My name is Tom and schizophrenia is my life challenge.

I chose green because I believe in life.

Schizophrenia is a mind in disarray with a discordant theme. Everything I say here is my own experience and opinion. My challenge is to preserve my identity in this life and not be carried away by hallucinations: ideas, thoughts and images. Why would I strive so hard to maintain simplicity when higher consciousness is the trend to growth? It's simple: I don't want to go "mad". I practice mindfulness with my hands upon the wheel upon a moving flow of ideas, thoughts and images. It is the unwanted chaos that I say a resounding "NO"!

I have had what I call "episodes"[a few hours to a few days] of hallucinations. It would seem that I would welcome altered states of consciousness. It would be except that paranoia is part and parcel with schizophrenia. I am emotionally involved with the episodes and terror is the resulting feeling of having lost control of my consciousness.

As a person I feel that I have successfully learned to manage my brain activity through the medicine from a doctor's care[outpatient] and by my efforts to maintain an even keel even though it has been rough going at times.

I had my first episode in 1979 before I knew anything about the disease. I naturally assumed it was supernatural but it was a full fledged hallucination-visual and auditory. It wasn't until 1983 that a doctor told me about the disease. I have a "mild" case that flares up when stimulated by physical and mental inputs. I have successfully diminished the physical inputs-I do not ingest substances that alter my mood or mind. The mental inputs are more challenging since words in a song, someone talking or a sentence in a book could trigger a change in my mind. All in all it is easier to focus on living each day my duties than it is to scramble when something goes out of tune in my brain. I generally have peace now most of the time.

Last year was, however, rough for me. I have rules now. I don't fly the airlines. I don't go to a movie theater. Since change is inevitable I keep my guard up with an attitude of curiosity and expectation. I never know what the day reveals.

I like life. I like nature. I like art. Plenty keeps me occupied but I know when I've had enough of activity. Nothing is more important than being able to function, to remain stable, to be open to the next challenge. I joined Awakened Journey to share about my disease and to learn how to improve my life. I will share later. Bye.

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