Someone recently questioned how I can handle, and be working towards, a second Ph.D. despite having a schizoaffective disorder diagnosis.
My response: Because I’m the one in the middle of this mess and living with it on a day to day basis.
Usually I do not write too often when things are going well. And, fortunately, they have been. I’m reminded this week that I have survived schizoaffective disorder for nine years now without somehow finding myself back in the hospital because of it.
A large part of my success in battling schizoaffective disorder stems from the fact that I have been sober for the past eight years. No alcohol, no drugs. It’s a formula for success, for me at least. If I were to go down the drinking and drugging road, my entire life would unravel… not just because I would be using, but because my mental illness would run totally out of control. I just don’t have an addiction issue to deal with on a daily basis, but a huge, huge mental illness problem that requires daily maintenance and sobriety in order for me to be successful.
In the end, no matter how bad things can get for me mentally struggling with this disorder, I am constantly reminded (through my own life experiences) that things can and will get worse, if I turn to alcohol or drugs to deal with life’s issues.
I’m sober eight years now. I’m out of the hospital for nine years now. I’ve been from Harvard to hardcore homeless, and everywhere and everything in between. Living on the street, to livin’ it large. From grad school to the school of hard knocks.
I can’t change what has happened to me and what I have been through. I’ve learned that there is no point on dwelling on the hardships I’ve have been dealt to deal with.
Importantly, I have overcome most of the difficulties that I have faced. And I will continue to overcome obstacles, provided that I follow the path to continued mental well-being and sobriety.