Listen to Fonda's message here
Fonda is 45, and recently moved to northern Kentucky, from Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband and her youngest son. Her three boys are from previous marriages, and the oldest two live in Pennsylvania. She was adopted as an infant to a mother who became an abusive alcoholic and a father who was kind, but whom she describes as a “workaholic.”
Fonda considers her belief in God the central element of her life. It gives her life (and her illness) meaning, and it prompts her to want to use the lessons of her life to help others.
I’ve read the Bible from front to back. When my son, my youngest son, I was, he was born the 22nd of January and my New Year’s resolution that year was to pick the Bible up and read it through. And I finished it in a year. And it was the most awesome thing I've ever read in my whole life. It opened a lot of things for me. I believe that Jesus died on the cross, and that He did it for me and for all of us. I believe that He was there to not only take away our sins, but to heal us. Now that doesn't mean - I know some people want to believe that God’s gonna heal them from every single thing, and I don’t believe that God has every intention to heal everybody from every single thing. I believe that God lets people go through certain things, because other people go through these things. And if something like this, where I can share my story to help other people that deal with the same thing, then that’s what I’m here to do.
Listen to an expanded version of the above excerpt here
Fonda believes that the medication she takes is essential to her ability to manage her life with schizophrenia. She depends upon the medication and takes it regularly and as prescribed, but because of insurance issues, she has sometimes had trouble obtaining it.
I started [taking medication] when I was twenty-two, but I was on and off it, because of lack of health insurance. When I was in my thirties, I guess, I was in and out of the psych unit every year. One time it was six times in a year, and I almost went to a state hospital, by my request, because I knew I needed more help than what I was getting. I don’t abuse my meds… I take it as prescribed. Always have. In Pennsylvania you have Medicaid automatically. This state, you don’t have it. I don’t have it right now. I have to pay for my own meds, and I’m trying to figure out how to do some of that.
She is currently enrolled in beauty school, with the hope of graduating and obtaining work as a beautician. Because of the schizophrenia, and her frequent hospitalizations, her work history has been sporadic, yet she remains optimistic about changing that, and her recent work experience has reinforced that hope.
My goal…is to complete school, to do something I never thought I could do. Because I, I was always working…I’d work and quit and work and quit, just ‘cause I couldn’t handle it. And then I proved to myself. When we moved here, I found my job at Wal-Mart, here in Florence as a seasonal worker for two months. And I held the job. And I was only let go because I was seasonal.
In the meantime, she has developed a YouTube channel, where she posts videos that demonstrate nail art techniques.
I have a YouTube channel, and I’m a YouTube partner. I have four hundred and fifty-six thousand some views of my channel. I have forty, I believe forty-three videos, put out where I show people how to do nail art. I show them how to do designs and things like that. And I have one thousand, one hundred and sixty-six subscribers at this point. I have struggled with that [the YouTube channel] too. I do it for a while and then…I stop videotaping my nail art. I always come back. Yes, that is an interest for me. Doing the nail art is a big interest for me.
To see Fonda’s videos:
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Fonda feels very fortunate to have the support of her husband, and she has this advice for family and friends of those who struggle with a mental illness.
Stand by those people that are close to you that have that, that deal with mental illness. Don’t walk away from them, don’t get so frustrated, and tired of dealing with it, that you can’t…be there for them anymore.
And because of her own struggles, she has this advice for those who are living with schizophrenia.
Never give up. There is always time to learn, to grow, to find the right doctor, to find the right people to help you in your life. I know a lot of people go through suicidal thinking and have committed suicide, because they don’t know how to handle it, and there’s more help out there than they are giving, than they realize, and they’re not giving themselves that chance to find it. They’re giving up too easily. And that's one of the things that I've had since I was a young kid and that's hope. I don't know where it came from other than God, but I have hope.
Listen to the above excerpt here