Hi, my name is Steve Colori, I was born in 1986, and I’ve had schizoaffective disorder since age 19. For a person to be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder they must have all the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder simultaneously. This is not schizophrenia light. When I was released from my second and last hospitalization from schizoaffective disorder at age 24 I couldn’t speak a coherent sentence or make much sense of anything anyone was saying. I had psychosis, neurosis, auditory and sometimes visual hallucinations. I didn’t have a job, any friends, much self-esteem, I lived with my parents, and I didn’t have any meaningful activities in my life. I dealt with symptoms such as referential thinking, disorientation, social dysfunction, and I had a lot of trauma I had to combat.
Today I’m currently a manager at a butchery, I live with two friends and I’m in the process of buying my own place, I have a number of friends, I play golf and I’m in a pool league, and I’ve been dating for the past several years. My life has taken a complete 180. Finding a good doctor was a big part of that but a great deal of it had to do with the work I put towards my recovery. In the past six years I’ve had the same amount of medication but my life changed because of the wisdom I acquired and the work I put forth towards improving my mental health. Recovery is getting to a point in life where I’m able to live independently and have a fulfilling life which is where I am at today. I still have symptoms of schizoaffective disorder and issues that I’m working towards resolving however, I use “short lived habits”(Nietzsche) to improve and then take breaks and continue forward again. Usually in life I’ve found if I’m not improving then I’m digressing; life has not been static.
Sean Swaby and The Good Men’s Project recently offered me the opportunity to write a column titled “Steve Colori Talks Mental Health” and this is one of the first installments. I have to start by saying it’s been an honor working with Erin Kelly of the Social Justice Column, Sean Swaby of the Health & Wellness column and The Good Men’s Project. They’ve helped me a great deal and are great people to work with.
I’ve been writing for Mclean Hospital since 2011 and I’ve been lecturing their Harvard Resident Doctors since 2012. I’ve lectured for NAMI Greater Boston, NAMI Reads of Cook County Illinois, Mass General Hospital, and also Simmons Graduate School of Social Work. I’ve been writing and publishing mental health material several years. I’ve also published twelve essays with Oxford Medical Journals and I have a memoir titled “Experiencing and Overcoming Schizoaffective Disorder” available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The memoir details my experience with the illness in earlier years and the ways in which I worked to improve my mental health. After writing the book I found that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life. So I continued working towards improving my mental health and recovery became a way of life for me.
Writing about my recovery has been a very useful tool for me and also for others. I write because it helps me to sort through the thoughts I have surrounding a number of subjects related to mental health and my experiences with schizoaffective disorder. Sometimes it’s painful, and it’s very emotional, but I write because I’m able to help others while helping myself. Pursuing my writing has been fuel for my recovery. “Steve Colori Talks Mental Health” is a column that will be a continuation of my previous writing. I’m here to share insight, logic, tools, wisdom, and strategies for combatting and overcoming mental health detriments that I’ve personally experienced and also just to discuss interesting mental health topics and material.
I’ve been writing for years now but for those who are unfamiliar with my writing I write mostly in the first person from my own experiences with overcoming ailments, and I draw information from as many resources that are available to me to improve my knowledge on mental health. This column is about self-improvement, helping others, and finding a way to overcome mental health burdens. It’s useful to those with schizoaffective disorder but also to those who are just interested in learning more about mental health. For a while I wasn’t certain whether I would continue to pursue my psychology writing, simply because it was painful. However, I’ve found there’s a great need for it, and I’m here to help others indefinitely. It’s become a way of life for me that I’ve been honored to take part in. Earlier on in my recovery my doctor gave me one of the most useful quotes I’ve ever heard which I’ve come to live by.
“To Improve is to Change; To be Perfect is to Change Often” (Winston Churchill).
I’m Steve Colori, I’m here to help as many people to get through this awful ailment as I possibly can, and with the help of The Good Men’s Project, the column will post every other week on Wednesdays at 19:30 ET.
Photo by Adrian Byrne