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How can a person with substance abuse problems, paranoid schizophrenia, and a strong fear and skepticism of any contact with the emergency services get help to get their lives back on track? In this post you will read just such an example.

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- Seeking help at first felt like a betrayal of myself, writes one of the participants in a research project at KORFOR, which became an important support to take charge of one's own life.

The post is taken from the blog Rusfeltet og avhengighet run by drug researcher Thomas Solgård Svendsen. It was written by one of the participants in the Stayer study, which is a study among drug addicts in Stavanger.

The person who is anonymous here writes:


About medicating away the difficult things in life

How to treat yourself?

From someone who has both taken medication that I received from the doctor, and other "medications" (drugs I bought on the street), my experience is that if you take medication when things are difficult in life, even when it can feel like worst, you learn less about how to deal with problems.

It's like being beaten up by life, without learning from it. Many strokes, but simply no gains. By participating in a research project in Stavanger, I have learned more about gains in life. I write more about that towards the end here.


Feeling sorry for yourself does not make you better

It felt like I had an adult body, but with far too small legs, which would break if I got up too fast, and where I often just lay.

It was hard to grasp my life, and I felt sorry for myself. However, this state had no positive effect in regard to getting better. 

My diagnosis was made when I was in need. I no longer wanted to live the way I lived. It turned out that I had to ask for help, to handle my life better than what I could do alone. Now it was the health services time to do their bid; to explain to me how I should live, to make it all happen.


A pervasive skepticism towards the health services

At first, this felt like a betrayal of myself. I had become so used to keeping my feelings to myself, because I had experienced not being taken seriously so many times.

I wanted to keep people at a distance. So, from the first moment, I treated everyone I spoke to as if they were informers to the police. Not a word would they get from me which could be used for their agenda to break me!

My diagnosis was titled "paranoid schizophrenia". It can mean a lot of different things, but I should also find out that it did not have to mean that everything was lost. 


Has taught me to function well as I am

Medicines for the condition. There were of course a lot of them. Everyone worked differently on me. It was just a matter of having confidence that the "cure" could work, showing loyalty over time, and then it would show if the miracle was a fact. You should take them at special times of the day, you could work with the doctor to find out if you should take more or less of them. Side effects of medications were common, and something I had to get used to.

I have not changed much about myself, but I have learned how to function well as I am, and thus I have got rid of the diagnosis. It has simply been removed by the treatment services.

Now I use what used to be a diagnosis, more as a tool, so that I can relate better to what I see and hear. 


A very positive contact with KORFOR

My meeting with the research project of KORFOR (Center for Alcohol & Drug Research, Western Norway) has been very positive, and not just because I get to give something back to society.

My meetings at KORFOR allow me to talk openly about how things are for me, and it feels almost as good as confessing. The summaries of what I answer in the many research questions, I have used as good clues for myself, in relation to how I should think and do further in life. 

An example of this was when I was going to be tested for how I handled different gains in a test on a PC. Would I go for big gains in a short time, or would I be patient, as I knew from experience as a child that I should be? The test reminded me of something I knew before, and thus a light came to me: "I have to calm down a bit, and not think so much about earning as much as possible here and now"! 


Some advice for others who are struggling

My road has been long and tiring. At times, I have not been able to relax my head for more than a short time, because I have thought that dangers lurk around the corners of my life. My psyche has simply been looking for me, it feels like.

Now it's better, and then I have a few tips for others who need it:

Feel free to get angry and frustrated, but try to think positively about your own future. Then you should see that things can work out eventually, so that you can be allowed to relax and rest from time to time.

- From the blog Rusfeltet og avhengighet (The drug field and addiction)

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