In this powerful memoir, 20-Time Oxford University Medical Journals Contributor, McLean Hospital Harvard Resident Doctors’ Lecturer, and Good Men’s Project Columnist Steve Colori courageously articulates his experience of facing and overcoming schizoaffective disorder. His personal narrative gives readers insight into the true nature of the illness, providing a lucid description of symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, OCD, suicidal thoughts, bipolar disorder, mania, insomnia, family issues, and social dysfunction. Colori explains how he worked through all these symptoms and resolved them. He tells the reader why, at one point, he decided to stop taking medication; and shows why he later changed his mind and permanently resumed taking medication. The book also details a number of therapies that Colori utilized to overcome the disorder—such as talk therapy, journaling, and exposure therapy— which eventually enabled him to advance far beyond recovery.
Steve Colori has published twenty essays with Oxford Medical Journals; he has written for McLean Hospital since 2011; he has a column with The Good Men’s Project in their Health and Wellness Section titled “Steve Colori Talks Mental Health”. Steve is currently a Peer Specialist at McLean hospital and has lectured McLean’s Harvard Resident Doctors quarterly since 2012; he lectures at Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work; he has lectured at NAMI GBCAN Boston; and he has also lectured at Mass General Hospital’s “Schizophrenia Day”.
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“The author writes from his personal experiences in a style that clearly helps the reader understand the vast challenges of dealing with Schizoaffective disorder. Fascinating that he was aware of mental processing issues very early in life, but compensated quite well until early adulthood. His willingness to share the details of numerous spirals and the difficult battles to regain clarity explain the disorder better than any textbook I have seen in 40 years of nursing practice.”
“This book is a genuine account of Schizoaffective Disorder by a young man who as has come through the worst of it and has the strength and courage to face it daily and challenge its power over him. Its authenticity truly touched me.”
Chapter 7: Talk Therapy & Journaling
Medication was useful for stabilizing me and limiting some of my symptoms, but talk therapy has been the most important medicine for helping me cure my mental illness. I discovered that the roots of my problems were negative and traumatic psychological experiences, some of which had happened during my episodes, and others that had happened earlier in my life, due to the difficulty of growing up with a cognitive impairment. Talking about issues enabled me to find relief from ailments lodged in my subconscious which were affecting me constantly.
When I began talk therapy I was having difficulty speaking even the shortest of sentences. I made enough progress to gain employment in telephone customer service. Eventually I became comfortable speaking to anyone, and I currently enjoy a vibrant social life. The first thing my talk therapist did was develop rapport. I was in talk therapy because I had many deeply traumatizing experiences that I needed to disclose and analyze in detail. It was already difficult enough to face the issues that frightened and traumatized me the most, without having to relate them to someone who seemed to be judging me for having them. My episodes and the years I’d lived through left me with negative emotions such as anxiety and fear, and an important part of therapy was determining the thoughts causing these emotions.