Northern California

The second time I was hospitalized, I was living in Northern California with my parents. I had left the house where I was renting a room in 2002, and drove to my parents’ house because I had become paranoid, thought my life was in danger, and had also started hearing people talking to me who were nowhere around (disembodied voices). This is when I believe the schizoaffective disorder started, because that was the time when I started hearing voices.

I felt I would be safe at my parents’ house, so I moved back in with them, and started seeing a psychiatrist. A few weeks went by, and I decided to ask my psychiatrist if I could be voluntarily admitted to the psychiatric ward at the nearby hospital. He made the arrangements, and I was admitted for a week. By this time, I was hearing voices regularly, I thought other people could read my mind, when I was watching TV, I thought that the characters in the show were talking about me, and I thought that every number I saw had some deep significance for my life at that time.

In the hospital, they immediately put me on Zyprexa (for the psychosis), and Paxil (for depression). I have been on antipsychotics and antidepressants ever since. The week in the hospital was quiet and helpful. I did craft activities, and met with a psychiatrist who, after numerous tests, managed to convince me that I did not have HIV (for some reason, I thought I did, and I told my parents this as well). When I was released, I continued seeing my psychiatrist and found a job at a pet store.

I continued to improve, and eventually switched from Zyprexa to Abilify because the Zyprexa made me gain about 20 pounds. I went back to school and received my Multiple-Subject teaching credential. I taught science camp for a few summers, and then taught third grade for one year before I was given a pink slip due to low enrollment. I continued improving, but was hospitalized again five years later.

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