Patient Blogs | Schizophrenia
Asking for Help and Reaching Out for Support
photo of woman on group therapy

After my first hospitalization, I was very reluctant to ask for help or reach out for support. I saw the need to request help as a sign of weakness on my part. I didn’t like the fact that I was diagnosed with schizophrenia since I believed that nothing was wrong in the first place. As time went by, I began to realize that asking for help and reaching out for support would be the best thing for me and my mental health recovery.

My first hospitalization was not voluntary. My mother, who was very worried about me, had me involuntarily committed. At the time, I was very scared and angry that my mother had put me in the hospital. However, over time I have come to realize it was the best thing for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today in my recovery if not for that first hospitalization.

I worked very hard toward my recovery for the next 6 years until a personal tragedy happened in May 2010. Death is a very big trigger for me, and that May I lost my best friend suddenly to cancer. I did the best I could to be strong, but I was unable to concentrate and my delusions and auditory hallucinations started to escalate. I found that my coping skills that I had learned to use weren’t working as well as they had before. I began to lose focus and my ability to distinguish what was reality anymore.

It was the first time that I felt as bad as I did when I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia. I was reluctant to face that I was spiraling out of control until a very good friend helped me to realize that I was not myself and needed to get help. At the time, I was afraid to go back to the hospital. I didn’t like being there and thought that it would be the same as before, but I was wrong.

With my family, friend, therapist, and psychiatrist’s help, I admitted myself into the hospital. I was scared at first, but this second hospitalization was much different from my other experience. This time I understood that I had a disorder and what my symptoms were, so when I spoke to my psychiatrist, I could verbalize how I felt to them. I was able to work with them toward getting my recovery process back on track.

My psychiatrist worked with me to adjust my medications so I could function again. The groups and ward rules gave me a routine to follow, and I had art therapy once a day as well. Upon discharge, I was enrolled into a 2-week intensive outpatient program to help with my transition from the hospital to being back home. The program helped me tremendously, and I did a lot of processing of my friend’s death and how it made me feel in group therapy.

Since my second hospitalization, asking for help and reaching out for support has become much easier to do. I don’t see it as a weakness or feel afraid to admit myself into the hospital if I need to do so. I’ve had three hospitalizations and attended an intensive outpatient program since then, and I am better for it. When I begin to struggle it is better to ask for help so I can avert a crisis from happening. Now when I feel like I am starting to struggle, I call my therapist and psychiatrist and we work on a plan to help me feel better and continue my recovery process.

Many of us living with schizophrenia are apprehensive to ask for help out of fear of being taken advantage of or maltreatment, but I hope that this post helps to alleviate your fears. There are plenty of resources that you can utilize like the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-6264, or the Crisis Text Line where you can text HOME to 741741 for 24/7, confidential, free crisis counseling.



Photo Credit: Halfpoint Images via Getty Images

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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.

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