by Zach in Nebraska
As far as how has mental illness affected my life, it has completely changed my life. Growing up I was almost never sick and never had to go to doctors. Now I go to my nurse practitioner once a month to monitor how I m doing with my mental illness. I don't have many friends and I haven't dated in almost a year, but the friends that I do have are amazing. I also get a lot of support from family members more so than I could have ever imagined.
I was able to finish college in spite of my schizophrenia. However, I haven't been able to hold permanent employment since I was diagnosed in 2000. The everyday stress, office politics and everything else associated with work are way too overwhelming for me to even think about permanent work.
I was 20 years old when I was first diagnosed but had been having problems for over three years before hand. My diagnosis is officially paranoid schizophrenia. I am taking anti-psychotic medications every day and seeing a nurse practitioner once a month. I don't do therapy because I haven't found it to be effective.
Until I can qualify for disability, the only way I can afford insurance is through my parents paying for it. I applied for that last year. The wait looks to be at least one more year.
I am single and have no children so I don't qualify for most government assistance programs. So much for doing the right thing and living clean. As far as employers are concerned, I certainly have experienced discrimination. I've been discriminated against at every job I have ever held. Most of my jobs my hours were cut so severely that I was forced to quit and find other employment just so I could survive. Plus, I faced problems from my coworkers never including me in any social activities and chewing me out excessively for my mistakes at work. Ultimately, I developed such anxiety problems about work that I couldn't even hold a job at the Goodwill. Even there I had problems with coworkers refusing to understand my problems.
I am not married and have no prospects of ever getting married. I mean what woman would even consider a man who can't support himself and who has a mental illness. On top of that I have no children and have no plans of ever having kids. I live in a low income apartment complex in a small college town. I have a Bachelor's degree in Business Management. As far as hobbies, I love reading, writing, computer work and spending time with friends.
If I could change how people view mental illness, I would make it so that mental illness was viewed as any physical ailment is viewed now. One would be considered heartless for telling someone with cancer to snap out of it or toughen up. Yet that is done to people with mental illness every day. The most helpful thing to me has been being able to write and have the support of friends and family. Without support from my family, I would be on the street, in prison or dead.