How are you? I hope you are well.
What do writers think about when they write a blog?
We think about things like, who is our target audience, who do we want to appeal to, how and why?
Why am I asking these questions?
Simply, it is because I read a blog post by another author about finding our target audience.
What have I discovered?
I have learned that my intentions for this blog have evolved somewhat, since I had certain intentions when I opened the blog, but I found there is a need and that this is a need I can full fill, but it is outside the realm of what I initially intended this blog to be.
What is that need?
The need is for Hope for people facing Schizophrenia.
I read somewhere (don’t quote me on this) that 10 per cent of people facing schizophrenia end up killing themselves. This is an alarming rate. That is one in ten people who have been diagnosed.
Why am I concerned?
ok, so – firstly, I have been diagnosed with this thing they refer to as a “brain disease”. Secondly, I am aware of how a persons’ worldview (this includes their internal world) impacts on well-being and ones’ levels of hope and optimism. I’ve at some stage read a book called, ‘Learned Optimism’ – by Martin Seligman. In it, Seligman claims that how we view our problems, determines our outlook. We can either view problems as permanent, pervasive and personal, or we can view them as impermanent, global and impersonal.
If we view problems as permanent, pervasive and personal, we tend to have a very negative worldview, less hope, less optimism – or even none at all.
For someone being told my an expert that they have a brain disease, this at first can seem all 3 permanent, pervasive and personal. “I have a “brains disease” inside MY brain.” This problem we’re told will only get worse as we age, despite treatment, and our only option is treatment, because it will get worse even faster without treatment. So, not only is it “My brain disease”, but it is permanent, pervasive and it will get worse no matter what I do, and I have to take horrible medications that I don’t want to take!!!
ok, but then consider this:
Other people have schizophrenia too. 1 in 100 is diagnosed with it, maybe even 2 in every 100 in the west. Australia has a population of 22 million (or thereabouts, maybe more). Therefore, there are hundreds of thousands of people in my country alone who are also facing this illness. Am I alone in this? No. Is it personal? Yes. But is it also global? Yes. People the world over face this problem. It is not only me and my fellow countrymen. Therefore I can depersonalise it so to speak.
OK, so next: is it permanent? We’re told my psychiatrists that it is. That we will never fully recover. Many people contest this view and I’m inclined to go along with them. Why? This gives me hope! Is it false hope? Maybe. Do I think it is false hope? No. How can hope possibly be false? Hope protects you from all sorts of problems. It is possibly the reason I have more recently been given a good prognosis (you could say it is because my symptoms are under control… but I would then say, that is because I have hope. Before when I didn’t have hope, my symptoms were much worse. As my hope increased, my symptoms decreased.)
OK, then, is it pervasive? Do I experience an altered state of mind constantly? At first, yes. I was acutely “psychotic” (I was hearing things, voices, industrial noises, trains, bombs, swords, nails hammering into boxes etc. the grass was talking, the birds were talking, the skye was singing). But now? Now I barely experience psychotic symptoms. I do not experience them at all during the day time. I experience them a little at night some nights. Most of the time I do not experience them at all.
What’s more? Other people facing schizophrenia – even people who are more unwell than me – can and do get on with their lives, get married, have children, own pets, have the entire package: house, car, family etc. as the mainstream media encourages us to work for all these things.
I personally feel liberated in the fact that I don’t need these things, but can choose them if I wish (but then I have to work hard for them, just like anybody else).
So, who am I writing for? I am writing for the person facing schizophrenia who has a very sad worldview, but who wants to have a hopeful one. I am writing for the person who would otherwise go down a very dark, self-destructive path and eventually (God forbid!) suicide – someone who I want to see their value and place in the world. Someone I want to stay in this world. Someone who can live a happy, normal life – despite their illness.
Someone who could even possibly live an EXTROADINARY life.
If you are facing schizophrenia or a schizophrenia label (depending how you view it) and you are contemplating your life and feel that it is only going to get worse, please allow me to shake things up for you and consider this: You DO have value in the world. Both simply in your being and your presence. You do have something worthwhile to contribute. You do have a meaning to someone out there. If no-one else, you at least have meaning to me. If I’m having a bad day and don’t care about anyone, then you at least have meaning to God.
That being said, I don’t have bad days – well, I do, but not for long. I always shake myself out of a funk. Why? Because I have an excellent world view. I see no challenge as insurmountable. Yes, there will by days where it’s like pushing a rock up a hill, only for it to fall back down over you – and then you have to start pushing again. But then there are days when there is no rock, or the rock is very light, or the rock is a kind word from a stranger or the rock is a kind deed, or the rock dawdles it’s own way up the hill and stays there.
Days may vary, but one thing that will remain constant for me is my world view. I see that although I have been acutely psychotic, I am stable now and I get to enjoy this wellness now. If it were to get worse, I would pick myself back up – just as others do. I will find a way to get on with my life, work, meet new people and have a life. There may be a lot of judgmental people in the world who stigmatise the “mentally ill”, but there are also wonderful people in the world who restore your faith in humanity. They may be few and far between, but they are out there. You will find them if you search for them. – Or, there may be many good people, as I’ve recently discovered. When you are looking for the good in people, you bring it out in them – or they allow it out of themselves for you to see. But if you look for the bad in people, that is inevitable what you will find – because looking for wrongs, tends to bring them out. Thankfully, we CAN bring out the good!
We find what we seek. We become what we focus on. We can experience wellness. We can enjoy life.
I personally feel that my life is RICHER having experienced an acutely abnormal state of mind, because now I have a new standard for how bad life can be – and I now know, therefore, why it is so important to actively seek wellness – and because I actively seek wellness, I can experience it.
I try not to think of it like I have to avoid that state of mind. Of course I don’t want to be in that state of mind, but if it were to happen I would crawl back out of it again – only to enjoy wellness once more (whereas fighting kicking and screaming against it, can for some cause further psychosis). I try to think of it as making the most of my wellness now to create even more wellness for my future self. In so doing, I am creating a better destiny for myself than the one I would otherwise have. Even when I was unwell, I was working on becoming well. It was my sole intent and focus (that doesn’t mean I was selfish… I knew that to be able to help others, I needed to help myself, and I sort of ended up helping myself BY helping others).
In a way, having faced schizophrenia is the best thing that happened to me. Because I learned that once you hit rock bottom, it’s up up up from there. There are new highs and new lows, but you can always climb back up or be lifted back up when you fall. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.
Anxiety has been a big component of the illness that I face, so I’ve learned to breathe – because when one is breathing properly it is impossible to be anxious. If one is anxious, one is more in the mind than in the breath.
I’m not sure if I am making sense at this point. I feel as though I am rambling a little, so I will leave it there. I hope I have answered some of your questions.
I just want to reiterate. I did open this blog with different intentions to the ones I have now. Yes, I do want to create a business out of a blog, but I feel that will be another blog – not this one. This blog is now about reaching people with schizophrenia and showing them logically that there is reason to hope and that it will give them a better prognosis (at least I believe so, based on my own experiences – and friends who I’ve shared with have had the same experience once they got thinking about things in a certain way).
I do also hope to squash any stigma out there and to re-educate people about what it is to face schizophrenia head-on every day – and what it is to live a normal life though you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. I want people to know we’re not a bunch of no-good, good-for-nothing, ‘less thans’, unworthy of dignity, choice, autonomy or rights. We are valuable individuals who have a lot to offer one another and society at large. We can contribute in ways beyond your imagination, if you’ll only let us.
Furthermore, we can achieve anything we set our minds to: just like any other person.
Wherever you are in the world, good day and or good night. 😉