I’ve been living with schizophrenia for almost nine years now and I’ve been privy to many moments of exasperation. I know what it’s like to feel so overwhelmed by the things in your head that you project them onto the world around you.
The paranoia in particular can make it feel like nobody’s listening to you, or even worse, that instead of listening, they’re persecuting you.
I’m no stranger to feeling like you just want to stand up in a crowded place and scream. There comes a point though when you have to restrain yourself. I’ll get to that later.
The reason I felt compelled to write about this stuff this week was that last week I had an article in the Washington Post that was shared a number of times on social media. I was alarmed one morning when I saw that I had 20+ notifications about it on twitter, all from the same man. It was essentially a tirade against the mental health system out of a frustration with not being listened to.
It was over twenty messages, a long string of justification for something that I deem must have been incredibly frustrating for him. I also know though, that the reason for that tirade must have been an intense paranoia about how he thought he was being perceived.
Throughout the entire thing I just wanted to say simply, “I’m on your team man, you don’t have to do this.” Tirades like this are essentially what I classify as acting crazy. Of course people are going to ignore you if you inundate them with messages about how they’re wrong.
It’s perfectly acceptable to be crazy, I should know, I’m just as crazy as the rest of ‘em but I don’t act crazy because I know it’s not going to get me anywhere besides in a seat in the back of a police car or in a psych ward for a seventy-two hour hold and those are things I never want to experience again in my life.
That’s what I mean when I say there comes a point when you have to restrain yourself. If you want to get anywhere in this world, if you want to be heard you have to play the game of niceties that everyone else is forced to play. If you deviate from the normal course of behavior people are inevitably going to label you unstable.
You can have schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder or any combination of mental health issues but if you’re stable you have a much better chance of fitting into this huge complicated world. Essentially, I want to ask you what gives you free reign to act like that when the rest of us have to restrain ourselves?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s bad to be suffering, I’m not saying you’re not worth my time if you’re acting unstable I’m just saying it’s much much much easier to get your point across if you act like a regular human being.
Stability is a gift, I value it with ferocity because it’s given me the opportunities I’m more than grateful for. What would’ve happened if I hounded the editor of PsychCentral or The New York Times with twenty messages about how I felt I wasn’t being heard?
The point I’m trying to make is that everyone is playing this game of normalcy, it’s perfectly acceptable to feel frustrated inside, but you have the choice on whether or not to take it out on the world.
I’ll say it again, stability is much easier than feeling so overwhelmed that you take out your frustrations on a simple writer who’s trying just as hard as you to get what he wants out of life.
I know what it’s like to be frustrated, it’s hard, I know that.