Hey guys welcome back to my blog. It's been about a year and a half since I last wrote here and I wanted to get back into it. My mission from here on out with this blog is to take you through my daily...
There have been numerous times when I’ve been going about my day when my illness will peak its head into my routine and start whispering nasty stuff. This happens nearly everyday and it usually has something to do with the notion that people are out to get me. The problem is that these nasty whispers have the tendency to trip me up and make me convinced of some notion that has no basis in reality. A good example might be that I’m sitting doing my work in a coffee shop when all of the sudden someone will look at me strangely and I’ll start a whirlwind in my mind about what this person is thinking, if it gets bad, this paranoia will escalate into delusions that this person is somehow trying to do something to me like hurt me or spy on me.
Every now and again things get stagnant.
You operate according to a routine for months or years and then suddenly you just feel sick of it.
Suddenly might not be the right word, it’s as if this stagnancy starts to creep in ever so slowly hardly noticeable until it’s on you like a bear and slowly chewing your face off.
The point is, I’ve been there.
I hit that point about three or four months ago and...
We all do it, pretty much everyday.
We scroll through our newsfeeds or click on articles about politics or are bombarded by updates on shootings and it’s no wonder why so many of us are freaking out about the state of the world.
News, inherently, can be a major source of stress for people.
It can be even worse if you’re living with a mental illness.
Stress to schizophrenia is like a teapot. It builds slowly for...
There’s a guy at the coffee shop I go to everyday, he’s there everyday and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t admire him. He has a way about him that is completely unassuming. He doesn’t seem to give a damn about anyone or anything else and he just sits there, writing in his journal. His beard is long and he has this look in his eye like his seen everything you could possibly offer. I want that way of acting. I wish that I didn’t care about the intricacies of things like I do.
Throughout the last 20 years of my life there has been one overarching facet of my personality that both drives me and that I wish would relax, that’s the fact that I’m extremely hard on myself. I don’t know where this push for absolute perfection came from but the fact remains that it is and probably always will be a part of me that I have to grapple with. Truthfully though, I wouldn’t be where I am today without that voice in my head telling me to push harder and harder. It’s gotten me jobs at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Scientific American and a host of other prestigious publications. It’s been the main motivating force in me losing weight and it’s been the driver in my recovery from dangerously delusional to a valued contributing member of my community. This voice though has the tendency to scream and make a fit when things aren’t going according to plan, when things aren’t perfect and that’s a problem simply for the fact that life as we know it, is inevitably imperfect.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my ten years of living with schizophrenia, it’s that no one is judging you as harshly as you’re judging yourself. I’ve lived with this illness for a long time, and I’ve been through every iteration of fear about what people thought about me and what they were thinking about me. I’ve experienced every anxiety possible about what people thought, and I’ve been so afraid to leave my house that I’ve holed up for days. In fact, the main overarching fear I’ve had in my years of dealing with schizophrenia is that people were making fun of me, so I know what I’m talking about when I speak of paranoia and anxiety. There are different ways this fear that people are judging you manifests; maybe it’s about the way you look or a thing you did or a certain way you held yourself, but there always seems to be a little voice in your head that tells you you’re not doing it right.
I’ve recently been asked to do a new series on living with schizophrenia for another blog. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem but it’s asking for more writing and better production value than I’m used to and to be honest the responsibility of even thinking about it, though exciting, is causing me a little bit of stress. As we all know stress can be the difference between wellness and problems when you have a major mental illness. The thing is, I’m excited to do it and it pays well so I want to at least give it a good shot.
I’ve lived with schizophrenia for ten years now and there have been a few overarching facets of the illness that I live with on a daily basis. One of the most pronounced ones is anxiety or paranoia. Seemingly in every social situation I encounter my mind will be running about whether or not someone thinks something about me or is conspiring against me in some way. It never leaves and it’s always a a constant nagging notion in the back of my head. Did they think I talked weird? Did they think my eye contact was too much or too little? Did they think I’m weird because of the sound of my voice or because of my body language? Almost every interaction is mired by these thoughts, these little worries that I said or did something that wasn’t right given the situation.
You know how it goes, one day you’re hanging out at your favorite spot and you see a new person. This wouldn’t normally be an issue but this new person is particularly attractive and is someone you’d like to get to know. Maybe you don’t say anything because you’ve been burned too many times or you have a bit of anxiety or you just think this new attractive person wouldn’t be interested in you. However it goes, at some point, one of you talks to other about something completely innocuous. That was fun, you think, and then leave it at that. Then the next day, and the next few days this attractive stranger keeps showing up at your spot and before you know it you’re deep into an hours long conversation about life, love, philosophy and everything under the sun. At this point, it’s hard not to feel something for this attractive stranger even though you only know their first name.