The Loss, Pain & Hope of Mental Illness

Recently I had an opportunity to read a book called “In the Grip of Paramoid Schizophrenia,” by Larry Podsobinski.  He describes in his book the very devastating affects of schizophrenia and the significant loss of a “normal life.”

I was especially struck by his desire for wellness and his continued hope to live, laugh and love even after experiencing such turmoil in his life.

Mr. Podsobinski’s book is an excellent reminder that through pain those who live with mental illness can still reach wellness through hope and perseverance.

Though my own pain and loss living with bipolar disorder is in no way close to what he experienced there are still similarities that all of experience.

There is the uphill battle of returning to wellness after a long period of episodes.  When we are not well it becomes impossible to carry on with normal daily activity.  But after we find effective treatments a return to wellness is a gift many of us receive.

Often times stigma impacts are ability to maintain the friendships we once had, but I have discovered new relationships are not only possible but they are likely.  Once new friendships and connections are formed during a period of wellness it leads us to have a more fulfilled life and springs us forward to having more hope about our present and future.

What I have discovered is that when given the chance many people who live with mental illness can and do recover.  When the right combinations of support are in place, including the right combination of medication, leading a meaningful life is not only possible but very likely.

Wounds caused from days of struggle and pain can be healed.  Suffering can be used as a flame to fuel passion for understanding and provide people who are just beginning to recover hope.

My definition of hope is this: Happiness, Opportunity, Prosperity and Empowerment.  Through these things all things are possible.

It has taken me years to reach a level of wellness where I can begin to incorporate all of my experiences into the person I am becoming.  It is not only through my past achievements but also because of my suffering that I have a platform for raising awareness and becoming a mental health advocate for others as well.

There is no doubt mental illness brings pain and suffering.  But at the end of the day hope can transform all of these tough obstacles into a life worth living.