Guest Post by Alex Salazar

My name is Alex Salazar and I’ve been recently diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder. Since I was 15 I had the diagnosis of just Paranoid Schizophrenia. I am 21 years old now and on May 22 2018 I found out that it was Schizoaffective all along because I was hypo-manic depressive. I’m still learning about this diagnosis, so forgive me if I’m unclear. Once I started my new medicine I started to feel better. Going through this my entire life has not been a cakewalk. I can remember that I started hallucinating at 3 years old.

Being diagnosed can take time. I think one of the biggest challenges is coming up with the proper diagnosis. For me, it puts my mind at ease knowing what it is I work with. I like to say “work with” instead of “struggle with” because although I do struggle, it is a part of me, and I will not be ashamed for something that is a part of me -just as much as anything else about me. There are many people who get misdiagnosed time after time. When you’re uncertain, it’s hard to start the proper treatment. Putting a name to the face has always been important to me, and you can’t recover fully without a name to that face. Also, the diagnosing process in itself is tricky. As many people know who have a mental health conditions it’s never easy! It’s a game changer, but over time you learn how to play the game. You may not win every time, but you win every day you put in the effort and try. Please understand that I’m not saying that mental illness/health is a game! I guess I just wanted to paint a picture.

Now, even though it may sound cliché, it is true when it’s said that it does get better. When you keep on trucking and when you keep the faith, you will feel the fresh breeze at the end of the tunnel. You may head into another tunnel throughout your journey, but you will find that fresh breeze again like you did the last time and continue that journey. No one has 100% all the time. Even the healthiest of them all.

Sometimes we can only give a little, and that’s good enough! I personally, will always face extra challenges for the rest of my life, but I and YOU should never let it define you, limit you, or crush you. Remember, every. single. thing. happens for a reason, you’re NEVER alone, you can always pick yourself back up, allow yourself to accept failures, always be grateful, never give up, and dare to be great!

 

Image: Person walking in the distance on a trail surrounded by tall trees.
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