Finding Acceptance

I see a lot of people today get upset when things don’t turn out the way they “plan”; we have all had days like that–all you want to do is go to sleep and start over. I am the last to judge; however, I will be the first to remind my fellow comrades in this journey we call human life–“PLAN” is a four-lettered word.

For those who are not familiar with this old saying, which I haven’t done any official research into where it all started, (don’t think it necessary anyways), it basically gives whatever the word is a negative connotation meaning that it can bring about bad luck; therefore, a person shouldn’t use the word. Another interpretation that is often given is that the four lettered word is “dirty” or obscene and we need to keep a tight restraint on the usage of that particular type of language for it can start fights and wars….

So looking at the word “Plan” and how people often are told we need here in America to plan our life, this gives people with mental illnesses, myself included, a big knee-jerk reaction…only difference is now instead of using the word “PLAN” the code name is “GOAL” (notice, another four-lettered word!!!) And guess what?

When we miss a “goal”, we often start this internal war within ourselves, beating ourselves up and calling ourselves failures. Why do people with mental illnesses (like myself) say this is even harder on us that the average Joe? I can wake up in the morning and set a goal to do just two things. Say for example: dishes at night and putting flea medicine on my cat at the vets.

Well, here comes the first of the month. Which for most disabled people mean all our money in one lump sum for the month, except for food stamps, some get them the 5th others the 10th and others the 1st…I get mine the 10th and am glad I do. So I start writing lists, paying bills, going to the grocery store, and putting everything in its proper place…then all tired and exhausted I go one more time out to the vet. By the time I get back, my dishes remain dirty until sometime the next day.

Do I have a meltdown about it the next morning? To be honest, I used to. I would be paranoid that a neighbor may come over to my house and start to think: “What a slob! Look at all those dirty dishes piled up.” I felt tortured as if something was terribly wrong with me that I couldn’t do dishes when I “should.”

But no, not any more. I have come to accept the fact that should is a four-letter word incognito. It is a term that many counselors now label under a grouping list of words and thoughts called “stinkin’ thinkin’.”Or another way to classify them is simply negative thinking. Who came up with the “should” standard? Who says I must do dishes every night? Where does it all come from?

In my head.

And why?

Because I want to control any and every and all aspects that I can of my life while I am here on Planet Earth.

BUT…

In many aspects, control is just an illusion that most human beings steadily chase after…they place their trophies on their bookcases, their medals all along one wall, or their ribbons displayed elegantly in some shadow box all as if to brag–HEY I reached my goal!

Kudos.

Yet, where is the award for the individual who listens to their internal demons screaming that something truly bad was happening to their child while they lay trapped and helpless in a mental institution labeled as crazy so that no one would take them seriously.

Where is the award for the mothers whose children are taken from them because the mother is suddenly diagnosed with bi-polar disorder…yes, she may have screamed at the kids every once in a while, but at least she never put any bruises on her kids…and now she’s looked upon as some dangerous villain and her kids get picked up by DHS and DHS hands them back to the father who is a junkie that likes to secretly molest children?

(Warning: Four-letter word approaching…)

I’m telling you, this shit happens in reality right here in the great United States. I’ve heard plenty of horrific tales…yes, some could be considered magnified or delusional (given that most my life I have lived with people that have mental issues); however, some really happened.

Ok. Ok. I’ll stop my rant…got a little excited there. Now, let me see what the topic was at the start of this post. Oh yes. Finding acceptance…

Since I knew I was going to be stuck in the institution for a while, I went on a quest: I wanted answers as to why…why me? I searched for the truth for I felt it had to be something spiritual since the doctors still can’t pinpoint how a person gets schizophrenia.

I started reading some about Buddhism and that religion, then I progressed into chakra therapy or New Age beliefs, then I bought a book on Chinese philosophy called (not the actual, but a rendition of it) the I Ching, then somewhere in between all that, I looked into Wicca and Druidism.

Then last but not least, I asked my father (a preacher) to buy me a good Bible with a concordance in it. I spent a year or more reading and researching in the Bible. Not only did it have a cross-reference concordance in between the verses, but it also had the actual meaning of the Greek or Hebrew words used that were important.

To my surprise, I found several verses of the Bible helped me along my journey towards the acceptance of my son’s death and the fact that I ended his life. Several items that I can’t quote verbatim, but I know are in there were things like this:

  • In the Old Testament, God orders all the first-born son’s in each family to be killed by the Angel _________. Why? Because the people were not listening to God’s command to free the slaves. I thought: “What? God killing innocent children? Wow.”
  • What the Lord giveth, He can taketh away.
  • The entire book of Job-lost his family and possessions, but not his faith. And God allowed it.
  • The whole idea of owning your child is ridiculous! Children are blessings from God. Many people place their children first in their lives. That is great for I used to do the same thing; however, after what happened to my son, another verse I kept seeing was that God should be placed as number one. Live for Him and then for your family.

So I started to find a spiritual sense of security by reading the Bible again and applying it to some of my own life’s experiences. Finding acceptance with yourself needs to come first before you run out and try to get liked and accepted by others.

It’s really ironic to me how others will tell a out-right lie, and you know it is, and how it doesn’t bother me anymore. I see past the lie. I see the fear they are holding in check. They may be drunk or on drugs and pop off any answer that 80% of the time is a half-truth or flat lie and that used to make me so angry and mad.

Now, I see a fear. They are scared to be honest. Some of the fear is that I may judge them. I might label them to some extent, but never judge. That is not my place. That is God’s place. Sometimes I do get to talking and people will be so worked up and worried over what others might think…I say honey, God is the only one you have to prove anything to and since He has watched your every move; He knows how recovery can be difficult.

And yes, sometimes I even have to tell myself the very same thing. I am on Abilify 10mg in the morning now and it still makes me want to sleep a bit more. It also makes me a bit more loopy after lunch; yet overall, I feel so much happier and at peace. One more verse from the Bible that I might stumble upon again: Something about if you are a child of God, no amount of poison that the enemy tries to give you will harm you.

I say this to anyone who is considering to stop their medication without talking to their doctor first…unless it’s giving you suicidal or homicidal thoughts and ideas; God will always be there to listen to you rant and then count your tears. Learning acceptance of yourself is an on-going process. Just remember that you ARE special and you are NOT alone. Peace, LaVancia

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About LaVancia Phoenix

I am writing an autobiography about recovering from paranoid schizophrenia and being given the Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity verdict for drowning my son in the bathtub. I'm hoping to smash through some of the stigma associated with people being labeled "criminally insane," as well as shed light for those still working on their recovery from this illness.
This entry was posted in beliefs, inspiration, mental illness, mental institution, philosophy, sanity, schizophrenia and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Finding Acceptance

  1. emily says:

    Dear Lavancia,

    I just found out my partner has a form of paranoid schizophrenia. I mean today, this very morning. He’s in psychosis right now, has been given a heap of drugs by his psychiatrist and she’s going to ring him in the morning. He’s just informed me he had an episode back in 2008 where he had 2 months off work, was hearing voices, had suicidal thoughts,amongst other things. He’s also just broken the news his cousin went through the exact same thing. I know all about his mother, who’s had Schizoaffective Disorder, that I knew 4 years ago when I first met him, as with her treatment is fairly ineffective so it was apparent with me because of my psychology training. I believe his psychiatrist is at fault this time, she should have seen this coming from a mile off. He’s having a breakdown here, and there’s talk of hospitalisation if he can’t break out of it. I’m being as supportive as possible, and will watch over him carefully, as I’m drawing on my training in psychology to help him. He feels so ashamed and ineffectual, but I said to him would he feel the same way if it was a ‘physical’ diagnosis like cancer? Of course not, this is an illness like any other.

    The thing is, I am planning on leaving him. I’d rather not discuss the reasons behind it her so much. How can I do that now though? What if he suicides because of it? He says he’d be dead without me and that scares me. I know you’re not an advice columnist but you know what it’s like to be diagnosed with this illness. What advice would you give to him, what would you tell yourself if you could advise your newly diagnosed self? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you sincerely,

    Emily

    Like

    • Well, for me, first and foremost that would have helped would be that someone telling me that you CAN recover from sz with medication and counseling it can and does happen..

      Yes, there may be a few mudslides along the road, but eventually the sun comes out and you can climb back up to the road and take off again.

      Secondly, and most certainly tied to the first, is that he take his medications as prescribed.

      There is like a 80% chance that people with sz will stop taking their meds due to the fact that the are doing so well. They don’t realize or have forgotten what psychosis was like. If he is medication resistant, best thing to do (like I did when they switched my med to thorazine) is to keep a daily journal of how much sleep he is getting and just what kind of paranoid or suicidal or homicidal thoughts he may experience. That way, the next time he sees the doc. he can show him/her the journal and see if that drug is working for him or against him.

      Tell him to keep a journal of his thoughts and actions based upon the thoughts.

      For example when I was early in my psychotic phase, my thoughts or intrusive thoughts (voices) told me that I needed to pay closer attention to that which is near me. My behavior and result of this thought was I am near-sighted and in order to do what God was saying I put my glasses down and didn’t see them again until about 3 months later when I was in the hospital.

      Another thing I did, once my focus and concentration got better, is study about sz. I wanted to know what causes it and after reading several different websites and books, I could look back and see that my psychosis didn’t come all at once…there were warning signs; however, since I was pretty much a loner, no one noticed until I had my name splattered all over the front page of state newspapers.

      As far as your own safety is concerned, be careful. Trying to give you guilt trips like “I’d be dead without you.” is simply another form of manipulation and control. He wants you to feel the misery that he is going though. You have to remember that is HIS life, if he should end it then the reason would be because HE chose to.

      Personally after being with someone for four years and they never telling you about their mental illness would be enough for me to slam the door in his face and tell him to never come back. Honesty has always played a number one role in my relationships. In fact, my last one, about 2 years ago, ended due to his dishonesty from the beginning.

      Anyway, I don’t know what state you live in or country; however, try to find a mental health hotline number. It will give you someone anonymous to speak to who may have more ideas.

      But I will reiterate what you have pointed out, I’m not an advice columnist, just had some life experience…prayers to you, LaVancia

      Liked by 1 person

  2. emily says:

    Dear Lavancia,

    Thank you so much for replying with such speed and grace. All of your suggestions for his control of this illness are noted. I’ll be watching him like a hawk from now on, for his sake and for mine. Of course he’s resistant to the idea of helping himself, but that’s his general idea about life. Don’t know, don’t care. He’d never read up about his problems be they mental illness or in general, but he clings to his mobile so I’ve persuaded him (it took a lot of effort) to download a bunch of apps that help control the panic attacks, anxiety and sleep problems. Two days ago he was at work when he collapsed from every symptom known to man that Anxiety will trigger. He also thought that the public were out to get him and were judging him. He rang me in a complete panic from a medical centre, thinking he’d had a heart attack, and I thought it was bad Anxiety (as in the correct diagnosis), but I had no idea of what it really was. I’m in shock quite frankly. He tells me that he didn’t know what he had, and that it’s more a psychosis with generalized schizophrenia-like symptoms, I think he’s eye deep in denial.

    I know I can’t stay with him because he’s diagnosed with a mental illness, but the guilt comes to me when he’s sobbing in my arms. I’m still making plans until I can arrange some accomadation. I’m ill myself so I must look after myself. Apart from a high risk that I can have a heart attack without warning, my stress level is through the roof and I’m desperately trying to control it because I know what’s going to happen if I don’t. Apart from that, this is my life and I can’t sacrifice such a gift from God for anyone. You’re absolutely right, if something happens when I break the news to him, it would be his choice to do so. You’re also right about the emotional blackmail, I’m sure he’s noticed my changes in behaviour recently, I bet he knows on some level that I don’t want to be with him anymore and he’s trying to get me back by telling me he’s grateful for having me in his life all the time.

    So for the moment I will hold my peace and plan like crazy. All prayers will be accepted with gratitude, as He is my one recourse in life. Knowing you understand helps me, especially at the moment. I think I’ll be reading some of your older posts to gain some perspective from your point of view. I know you’re not a health professional, but you make an excellent start. I’m sure God made sure I stumbled onto your blog for a reason.

    This goes to show how difficult a clear cut diagnosis of sz really is. It also goes to show how it’s easy be tricked by people, and just because I’ve had training in psychology doesn’t mean I’m going to pick up the symptoms.

    God bless you Lavancia, and keep you well. For what it’s worth, I’m so very sorry that you had to go through all this.

    Emily

    By the way, I’m in Melbourne, Australia

    Liked by 2 people

    • My dear friend in down and under (if that terminology offends you as a fellow person from Australia, please feel free to let me know as I know nothing of the culture there other than the fact that my sister (the doctor) and my mom got to visit Australia for 3 days during a conference trip…most of it was seeing what we call the “tourist traps.” Anyway, violence doesn’t occur but in a very, very rare percentage of sz, I believe it happens like in only 1% or less. The media hypes it up as all people with a psychotic episode are going to grab a machine gun and start spraying bullets into a crowd for “no reason” (other than because of the delusional state the frame of mind is in and/or the voices seemingly taking control).
      I know I am the exception and not the rule, so I wouldn’t be afraid of your boyfriend to the extreme unless he starts talking about how God is telling him to do things or he starts speaking in tongues. These control hallucinations are often the cause of what later is classified as violent. Yet as I explained last time, it could start with a simply command such as taking off your glasses, or giving away all your possessions…I will keep you in my prayers as you ride through some waves of pressure. For me, learning to listen to my heart, versus learning to listen to my crazy thoughts was a big step in the right direction of recovery. God bless, LaVancia

      Liked by 1 person

      • emily says:

        Dearest LaVancia,

        Sorry I haven’t been able to get back to you until now, I haven’t been alone to get to write to you and let you know what’s happening. The medication is taking effect now, he’s definately not as bad as he was, but still has a way to go as he’s supposed to increase the medication by Thursday. The first night he was ordered by his psychiatrist to take half a tablet in the morning after he left his session, then half a tablet in the evening but he came straight home instead and had a bit of a breakdown. the end result was that he ended up taking the halves too close together (he’s an idiot who doesn’t take orders), and became quite manic and couldn’t stand still. I got the kitchen floors vacuumed and washed at least (he couldn’t stop doing things) but he’s brought home to me the kind of person he really is, and it’s strengthened my resolve to leave.

        I’m not afaid of physical violence as I already knew the statistics on that, but I can’t seem to convince my mother otherwise, and she calls me everyday telling me to watch out. He doesn’t have a violent bone in his body (too lazy lol) so why would he go that way now? I well know the effect on the public conciousness about sz and violence, for the media often get it wrong with medical conditions, I have seen a few things to do with diabetes that were so funny, my mum and I always get a good laugh from seeing tv shows where it’s all about the drama not the accuracy.

        I’m angry with him, that he kept this from me, not because he’s got an illness, I may as well be blamed for having diabetes but to conceal this? No way, you don’t keep this from the woman you want to marry. I’m waiting until I know I have somewhere to go, and then I’m out of here, because I value myself and won’t stay with him for the sake of having a man or the myriad of reasons some women will come up with.

        Thank you so much for helping me when I needed it, you’re truly amazing. I know I was guided to your blog for a reason, it’s a pleasure to read your blog and chat with you.

        God Bless You Lavancia,

        Your mate from Downunder.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dearest mate,
        Will keep you in my heart and prayers as you go through this transitional phase of your life. I am glad you are aware of the media hype and actual stats. As far as mum goes, she’s just looking out for her baby girl. I have one that is the same way. She loves to give me cookbooks for diabetics and I honestly haven’t tried one recipe yet due to the fact I can’t afford to waste food…if I cook it and don’t like it, then there went all that food and planning and I would have to settle for some sandwich…May God continue to bless you along your journey through life, LaVancia

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey there. I just wanted to drop in for a bit, especially since I saw your post was about acceptance. It’s such a hard thing to do, and often I feel people equate acceptance with helplessness, as if because they’ve accepted themselves or their illness, they’re helpless to do any more. I think I confused the two when I was a teenager and ended up believing my life would be hell for eternity. This English class has reunited me with native spirituality though, and confirms what I believed and strongly felt as a young child wasn’t just some random fantasy: that we as humans are all connected to the universe and the universe is connected to us, and through that we can feel each other and we can heal each other. I used to be scared to say that because some thought I was weird and some got offended. I was only nine, ten, eleven years old lol. But It’s really helped me see that self-acceptance is about understanding where you came from, what you do, how you do it, why you do it, and the act of spreading that knowledge in a way that benefits others once you’ve learned it. We’re all in this together and once we accept ourselves it’s a given that we can accept others. I hope all is well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the comment. I’ve given myself a day to think about my reply (plus put up a bunch of beads/gemstones I had ordered-which always makes me happy and thoughtful)….:)

      I was at first a little puzzled at how acceptance could be linked to helplessness and then I recalled some of the early times in the institution: For example, I can remember crying out loud in complete desperation about how, “I can’t be a mother, I can’t be a lover, I can’t be a daughter…” and the therapist trying to console me at the time got overwhelmed herself as she cried to me, “Yes. Yes, you can.”

      I think another aspect about that time and that I would definitely put that under the “helplessness” definition is having a very negative view on my life. For that was just how I felt when I lived behind those walls.

      However, I think what started to change that perspective was a change in what I really viewed as reality. For when I was in my helpless state, my reality was all seen through negativity, anger and despair.

      Once I started changing my reality “glasses” to a more positive one, such as well, now I have all the time in the world to search for the truth by reading various philosophy books and gaining experience by learning how to socialize with people, my outlook brightened. I also got myself involved in arts and crafts groups just to do something, never setting a goal to reach “the best” in the state…

      If the judges knew that bag I made was behind the walls of an institution, I wonder if I would have really received the “best” award, considering my circumstances, it was all a bit ironic and when I finally got to see the ribbon, I broke down and cried as I realized: I am somebody, and I am special, regardless of my sz.

      I totally agree with the whole aspect of humanity needing to help each other through not just some books, but experience. That is why I am writing a book about my experience and not some fictional fantasy. (Even though my life may appear to be as such to some people…). Thanks again for the insightful remarks. Peace-LaVancia

      Liked by 1 person

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