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Handling a Stressful Day

For me, the most important day of the month is when I go to the veteran’s hospital where I get my medication. I wake up before 8am to make sure I get a parking spot. I immediately go to the blood lab where I get blood work done to ensure that I am not experiencing any adverse reactions to my medication. After my blood has been taken, I go to my appointment with my doctor.

This would be a normal schedule for me. When things do not go as planned, an interruption in the routine can create stress. Stress can be a trigger for my schizophrenia. I take deep breathes and deal with other triggers like needing a cup of coffee or something to eat from being hungry. After a large cup of coffee, I go to the mental health waiting room where I wait to see my doctor.  

The appointment can vary depending on whether or not I am experiencing symptoms. When I get in to see my doctor, she always begins by asking me if I might be a danger to myself or someone else. Also she asks if I am experiencing symptoms. After seeing my doctor, I get my monthly injectable and pick up any other prescriptions.

This is as smooth as a trip to the veteran’s hospital can go. Typically, I would be leaving around 10:00am in the morning — on my way home to wait for another month to pass, and then I repeat the process all over again.

However, many things can happen to disrupt what should be an ordinary day to see my doctor and pick up my medication. It’s quite possible there could be a traffic problem, and either I or my doctor are late for some reason. Impatience doesn’t help anyone, and complaining to the receptionist that my time matters doesn’t quicken the process. I tell myself that doctors have lives outside their job at the veteran’s hospital, so of course, they are late sometimes. I have found that the more patience and understanding I can show, the better my chances for getting the help I need.

I think about my life, and getting my medication is the most important thing I have to do. For the most part, I have no plans for the rest of the day, so being irritable will not speed things up. Recently my doctor was late; she usually comes in around 9:00am. when I first saw my doctor, I asked her if she was okay. She assured me that she was, and I could see her relax.

Sometimes my doctor forgets to tell the blood lab that I am coming. Upon learning this, I have to go back to the mental health waiting room and wait for my doctor, so she can give the order. The doctor places the order for the blood work, and I go back to the blood lab to get my blood work. Even though interruptions occur, I can’t just walk away or give up. The alternative to giving up and leaving would create more stress because I would not get my medication.  

Once the veteran’s hospital ran out of my medications, and I knew that I only had a few days of meds left at home. This was extremely stressful for me since I know I cannot go without my medication. Realizing that freaking out wouldn’t be constructive and would probably put me in the psyche ward on Christmas, I sat down and got something to drink. The pharmacist was willing to send the rest of my medication in the mail to my home, but I realized I would not be home, but with my parents. However, the medicine could be delivered in the mail in one day to my parent’s home. I learned that even during a break in the routine, other answers can be found.  

Problems can be solved. Sometimes I need to sit in a quiet place with no distractions to think through an issue. I’ve learned that it is okay to ask for advice from your doctor or pharmacist. They are there to help me.

I try not to take interruptions personally. Sometimes with my paranoia I think people are conspiring against me, but if I take a deep breath and remind myself that my doctor and pharmacist are there to help me and not to hurt me, I feel less stress.

Even though I am in recovery I still need to ask for help occasionally. Events in life, like medication changes or dosage changes, can stress me out and my feelings about these changes can fluctuate. However, I know I can trust the professionals on my treatment team to know when it is time to regulate my meds. 

Change is certain in life — even small changes — and my emotions can go up and down because I have a mental health diagnosis. Not giving up when my schedule gets interrupted and not being afraid to ask for help are teaching me that my problems can be solved and work through.

Handling a Stressful Day


Jason Jepson

Jason Jepson grew up in Virginia. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective Disorder while he was enlisted in the United States Army. Jason lives in Richmond, Virginia where he is active on the Veterans Council at the McGuire Veterans Hospital. Jason began his mental health advocacy with NAMI and has since gone on to volunteer with the Share Network, an arm of Janssen Pharmaceuticals. His story of recovery has been published in numerous online and print publications such as Yahoo News, The Mighty, and OC87 Recovery Diaries. Having obtained an Associate Degree from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Jason's true love is writing. He has written two books, When We Were Young, a fictionalized memoir of his late teens, and a book of poetry called Misfires of a Lyrical Mind. Jason is proudest, however, of his first person accounts that are published several times a year in Schizophrenia Bulletin, an academic journal published by Oxford Press. He is honored to be part of Students With Schizophrenia, and he is happy to share his life experiences in hopes of helping others.

APA Reference
Jepson, J. (2020). Handling a Stressful Day. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 5, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/handling-a-stressful-day/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 19 Feb 2020 (Originally: 21 Feb 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 19 Feb 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.