Inside Out: Mental Illness and Spiritual Awakening

Inside Out: Mental Illness and Spiritual Awakening - student project

I found myself in the Alaska Psychiatric Institute in 1977 diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia--hearing voices, hallucinating, and delusional.  I was told, "Here is your medication. You can never go without it because you are going back into the same situation that caused this. You will be in and out of here the rest of your life." At hearing this, I told myself, "No, I'm not coming back here. I am going to get better and when I do, I will help other people know they can do it too."  It took me 8 years of trial and error to get better because the belief was "that once mentally ill, always mentally ill." I had to figure this out on my own. But with the support of family and friends, a psychiatrist and therapist, I did it! I never went back into the hospital, even though there were many times that I should have been committed. It has been 35 years now that I have been free of all medication, voices, hallucinations, and delusions. If I could do it, then I know that others can too!

Andrea Schmook
They said I would never get better!