“More than by any other one thing, my life has been changed by schizophrenia. For the past 20 years I have lived with it and in spite of it—struggling to come to terms with it without giving in to it. Although I have fought a daily battle, it is only now that I have some sense of confidence that I will survive my ordeal. Taking responsibility for my life and developing coping mechanisms has been crucial to my recovery. I would like to share some of these with the reader now.”
How I Perceive and Manage My Illness by Esso Leete is a very personal description of coping with schizophrenia which was published in Schizophrenia Bulletin in 1989. It remains a valuable tool for both clients and clinicians. That doesn’t necessarily mean printing it off and giving it to clients though for some individuals that might be helpful. For others it might work best to read it with them, asking what they think.
In sharing how she’s dealt with the challenges Leete writes,
Please understand that these are the kinds of obstacles that confront individuals with a psychiatric disorder every day. Yet we are perceived as weak. On the contrary, I believe we are among the most courageous. We struggle constantly with our raging fears and the brutality of our thoughts, and then we are subjected as well to the misunderstanding, distrust, and ongoing stigma we experience from the community. Believe me, there is nothing more devastating, discrediting, and disabling to an individual recovering from mental illness than stigma.
It’s worth reading the whole of this short, powerful piece and sharing it with clients; many will be able to recognize some of their own experiences and challenges in what she writes.
Thank you Esso Leete.