I want to touch on a lighter note. When it comes to living with Schizophrenia it can become very easy to focus on the bad. I have told you much about my hard times and struggles but today, I want to tell you about some of the better times in my life. We will start from the beginning.
I played a lot of sports when I was younger. Football, soccer, baseball and basketball were my favorites. Yet it was not until I got into football when I really shinned.
I played a lot of positions in football. My last year I would play every down throughout every game. On defense I shinned when playing outside linebacker, on offense I was one of the toughest running backs in the league. On the darker side, I handed out a few concussions yet I did not take near as much pain as I dealt out.
When I got into the sixth grade I got a bmx bike, no intention of actually getting into bmx, it was something that allowed me the freedom to get where I wanted. It was a quiet escape if I wanted to sneak out to a party. I could be pretty fast on the bike as well. This allowed me to get home before my mother if I was out when I should have been grounded. There were a few outdoor tracks throughout my town, mostly used as a hangout to smoke weed and drink.
I will admit I spent a lot of time driving without a license. I used to take my grandfather’s truck out after dark but the first time actually taking a car was when my mother spent three nights in the hospital for a routine procedure, she neglected to take her car keys with her. I spent all three nights out until five to six in the morning joy riding without a care. I actually took the car to my high school and drove all over the lawn. I made sure to stay of the brand new football field. I think the closest call to getting in trouble was when my mother’s boss who was the supervisor of the EMT’s, saw me in the car early in the morning. I saw him flip the lights on, turn around and start to follow me. I decided it was best to floor it. I turned down a few side streets and I think he said the hell with it because I did not see him again. I sped home and parked it for the night.
There was one night at a party, I was young, we were playing beer pong. So my buddy and I use to run the table, well one night we got pretty bored and decided add whiskey to the beer cups. Needless to say the night ended in a fist fight which shortly after I was passed out drunk in a chair. I remember waking up at six in the morning disoriented, thinking it was six at night. I busted open my friends door demanding he wake up, that the night was young. He must have been passed out drunk because he did not even flinch.
Once I turned 21 I decided to go to a few bars. By this point in my life I had already done plenty of drinking, partying and all around stupid decisions. I had slowed down on drinking quite a bit and I never drove drunk, I have lost a few friends that way. It was okay honestly but the bar scene was not for me.
Shortly after that I joined the Job corps. This was like a last ditch effort to try to make something of myself. I choose the HBI class which stands for Home Builders Association. This was all about learning to be a jack of all trades, plumbing, electrical, dry walling, hvac and painting. I ended up being top of my class, I was even in the student government believe it or not. Having already got my G.E.D. and driver license, I did not require additional classes. I was set to focus solely on my classes. I graduated and went to work for a local maintenance company at an apartment complex.
It was a few years and canned dreams later I found myself working at Walmart in the automotive section. Unknowingly my wife worked a few departments over. We first spoke on the picnic table outside on our breaks. My first words to her was I hope you don’t mind country music. Soon enough we were driving around, all over the place blaring music. Our first official date was a pizza restaurant the next town over. We spent the whole day together. Not to long later we decided to road trip it to cape code. We spent the whole day going sight seeing and to her favorite beach which when I officially asked her to be my girlfriend.I took a job on the other side of the state and while it did not work out well, she decided to move in with me. It was a amazing time. We got married on the porch of our cabin in the woods. Small and intimate, only my sister and her kids were there.
A few years later we started taking care of my grandfather. We ended up living with where I took care of him full time and my wife watched him when I was working 15 hours at a pizza place. It was nice spending so much time with my grandfather. We watched a lot of tv and it was always funny because you could hear his tv from two blocks away. I joked with that when we watched baseball it was like being at the stadium with how loud the tv was.
Shortly after he passed away I took a job at an auto parts store. I started out driving for them. I was able to move up to front end manager and for a short time I stayed at that level. I saw a opportunity to possibly move up and with the backing of the District Manager I interviewed for the Store Manager position. I ended up getting the promotion and I have been working hard to keep going. The stress level of the position is unreal and maintaining my mental health has been somewhat of a challenge. I do believe that I will be able to keep it up and who knows, maybe one day I will keep moving up.
So that’s a glimpse on fast forward of my life. It has never been all bad and even in my darkest moments I know that I have survived worse. Do not ever forget to look at the good times in your life, it is them along with the struggles that make you who you are. Appreciate it all!