Coping Skills

What is Stigma?

Anyone who knows someone with a mental illness has probably heard the word stigma at some point in talking to them.

They’ve probably been made aware that the media perpetrates an idea that people with major mental illnesses are unhinged and hopefully they’ve seen, through their friend or loved one that that that notion couldn’t be farther from the truth in the grand scheme of things.

It may seem like people with mental illness are...

Coping Skills

Sometimes We Need to Relax and That’s OK

I have trouble with this. I’m sure a lot of other people do too.

Essentially, I feel like I should be doing something productive every second of every day.

While being productive isn’t a bad thing there comes a point where you can eventually stress yourself out and for a person with mental illness, stress is the different between sanity and darkness.

I’ve said before that stress is like the light-switch for when my symptoms start...

Coping Skills

How to Make Friends

It seems to be a common problem of growing older that it becomes increasingly more difficult to make friends. In high school and college sheer proximity helped to forge some of the strongest friendships we’ll ever have. As we get older though, and get into our thirties and forties, making friends gets more and more difficult.

It seems that friendships go from being all-inclusive to once in a blue moon hangout time where it’s hard to form any deep, lasting bond. As we get older people get busier and busier, and what once were spur of the moment hangouts now have to be scheduled weeks or months in advance.

It’s definitely a strange state of affairs. There are still ways to make friends though.

Coping Skills

What Are You Thankful For?

I’ve spoken numerous times on the fact that happiness is fleeting and how it’s not something we should be striving for because it’s so momentary. I’ve talked about instead of happiness we should seek contentment through expressing gratitude.

How do we know what to express gratitude for though?

What if we can’t find it within ourselves to be thankful?

Coping Skills

How I Express Gratitude

I’ve talked before about seeking happiness, how it’s fleeting and isn’t sustainable and how we should seek contentment instead.

Contentment is the knowledge that things are ok, that although they could be better, they are, in the moment, pretty good.

One of the biggest ways to find contentment is through expressing gratitude and being thankful.

A lot of people have trouble with this though so I figured I’d tell you about my favorite ways of being grateful.

Coping Skills

How I Find Contentment

I’ve talked before about how, instead of trying to seek happiness we should aim for the more manageable goal of contentment. I think this is something we would all do well to wrap our heads around because constant happiness, as it stands, is fleeting. It’s a momentary thing that lasts for a day at most before the everyday starts to come flooding back into the picture.

Contentment, on the other hand, is the feeling of being ok with the way things stand. It’s being comfortable with life, not ecstatically happy but also not sad or angry.

The next question then, is how do we find this contentment and how do we maintain it?

Coping Skills

It’s OK to be Paranoid

In the time I’ve been living with schizophrenia there have been numerous instances, almost too many to count, where I fell into a whirlwind of paranoia.

Maybe it was surrounding some social anxiety I had or maybe I heard laughter that I imagined was about me or maybe someone said something that made me paranoid about what they thought.

The point is, I’ve been there.

There’s something else that has the tendency to happen in the aftermath though. I’ll have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that the paranoia is unfounded but once I do I start to analyze the paranoia and why it happens, and just what exactly is wrong with me that I fall into the paranoia trap.

Coping Skills

How I Deal With Difficult People

I feel bad even thinking about writing this. If you knew me you’d know that I’m very careful about speaking with ill will toward anybody. I believe everyone deserves respect regardless of their habits and their countenance, but as a naturally paranoid person, I’m also very wary of people.

A lot of the things that people do have a tendency to confuse me. Over the years this confusion has turned into a relative annoyance with people, and that is something I’m very well aware that I should probably work on. That said, I think we can all agree that there are some things people do that annoy us.

I don’t think anyone is immune to this. There will always be people we prefer not to be around simply because they have a way of conducting themselves that runs counter to the way we feel like things should be conducted.

Coping Skills

How to Be OK With Your Diagnosis

I know what it’s like to be terrified of a label.

I was diagnosed schizophrenic ten years ago and at the outset the label of crazy was like a death sentence. To me, as yet uneducated in the intricacies of mental illness, the diagnosis was horrifying. It meant that I was crazy, it meant that everything I believed about what was happening was an illusion. It was as if you were told that you’re whole life had been a dream, that nothing you thought was real actually existed. As you can imagine the movie ‘The Matrix’ was a pretty strong parallel. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard to take.

For years afterward I was lost, apathetic to nearly everything that happened because I was crazy and nothing mattered anymore. I didn’t care about anything because it became glaringly clear that the things most people cared about were mere inconveniences in comparison with a diagnosis of a severe chronic condition. It meant that the world, as it appeared to me, was only an illusion.

Coping Skills

How to be Patient: Dealing with the Fire of Ambition

The twenties are hard.

I know this innately having just emerged from that tenuous decade with some serious life lessons.

For the longest time I wanted things so badly I would’ve done anything. I wanted success so badly I wrote for gossip magazines and for content mills that got rich without paying me simply for the exposure.

I know what it’s like to feel as if, no matter what you do, your situation isn’t changing. I know what it’s like to fight and fight some more for some small morsel of success that is fleeting and lasts for at most, a week before you’re back to where you were before.

The thing I learned from all this is that it never lasts.