I have lived with schizophrenia and substance use for many years. It’s been a difficult journey, but one I’m grateful for. Not because the disorder is something I wanted or enjoyed, but because it forced me to confront parts of myself that I thought had gone unchallenged too long. It has brought me to a place where I am learning how to cope better and how to rebuild my life in healthy ways.
I’m still learning how to manage my mental health condition and also the urge to reach for substances as an escape or crutch. It can be tempting, especially during times of hardship or when things get overwhelming; I often feel like it would just be easier if I could just get away from all the stressors for awhile and relax into something else - anything else. But then I remember that in the end it probably won’t help matters at all; in fact, it could make things much worse. So instead, I try to practice healthy self-care techniques that don’t involve dangerous substances - things like yoga, journaling, reading uplifting stories or talking about what’s going on with trusted family members or friends.
Living with schizophrenia and substance abuse is challenging every day; there are so many triggers right around us wherever we go. The good news is that there are plenty of resources available now to help people like me gain knowledge and skills necessary for living a better life in spite of this complex disorder. With proper care from both mental health professionals and supportive peers, it is possible to learn how to manage both diagnoses simultaneously without losing oneself in either one of them along the way.