Living with schizophrenia isn’t easy. There are many days when, feeling overwhelmed, I sit and stare out the window, overcome with thoughts that aren’t mine. However there are good days too. It is when I get out of the house, do ‘normal person’ things, and breathe the fresh air, knowing that I will have more days like it, that I feel most alive. I don’t often think anymore what life would be like without mental illness, because I know that even if I knew, I wouldn’t change anything. It is part of my life now, as much as anything or anyone can be.
Being influenced by an illness creates a world of problems that many probably don’t have to face. Putting these things down into words helps somewhat, but what truly liberates my mind is letting others know what I am going through, and learning their perspectives on the trials that we all must go through in life. It seems that I could write whole books on my experiences in the 3+ years since I was diagnosed, but none of them would ever come close to the reality that I live day to day.
Because in many instances it is still shameful to describe your afflictions with a mental illness such as schizophrenia, I am careful, and guarded about expressing myself the way that I would want to. I know that an off-beat burst of laughter, a disparaging remark made at just the wrong moment, or a step made in the wrong direction would cause others to pause, and reconsider their relationship with me. But, truly, I want to be seen. I want to show off my inner being, the one that is still whole, and has not been touched by this illness.
The things that I write on this blog, are my experiences as I have them. A combination of thoughts, emotions, ideas and feelings that are all mine. As much as I can push towards having a ‘normal’ life, I will. And when I can’t, I will try to make sure you know about it. This is our bond, that special connection between reader and writer. Here I am, hoping that you will have some sense of empathy for me when I cannot aptly express myself, but valuing me when I can. It is not often that I will speak of having schizophrenia, and that is for my sake as much as yours.
I think in many ways, simply knowing that it is there, out in the world, living its life, is enough. That we all go through things which are traumatic and unfair, but that there is beauty in pain, and not always pain in beauty.