A Story of Schizoaffective Disorder

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Chief executive and board member of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Keris Myrick knows first-hand what it’s like to live with the challenging mental illness known as schizophrenia; she herself suffers from the condition.

“I feel my brain is damaged; I don’t know any other way to say it,” Ms. Myrick says. “I don’t know if it’s from the illness, the medications, all those side effects or what. I only know that I do need certain things in my life, and for a long time — well, I had to get to know myself first.”

Ms. Myrick is among a group of 20 people diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, among them two doctors and a lawyer, who have been demonstrating to researchers how the disorder can be managed, allowing its sufferers to build full, successful lives.

Living with schizophrenia is no easy matter, even for the most determined. Ms. Myrick uses her high-profile job as a way to battle her bouts of paranoia and depression. But she also relies heavily on a combination of medication, occasional weekend stays at a hotel, and personal support net, including family, an intuitive pet dog and a local psychiatrist.

Ms. Myrick also makes it a point to constantly monitor her mood: “When I’m well,” she said, “I have to continually ask, ‘What does it take to be well?’ I need some very specific things around me. And if get spinny — that’s what I call it when my brain moves too fast — well, I need to have a plan.”

Read more about Ms. Myrick’s inspiring story, including her harrowing past stays in mental hospitals, at the New York Times.

The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 407-574-5190 for more information.




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