She’s living her best life now.
When Michelle Hammer was a teenager, she started having a different feeling. More often than not, she would zone out and think she was at a different place. The zoning out later turned into hearing voices in her head. It was hard to fathom what was happening to her.
The voices in her head were telling her that her mother was trying to hurt her. It then became severe that she thought everyone around her was out to get her. This fear and confusion made it hard for her to seek help from anyone.
Sometimes she would hear the voices coming from the right side of her head saying, “Everyone hates you, stop trying to do anything” while another one from the left side would say, “Don’t worry about anything, relax. Chill out.” The battle in her head would go on daily.
Living in New York and hearing voices as she would walk down the street, she would start talking back to the voices in her head. By the time she would snap out of it and look around, people were staring at her. The sounds were repetitive in her head, and all she would ever wish for was quiet.
All through high school because of the voices in her head, she thought her mother was out to get her, and when she graduated and went to college, it was a relief thinking she was free of her. It was when she started having similar thoughts about her college roommate did she realise that there was a problem.
At 18, Michelle went to a doctor and was diagnosed with bipolar. Deep down, she felt that the diagnosis was incorrect. It was until the age of 22 when she went to a different doctor for help. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The diagnosis was one of the best things that have ever happen to her because of getting the right medication.
Finally, she felt like the best version of herself, something that felt like a distant dream a while ago. She even had a name for what was happening in her head, Schizophrenia. Now she sees a psychiatrist every week, and they talk about how she’s doing. They hold fun, silly, and deep conversations which the psychiatrist uses to gauge her mood.
Michelle says that she takes her medication daily, even when it feels like everything is fine. She has different medicines during the day and night. The drugs in the day get her ready and focused for the day while the ones at night help her have a peaceful sleep.
What most people don’t realise is that the voices in a person with schizophrenia’s head don’t entirely stop even with medication, but they can channel them into positive thoughts.
The best part about Michelle’s journey is that at 27, she was in a subway and saw a homeless guy suffering from schizophrenia and she related to him. She realised that without the love and support of her close family and friends, she couldn’t have gotten through it. For this reason, she started a company called Schizophrenic.Nyc.
Schizophrenic.Nyc is a clothing line business that aims at spreading awareness on schizophrenia and tries to phase off stigma around the illness. It shows people who relate to it that you can have the disorder and still live a completely healthy life while medicated. Michelle believes that if people came out freely and said they have a mental illness that there wouldn’t be so much stigma. Considering that mental illness is so common, how is it possible that there is so much stigma?
Michelle realises that she is living her best life with the help of therapy, having a sound support system, taking her medication and helping other people living with schizophrenia. She raises awareness on mental illness, gives back to the homeless and people living with schizophrenia while being the best version of herself. You can do it too!