Member Stories – Joseph

My name is Joseph and I have schizophrenia. I got my first taste of mental illness when I was in my junior year in college at the age of 23. The doctor diagnosed my condition as severe mental depression. I was prescribed an anti-depressant for depression and a tranquilizer for panic attacks. I was so depressed I could not even eat without becoming sick. As a result, I lost 20 pounds. The medication did not seem to help; It took me about a year to recover.

I eventually graduated from college with an accounting degree in December of 1996 at the age of 25. After graduating from college, I secured a job with the teamster union in Washington D.C. as an accounts payable clerk. I was on the job 2 months when I became ill a second time. I did not experience depression but something just as dreadful, a head full of delusions with paranoia. Soon thereafter, I was hospitalized and diagnosed with schizophrenia. I am now 29 years old and have been living with schizophrenia for four years. I still am unemployed but I am actively working to improve myself by reading and going to the gym to work out. Last month I started attending Schizophrenics Anonymous. I found the people there to be friendly and struggling with some of the same problems that I have been battling with.

Schizophrenics Anonymous has helped me learned to accept my paranoia and delusions. I have begun to accept myself with all my strengths and weaknesses. My confidence will continue to grow as I become a more complete person. With Schizophrenics Anonymous I am rebuilding my life and I know that I can become the very best I can be.