Sunday, October 12, 2014

Melanie Jimenez and Thomas: Our Story



As promised, I wanted to introduce myself and Thomas to you in formal fashion since I have so many new followers.

Thomas is 19 and is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Signs of his illness showed up very early in his life but I didn't know that what I was seeing was prodromal schizophrenia. By the time he was 16 the signs were hard to ignore but even then somehow I didn't see the illness, I just saw a quirky kid.

It all fell to pieces in April of 2012 when he had a major psychotic break that just couldn't be ignored. By October he was suicidal and was hospitalized for the first time. During that hospitalization they missed the signs of his burgeoning illness and released him unmedicated and getting sicker.

Within days of his release his therapist and I discovered the labrynth that was his mind which included paranoia, serious delusions and some auditory hallucinations. Two days after he revealed these things to us he was hospitalized once again. Within days of being admitted to a youth acute psychiatric facility he turned 18 and believing there was absolutely nothing wrong with him, he signed himself out barely medicated. After that we began the roller coaster ride that is schizophrenia which included yet another hospitalization and endless trials of medications.

After his diagnosis I knew what we faced in the future and what made me the most angry was the inevitable stigma we would run into. So on New Years Day 2013 I made a resolution to find a way to change that stigma.

During Mental Health Week at the beginning of May 2013 I began writing this blog. My main goal was to educate people on schizophrenia and with time I began telling my story as Thomas's caregiver and began to tell Thomas's story through my eyes.

Since then my blog has grown to over 4500 people filled with other caregivers for someone with schizophrenia and people living with schizophrenia. Also joining my blog were healthcare workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, journalists and many more.

I have since received many opportunities to write for web sites like Healthy Place, PsychCentral, N.A.M.I. and many more. Recently an article was written about Thomas and I by Dr. Sanjay Gupta outlining what it is like to be a caregiver for someone with schizophrenia.
My life is Thomas and my passion is this blog. I write almost every day sharing my story with you and very often releasing information about schizophrenia, mental health artwork, relaxation reminders, current research and information on schizophrenia and when given permission I share others stories too.

I want to extend a warm welcome to all of my new followers and a heartfelt thank you to all who have made this possible by contributing to my blog and for offering support and encouragement to Thomas and I.

My wish is that you all will find this blog useful for discovering information about schizophrenia and find comfort in mine and Thomas's story all with the goal of coming to understand that you are not alone.

I invite you to contribute whenever the mood strikes you but be mindful of the fact that this is a public space where anyone can read your comments.

I am thrilled you are here.

Welcome.

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