I am here to say that there is much hope for people who have a mental illness. From 1990 through 2001, I was hospitalized four times. Most of the recurring visits were due to my perception that the regular consumption of medicine would put me into a class of people who suffer from stigmatization. Mostly in denial for 11 years, I only consumed medication on an intermittent basis, and therefore the desired stability with the counsel of doctors was only temporary.
Over the past 20 years, my condition has vastly improved with ongoing stability and normalcy. The decision in 2001 was to take my medication every day on a systematic basis and treat the medicine like taking vitamins – something that is essential to my health. The stigmatization is no longer an issue because my stability has brought normalcy to my life. Along with consuming my Vitamin C every evening, I take Depakote and risperidone. The vitamin C prevents scurvy, and the medications are helping me to enjoy a normal life. I cannot emphasize more how important it is never to miss a dose. I treat the medicine as an essential vitamin. I need it, and that’s all there is to it.
I am a Christian, and daily prayers to the Lord have also given my life support and structure. Many believers over the years have prayed for my well-being, and my spirit received all their prayers. However, if a Christian tells you that if you have enough faith, you don’t need medicine, I am here to tell you that you still need to take your medicine, regardless of how much faith you have. The Lord might choose to heal you completely, but don’t stop taking your medication unless your psychiatrist advises you to do so.
In terms of stigmatization, I have found that when there is stability in your life, people are generally not aware of a problem. If you mention what medicines you take, as some senior citizens quite often do, you are conveying your diagnosis to others. When there is normalcy in your life, most people would not be able to discern your condition. Use wisdom and know your audience.
Listen to your doctor. Take your medicine. Eat healthily and try to refrain from using alcohol. This regimen will put you on a trajectory to success and stability. The choice is up to you, or it can be up to somebody else. Take your medication systematically, and the choice will most likely remain in your favor. You can do it, and don’t give up. God loves you!
Want to read When was my funeral, and how come I wasn’t there? Check out the link above!
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About the Author: Robert Pfautsch is the author of When Was My Funeral, and How Come I Wasn’t There?, a book about a decade-long personal struggle with mental illness.
Photo by Olga DeLawrence on Unsplash
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