Monday, October 30, 2017

What It’s Like Living with Schizophrenia

(No photos for this; it didn't seem appropriate.)

I’ve always known I was mentally unwell. But while the words ‘depression’ and ‘mood swings’ were practically second nature to me, hearing my doctor tell me I have schizophrenia was a completely different blow. As everyone else out there is probably thinking, I thought the same: “Schizophrenia? That means I’m crazy, right?” When my doctor prescribed me with anti-psychotics (not anti-depressants, anti-PSYCHOTICS), I knew that my world was definitely going to change.

It started when I decided to tell my mother that I had been seeing a psychiatrist for a while. I was surprised that she was so casual about it. She was even so supportive, she asked me if my psycho analysis sessions were working and whether I needed medication. Ironically enough, I was prescribed my meds right after I proudly told her, “No, I don’t need meds.” But now, I do. Now, all of a sudden, it’s more real.

There are times when I intentionally don’t take my medication because I am still in denial. I tell myself that I’m in control, that I don’t need medication just to be normal. But then, after two or three days, the downward spiral begins. I find myself wondering why my friends aren’t messaging me to invite me to hang out. Did something happen? Do they hate me? And when I see them, I always feel like they aren’t as warm as usual. Did I do something wrong? Are people spreading shit about me?

It gets even worse when I’m on the road with no one to talk to. When cement mixers come up next to the car, I start imagining – no, wishing – that it would roll over and kill me so that, that way, it wouldn’t be suicide; it would just be bad luck. That way, I could still go to heaven and not spend an eternity in hell. Other times, when I’m on the Skyway, I imagine the car speeding off of it and killing me instantly – no pain, no worries.

And then there are times when I just stare at my medication at night and wonder what would happen if I took a handful of it and down it with alcohol. Maybe I wouldn’t wake up anymore. That way, it would be a peaceful death. That way, I’d just drift away and all the nightmares would just end.

What triggers the downward spirals? I don’t even know, and that’s what we’re trying to figure out right now. Sometimes, I send someone a text message and don’t get a reply, and that would be the end-all of my day. Sometimes, I do something wrong at work and get told off for it and I find myself crying uncontrollably for hours – not even in bathrooms, but in public. Sometimes, a song comes on and my mood just changes in an instant.

On the days that I do take my medication, things aren’t exactly better. The voices in my head fade, sure; but I also wake up sometimes with a massive headache that feels like a bad hangover and muscles so sore, it’s actually difficult to move. Then there are days when I don’t wake up when I’m used to at all. My eyes are so heavy and when I check the time, it’s already late in the afternoon. Of course, that stresses me out even more. Where did my day go? How will I get things done? It’s a vicious cycle.

With meds or without meds, life with schizophrenia isn’t something I would wish on my worst enemy. It’s hard waking up in the morning and not knowing how your day will go. It’s hard not knowing if it’s going to be a bad day or a good day; and then, when it’s a bad day, it’s hard not knowing if it’s going to be your last.

And that’s why I’m in therapy. That’s why I’m on meds. That’s why I got help. A lot of people have been questioning the changes I’ve been going through, and well, surprise: this is it.

To those of you who don’t know me well and have always thought I was just an overly dramatic, OA and papansin person, I’m not hoping that this will make you understand, but I’m hoping that it will at least make you more sensitive and more understanding of me and my ‘crazy’ or ‘bipolar’ personality, as some have already called it.

I haven’t found my triggers, but I’m hoping that one day I will. I hope that one day, I will be able to take control of my thoughts. I hope that one day, I’ll wake up and realize that, “Hey, it’s been a month and I haven’t once thought about death in any form.” But until that day, all I can really do is hope. I hope you can hope with me.

1 comment:

  1. I have heard about the condition but I am positive you will get over it and have a successful journey to recovery your story would make an awesome assignmentdoer though keep up the good job

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