Things are going well. I have a new writing job which is going to give me a little bit of a buffer money-wise, I found a great apartment which I’m moving into in July, and I have a date with a nice girl on Sunday. Why then, do I feel so anxious? I think this is a problem for a lot of folks out there. When things start to go well, the pit in their stomach starts to swell a bit.
For the longest time I’ve been hustling, trying to find work in the hopes that one day I’ll eventually make enough money to afford a house in the mountains. That’s been my overarching goal for years. The thing is, making money as a person with a disability is hard.
As I’m sure they are for a lot of people, things are in a sort of transition for me right now. I’m coming up on the end of my lease at my apartment, so I have to decide where I’m going to move, job prospects are in the air, things could happen or they couldn’t and I find myself in kind of an anxious state, kind of unable to sit still. The thing is I know that even if things change, I’m still not going to be one hundred percent happy with the way things are.
I write a lot about accepting your place in life, as both someone with a mental illness and as a young professional and I find that the advice I try to give with my essays pertains particularly well to my own situation. I struggle with things. I struggle with the fact that I have a mental illness that prevents me from doing some things I’d like to do, and I struggle with the fact that it’s so hard to make a living as a mental health writer.
In this world of constant stimulation it’s worth a moment to stop and do something that you enjoy. So many times we’re so overwhelmed with work and responsibilities that we hardly have time to eat, let alone do something we enjoy. I consider myself blessed because I enjoy writing and somehow, someway I’ve managed to eek out a small living doing it. The same can’t be said for a multitude of others though. Some people have no choice but to work their fingers to the bone in some almost futile attempt to build up their situation. Some people just simply don’t have the luxury of being able to choose what they want to do with their lives. That’s where taking some time to enjoy yourself can be so beneficial. It’s worth it.
In the last nine years since I was diagnosed I’ve worked hard to appear as normal as possible and to not let my schizophrenia define who I am and what I can do. Still though, there are some things that remain outside of my capabilities as a disabled person. Here’s how it goes, I get an idea of what I want to happen and then I work feverishly on that idea until it either comes to fruition or I run myself so hard that I inevitably hit a wall. The wall is essentially the limit of stress I can endure before I start to feel myself slip backwards either by becoming depressed or more paranoid. Sometimes I don’t realize that I’ve hit the wall until it’s too late and I’m entrenched in thoughts of suicide or terrified by delusions. Finally, I’ll realize that I just don’t have it in me to accomplish what I want to accomplish and I’m forced to take a few days to a week to recover and get stable again.
We all have things that eat at us. We all have the little voices in our heads that tell us we’re not good enough or that we’re ugly or that we’ll never find love. They’re there and they’ll be there for a while. It gets better with age but those voices still eat at us about different things and if magically one day they disappear, you can almost be sure that different ones will take their place. The thing of it though, is that we don’t have to let these voices bother us. I’ll get to that in a minute.
One thing that I’m continually amazed by is the fact that things that were once a huge deal before I was diagnosed practically became little more than minor inconveniences after living with a mental illness long enough. These include things like rejection, opportunity loss, breakups, bad days, pretty much anything that has the potential to set someone off. The weird thing is, you realize none of it really matters after living with a mental illness because practically anything the world manages to throw at you pales in comparison to the constant day-in day-out struggle of being able to trust your own mind.
We all struggle for something. We all wish certain things were different in our lives. We all cling to the hope that someday things will be different. Whether it’s the issue of making a living, finding love or having a fulfilling career, we all have that thing we wish we could change. For me, my main struggle is making a living. As a person with schizophrenia I also struggle with the fact that the things that come easy to other people are incredibly hard for me. I have this sinking feeling in my gut a lot of the time that to be able to be financially stable I have to do things which are going to exacerbate my symptoms, cause me a good deal of stress and possibly make me sicker than I am.
I was propelled into a situation recently where my integrity was attacked. I asked a girl out who had no interest in me. I knew that. Yes I overstepped my normally very solid bounds to do something I regret doing but what I did was vastly innocuous compared to the retaliation. After the fact, I tried to friend her on Facebook and discovered that she had blocked me. Suffice it to say, I felt like a creep.