Sometimes the hardest part of schizophrenia is the fear that accompanies it. Not of the problems of when you’ve already lost you’re mind. Those are short lived for me, lasting only a few weeks to a few months. It’s when I’m well, that’s where most of my time is spent. That is where the fear lay in wait.
I have a few accomplishments that I am very proud to have. I’ve achieved my Diploma, my license to drive, I am even certified in facilities maintenance. I have a good driving record, and I haven’t had any problems with the law since my youth, of course all those records are sealed. I’m at a job where I do well and My wife and I have our own apartment. I succeeded in taking care of an elderly person in my family until his dying breath. My wife and I did our best to make his last leg of life as pleasant as possible. What I am getting at is it would seem that I am a capable person. It would seem that despite my illness, I can grab the reigns of life and take it where ever I see fit. You would be wrong in that assumption.
I am probably the world leader in putting on a face and going about my day. A lot of people who I have told about my illness say that they would have never known. Even after I told them, they still find it hard to believe. I’ll admit that for having schizophrenia, I am pretty high functioning. I am lucky to say the least but I still do have an illness.
So back to the fear. Some would say, “hey you are okay today, so try not to let it get to you.” I’m pretty sure they ask the impossible because the fear of getting sick again is always on or in the back of my mind. My last statement is of course a very loaded one. Yes I am continuously worried about getting sick but its much more than that. my fears are not ones that are all about me, yes being delusional is uncomfortable (to say the least) but they’re more about the people in my life. My wife relies on me to get her to work. Us only having one vehicle present a bit of a problem since my job requires me to drive. What would happen if i went into the hospital for three weeks. Taxis are expensive and we have bills to pay, shes close enough to walk but people are terrible drivers around here. Not only that but she closes the store some nights and I’d rather her not walk home at not for fear of her safety.
Now back to me not working for three weeks. It would be very hard, if not impossible for my wife to handle the bills on her own and my job doesn’t offer paid vacation or sick time. Needless to say it would be bad for us financially.
I think the worst is that my wife would be all alone, worrying about how I’m doing in the hospital and going about life by herself. I love my wife more than everything in the world and I would be in that hospital a complete wreck with worry about her.
See the worst part about this fear is not how terrifying it is, but how often I think about it. I’ve definitely be sane more than I have not and this fear taking place while I am sane, takes up more of my time.
Another big fear of mine is my illness causing me to lose my life. I’ve had a few delusions where I thought this reality wasn’t the true one and it scares me to think that one day I could try to kill myself, thinking that it is going to wake me up. I feel as if I can never trust my mind to keep me alive when I am sick. I’ve also done some pretty stupid things in my life and a big part of that being because of my illness.
One of my fears that I try desperately to push out of my mind is that somehow I would lose access to what keeps my mind sane, and I would be forever lost in my mind. Unable to look at my wife with recognition and love. Unable to ever have anything that I could say I worked for. Or just being completely out of control of my life.
One of my favorite pass times is being out on my porch. I go out there and I smoke a lot of cigarettes. I read somewhere that 90% of schizophrenics smoke. Think about that, there is 24 million of us across the globe and almost all of us smoke. Clearly being a deadly habit, I fear my illness makes me cling to the smokes. I have tried many different mechanisms to try to quit. I’ve tried vaping, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler, the patch, cold turkey, nicotine tictacs and probably a few others I’ve forgotten about. all to no avail. The fear being that I cannot quit and I die a terrible cancer filled death.
Schizophrenia brings out a lot of fear in people, but none more so than the people who have the illness. In this unforgiving world we can sometimes get left behind, forsaken and left to rot in our own minds. People sometimes like to pick on the weak, a lot of misconceptions about mental illness dehumanize us. People view us as less than animals. Hitler being one who for tested out his terrible ovens on the mentally ill in order to perfect them for the Jewish victims. Another would be in 1950’s America, where they did a procedure that involved shoving a medical tool into our brains and tearing some of our brain out. This was called Lobotomizing and it was a terrible thing that no one should have even thought about. Unfortunately we weren’t cared enough about to deem it inhumane. Then there is the Catholic church, who said it was demon possession that caused our illness and they performed painful exorcism’s on us. Long ago in Great Brittain they would build mass institutions where they would house the mentally ill. Their family’s would pay a fee and they would never have to worry about their mentally ill family member again. Poor living conditions and even worse treatment made these buildings famous. Even now a days where I was forced out of a company because of my illness instead of them trying to help me get better. I can’t even say that we aren’t being harmed anymore because of police brutality killing a schizophrenic in custody in California. This man was dying all the while they filmed and laughed about it.
So these are just some of my fears, making it difficult to sleep at night. Try not to dwell on all of it because you are well today.