The midnight hour has long since passed. I look at my watch as I walk and it reads 3am. I am on mile three of my nightly hike and am running out of steam. My old nemesis, schizophrenia, has hit me hard tonight.
"Does it ever end?" I say to myself as I hike. "I get so tired of dealing with this damn disease."
Thus is the cyclical nature of my mental illness. It ebbs and flows much like the tide – many times hitting me when I least expect it.
"I now know why so many schizophrenics commit suicide," I say, furthering my conversation with myself. "Death is the only peace of mind from this terrible affliction."
My paranoia strikes hard as I walk down a darkened back street on my way to my home. Haunted by my vivid imagination and the misfiring synapses of my mind – I am tormented by the voices in my head.
"You deserve to go to hell," they say. "You are a terrible person. God hates you."
Shadowy figures meld in and out of the darkness. I shudder in fear.
"You deserve to die," the voices continue. "Why don't you just end it all? You would be doing the world a favor."
I look at my watch again turning on the indiglo feature to light its face. The time is now 4am. The last hour has passed by in what seemed like a millisecond. I am walking by that little convenience store run by the Middle Eastern men. A lone neon Budweiser sign blinks in the window beckoning for me to come inside and buy a few beers. I am drawn to that mesmerizing light like a moth to a flame.
"One beer won't hurt," I tell myself. "Alcohol will calm the voices and let you sleep."
"No, dammit!" I then say as rationality hits. "You may never be able to quit drinking again you fool."
The voices in my head play on my foibles and increase in intensity. I finally arrive home, take a shower and sit down to write this. A lone tear erupts and rolls down my cheek as I try to capture in words what happened tonight. The nightmare that can be my life and the intensity with which it is lived is more than I can bear. It is times like these that I would normally turn to mind altering substances to change how I feel and alter my reality for a brief few hours – anything to feel better or just different.
"One day at a time," I tell myself as blissful and escaping sleepiness overcomes me. "Take it one day at a time."