to abnormal. I have published my book part one of in my shoes which talks about my illness and learning disability.
If I can graduate and do a business on my own and showing great recovery so can everyone else.