I’m not consoled by statistics. I am, however, overwhelmed by defeat. It seems that all I can focus on lately is hopelessness, either how to combat it or how to subsist within its limits. Usually I focus on hope and solitude, believing that this affords me some solace. But I sense that an outside pressure is at odds with my internal fortitude. I’m losing my optimism. I want it back.
My anxiety is through the roof. Left unchecked, it’s a tsunami of emotion. I’m prescribed an anti-anxiety medication at the maximum dosage, yet some things still get past the pharmaceutical firewall. To cope, I depend pretty heavily on my therapist.
A friend of mine is concentrating her graduate studies in drama therapy and is currently assembling a seminar on schizophrenia. When asked if I would like to contribute, I happily obliged. She wanted an excerpt from my unpublished manuscript to read in her presentation, so I opened up the file and started combing through it, searching for an excerpt that would most accurately convey my lived experience.
Like millions of other people whose only connection to the life we might have known once is an online conference call or video chat where a familiar face is only that and nothing more. No actual contact, no handshakes or hugs, no fascia or pheromones. Something’s missing. Something human.
I have a different perspective on life today. I’m less concerned with being normal and more enthusiastic about the integration that medication and wellness has afforded me. My self-conscious behavior and subsequent social awkwardness seem to have waned; life feels more easily manageable. My confidence has returned to a degree that I felt compelled to meet new friends, and with new territory to explore, I feel inclined to take chances that I wouldn’t have—or couldn’t have—when I was living in psychosis.
Go easy on yourself and hopefully when life goes back to normal for many of you, you will find a new understanding, compassion, and appreciation for every level of human functioning.
Almost a decade ago now, I realized the price of “having it all” was far too high for me. Not only did it require me to live life at a pace that felt impossible to maintain, it required me to ignore who I really am and what I need to be healthy and happy, in all my messy, misfit imperfection. It required me to ignore that my mental and physical health could not actually bear the weight of “having it all”.
take care of your mental health, and I will too. We might be feeling isolated but we can go outside. We can talk on the phone. But I think what’s most important is limiting our news intake, getting exercise and simply toning down stress by finding activities that kill stress. Let me know how it goes!!
And that’s what these days are all about now—trying new things. Routines are essential to people living with a mental illness, as many of them will tell you, and unfortunately, with the global lockdown our routines are disrupted. So we need to establish new routines.