Scrap that…

EMDR therapy blog post that is. Honestly, I have been finding it difficult to write about EMDR therapy so I am going to write about what’s happening in my life at the moment. I will get back to EMDR therapy at a later time. I wasn’t going to blog about anything work related but since one spends a good majority of their time at work, that is for me… 40 hours per week, 8AM until 5 PM, with a 1 hour lunch break in-between, I can’t avoid talking about it.

Who I was at work before I got sick was a lot different to who I am now and sometimes it’s really hard. Let me begin by explaining who I was and then I will explain what is happening now. I was a very motivated worker with career goals in mind, or thought I could at least work my way up the ladder. I still think that is possible for me but my motivation has lessened and this is part of my illness. I also think that I will have less opportunity, given my illness because of the stigma associated with mental illness, which is unfortunate because I believe that obstacles can be turned into opportunities.

I started out in local Government as a secretary to the Commissioner of Finance and did that for 4 years and then moved up, working as a Personnel Affairs assistant in the Human Resources department for Government. I was quickly given the responsibility of running the salary administration for the entire Government along with many other tasks after receiving training for this. I loved it because I was able to perform complex tasks and I love anything that gives me a challenge.

So, when I got sick the second time I was only on medication for 3 months, and it was easier to transition back to my old job which was salary administration with certain human resources responsibilities. Of course, first, I worked part-time, then eventually full time and then I was reintegrated through working at another job first.

This time around I still have not returned to my old job and it just hasn’t worked out the way I want it to, but I am still grateful that I do have a job because it could be a lot worse. This time I was sick from October 2014 until February 2015 when I started back to work part-time in the afternoon at the Government Archives. After having seen the occupational physician who approves whether or not you can start back to work, I started to work full-time on May 13th, 2015 in the Civil Registry Office but at a rate of 75% of my capacity. It has been a rough road because I could not get up on time so some days I came to work late at 10AM. This was due to the medication.

Now, even though, it is still hard to get up sometimes, I force myself to get up at 7AM and get to work on time because it’s important. Getting up on time has to do with motivation and I think my motivation has improved somewhat over time. Lacking motivation is a negative symptom of schizophrenia. My care team, that is my case worker and team of psychiatrists think I have no negative symptoms, however, I think differently; I feel that I am less motivated and I know how motivated I was before I got sick and what a hard worker I was. Today, I am half the worker I was but I can feel myself slowly recovering my motivation and that is good news.

You will see from my LinkedIn profile found here, AngelitaJanssens that my tasks at work have been reduced. This does not mean to say that I cannot do the tasks that I previously did before getting sick. I am sure that with training  I can reach the level I worked at before I got sick. It is just like starting my career over. It sucks to have to be able to start from scratch again but that’s just the reality of my situation now. Sometimes, I wonder if I am committing career suicide by putting myself out there on the world wide web but to those who stigmatize persons with mental illness, I say I am a shining example of what it’s like to be “sticking it to stigma” though it might be a slow process to recovery.

I think what is helping to recover my motivation is the fact that I take a nootropics supplement which is a natural supplement that enhances your cognitive abilities. The name of the product is Profrontal. It is Sarcosine combined with N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC for short. In short  it is thought that NMDA receptor abnormalities contribute to cognitive and psychological deficits.”Greater understanding of NMDA function and dysfunction is raising the possibility that sarcosine and glycine, essential cofactor molecules for NMDA receptors, may improve the function of these receptors in the brains of schizophrenia patients”(Hawkes, n.d.,para 3).

I am just one class away from graduating with an Associate of Science in Business degree. This has been a long journey, while getting sick, not once, but twice on that journey, so if I may, I am tooting my own horn. I am proud of myself for how far I’ve come. Of course, the journey is not over but I’m more than halfway there and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Until next time. Peace.


Hawkes. E. (n.d.). Sarcosine Therapy – A New Complementary Direction for Schizophrenia Treatment? Retrieved from



Behind bars

That’s what it felt like when I was institutionalized in November and December of 2014. I felt like I had been imprisoned behind bars. My first assumption was that this is what it must feel like to be in jail. I spent just about 7 weeks at the Mental Health Foundation St.Maarten.  I was released on December 19th 2014. Though, my whole experience there was not completely negative.

First of all, I had to be taken to Sint Maarten from Saba on a helicopter. You can imagine, that while being delusional, I had fears of flying on a helicopter, though, I had already flown in a helicopter once before. This time it was not at all a fun experience, though in hind sight it was not a bad experience. All I could think of at that time , over and over in my head was, “will this helicopter go down because there is no way they can glide a helicopter if it has engine trouble” for the whole 20 minute helicopter ride.

The first day I was put in a room by myself. This room was akin to a solitary confinement cell, in my mind. It had a bed in it, a video camera mounted from the ceiling and a huge metal door with a small window on the metal door. After a while, being in this room by myself, the doctor came to check on me. I was allowed to sleep outside the “solitary confinement” room on the first night. I got up the next morning and I showered. I had a cold shower so then I thought I was in the army barracks or at least that’s how I felt at that time.

Later on, I was moved to a room that I shared with other female mental health patients. Every morning, we were woken up at 7 AM to check our blood pressure. At times, I felt so bad that I could hardly stand up. I would lay back down on the bed because my blood pressure was so low because of the heavy medication that I was on. After the nurses checked our blood pressure, I usually went back to sleep until after 10 AM. Some days I tried to get up to have breakfast because this was at a set time but this was very difficult for me because I was so drugged at the time.

Some days we would have an exercise class together and I would look forward to moments like this when I could be outside the confines of the Mental Health Foundation. There was a television and a computer room inside which also had books that you could read. Unfortunately, I did not make use of this room so often because I couldn’t concentrate through the time it took to watch a movie. I only used this room, mostly when I had visitors which thankfully I did have.

Structure and routine throughout the day are very important to mental health patients and this was established at the Mental Health Foundation. We would have lunch always at 12 PM and would join in prayer before we sat down to our lunchtime meal. Lunch was always a warm meal.

After 10 AM, when I woke up, I would try to make it to the crafts room which was filled with Arts & Crafts materials. This room was only open in the mornings which I thought was a pity because I was so drowsy in the mornings that I was almost incapable of doing anything. Though, when the medicine had not quite began to work, I felt like I was back in my childhood as a Scout making arts and crafts. I did do some small paintings but I didn’t have quite the patience to make the painting the way I wanted it to turn out in my mind though this seems to be a consistent problem of mine when I am painting.

In the afternoons, between 1PM and 3PM, we were put to rest. Sometimes, I would go online, on my phone, to check  Facebook. I missed home (the island of Saba) so much during this time. I missed my husband and my dog. From 3PM onwards, it was trying to find things to do, which usually meant I was playing dominoes or I was pacing up and down, experiencing a little akathisia, that is restlessness, outside the ward, but still in an enclosed area, behind bars, metal doors,  an alarm system and video cameras; At one point I became so frustrated that I actually pushed in the heavy metal door and set off the alarm system . For me, inside the institution was all about killing time until I could see my husband the next time, who came to visit me quite often,  under the circumstances, usually on the weekends.

While, I was institutionalized, I had EMDR therapy, which I will explain more about in a month as I am going to write a monthly blog from now on.