I have been starting to think of a new subtitle for my memoir. I like the “Never Give Up” part, but the rest I have received feedback about that has caused me to rethink the “Buddhism, Family & Schizoaffective Disorder” part. For me, these 3 components are the most crucial aspects of my memoir. My Buddhist practice, my family & husband, and my schizoaffective disorder diagnosis have been at the core of my experiences over the past 11+ years. At the Pitch-O-Rama in San Francisco, however, one woman suggested that I start the subtitle with “How I Overcame…”, rather than using the subtitle I have currently. She said that she wasn’t able to easily understand how Buddhism, my family and schizoaffective disorder were connected just by reading the title, whereas to me it seems obvious. Still, it isn’t easy to encapsulate my experience in just one or two words. The editor’s feedback started me thinking about how I might be able to do this, and come up with a subtitle that has more meaning, or at least a clearer meaning to a potential reader. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to drop me a line!
Overall, I’ve overcome many challenges since I was first diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2002. I was hospitalized twice, once in 2002 and once in 2011. I received my teaching credential from San Jose State, I was a substitute teacher, tutor and 3rd grade teacher, and I met my husband and was married in 2008. My husband and I have a strong marriage, and we look forward to many more happy years together. I’ve also made new friends, and settled in with my new Buddhist group since John and I moved into our new house a little over one year ago. While the majority of my problems have resulted from my symptoms of schizoaffective disorder – the incessant yelling, mocking, harassing, insulting, and threatening voices – I have continued to focus on improving all areas of my life. In order to be able to function in my daily life, I’ve had to make a constant effort to break out of my shell, strengthen my Buddhist practice, attend therapy consistently, and work hard at my marriage. I’ve also had to reconcile some issues in my past. I’ve had to let go of my original dream of working in the field of international environment & development, and stop wondering why I never found my dream job in Washington, DC. I’ve had to stop trying to figure out what really happened the last night I spent in Oxnard – the night the “voices” started. Most importantly, I’ve learned to have more confidence in myself. I’ve learned to have confidence in my own decisions, in my own likes & dislikes, in my own judgement, my own choices, and my own writing. Confidence was the area where I was always lacking, where I needed the most improvement. Now, I am learning how to live with confidence rather than fear.