Patient Blogs | Schizophrenia
Why It’s Important to Be Educated About Your Condition
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Being diagnosed with schizophrenia can be scary, especially when you don’t know what it means to have the condition. Our minds trick us into believing that the delusions and hallucinations we feel are very real, and it can take a toll on our mind and body as well. Educating yourself about having schizophrenia can help you feel better and have a successful recovery.

After my first hospitalization, my prescribing psychiatrist and case worker at my day program worked with me to help me understand my condition, a process called psychoeducation. This was still a difficult time for me because my symptoms felt so real that I didn’t believe I had this condition called schizophrenia. Once I accepted my diagnosis, it was easier to wrap my head around the fact that I had a mental illness and that I would live with this condition for the rest of my life. So in order to live my best life, I felt I should educate myself on schizophrenia.

It’s important for me and anyone living with schizophrenia to be educated about the condition. It helps provide perspective on what’s going on and how the condition affects us. Due to my research, I was able to begin to understand the signs and symptoms I was experiencing weren’t real. This realization helped me “reality test” with my therapist so I could learn to differentiate between my delusions and auditory hallucinations and what was, in fact, reality.

There’s a lot of stigma surrounding schizophrenia as well, and if I hadn’t learned about the disorder I would’ve continued to believe the stereotypes about the condition. People that live with schizophrenia aren’t violent or crazy and don’t have split personalities as some would believe. Schizophrenia involves psychosis, where people affected by it lose touch with reality and can’t tell what’s real from what they imagine.

Learning about schizophrenia also helped me increase my knowledge and understanding not only of the illness, but treatment as well. It has made it possible for me to speak freely with my psychiatrist about medication so I can help him assist me in my recovery. This way it is a collaborative approach to wellness instead of trying treatment after treatment with little successful outcomes.

The self-awareness I gained from reading about my diagnosis helped me in my recovery process. I now know when I’m struggling to stay well and I’m not afraid to ask for help when needed. I’ve had multiple hospitalizations in my life and all but my first were voluntary. It isn’t a sign of weakness to say you need to get help. I’ve nothing to be ashamed of because anyone could have this disorder. It affects people all over the world, from all races and cultures so I know I’m not alone.

Psychoeducation has given me insight on living with schizophrenia. It has helped to end the stigma I felt and learn about the signs and symptoms I must deal with. It has also helped to prevent relapse and been a vital component in my recovery process. If you’re living with schizophrenia, I would encourage you to educate yourself about the disorder. It will assist you in understanding the condition and help you in your recovery process as well.  



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Lisa Guardiola

Lisa Guardiola

Diagnosed since 2004

Lisa Guardiola has been living with schizophrenia for 17 years. Passionate about helping others with mental illness, Guardiola is a community outreach and education trainer for the Sertoma Centre and the Vice President of NAMI South Suburbs of Chicago, where she leads educational and training initiatives. She loves journaling, oil painting, and spending time with her family and cat Loki. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter.