Monday, July 23, 2007

Channeling that Thief in the Night: Schizophrenia

I was taking Music Theory, Woodwinds 101, Piano, Voice Performance, Chamber Choir, and Concert Choir for the semester. A busy class load. That is when it happened and it happened at the worst time. Things were looking so up for me. "It" was when the paranoia started. I had struggled with social anxiety for a few years, but these new experiences with college was when my first symptoms of schizophrenia started to manifest themselves. Imagined furtive glances. Snarky little remarks that were really complimentary but I couldn't see it. Laughing in public when strangers were around. The feeling of being followed about campus and while driving. I began to always look over my shoulder. It was enough to drive a young, impressionable man crazy. I was crazy. Then I found my best friend, beer. Ah, nirvana. Utopia. The anxiety would melt away and a feeling of calm and perceived sanity would overcome me. I had finally found my "medicine." I can see it happening all so clearly now, but then, the growing love affair with alcohol and my escape from the terrible first symptoms of schizophrenia was almost coyly incestuous and sneaking. Like a thief in the night sneaking up to steal your very soul. That thief, schizophrenia, would later go on to steal more than just my soul. It would steal my humanity.

Last night continued me and my father's usual routine of giving me my medications. "I'm thinking of turning the medications back over to you," he said. "You are doing so well now." I grew so scared. What if I quit taking them? was a frantic thought. It is so common for people with mental illness to think they are "cured" and to quit taking them in a fit of irrationality. I have truly felt so well lately as my father had remarked about. I was toying with the idea the other day that I am no longer mentally ill. I was just a chronic alcoholic. Warning signs! Then, I remember those first experiences with schizophrenia in college and it brings reality roaring back in full force. Normal people don't think aliens are controlling them and think, grandiosely, that they are the next Mozart.

Status quo. That's all I hope for in this next chapter in my life. Quiet, uneventful days filled with good food, loving friends, and caring family. And a welcoming home with which to enjoy them all in. Is that too much to ask? I feel as if I have been through my purgatory and it is time for a level of heaven. I don't want golden gates and harp playing cherubs. I don't want eternity in bliss. All I ask for is that the waning, last few years of my life be quiet, sane, and uneventful. I am off to a good start so let's see if I can keep this up.

11 comments:

Cheryl said...

I'm all about the simple life, as you know. Good friends and family, good food, a home you love. Steady. Finding pleasure in the small things. I wish for those feelings of contentment to be your constant companions.

Ella said...

Wow, great writing and heavy story. Good luck, I hope you keep up the good start...

VA Friend said...

So, what did you say to your dad? Did you tell him no just yet? or "Okay, let me give it a try"?

Summer said...

I've been thinking the same thing lately. Your words are bringing it home.

KYRIE said...

Hi,
Those music courses really sound intense!
Well forget those past sadness and fill your life with quiet happiness.
Aim to be a Zen Master!

Eric said...

Your inner response is a good sign of the progress you are making.

Your final paragraph is something I look for as well.

Lynette said...

Do what you feel right with now. Your Dad is just letting you try your wings. You don't have to fly yet.

Gardenia said...

Again, wonderful writing. And I wish you well. Your words have the potential to reach so many who fall into the black pits - I hope you enjoy your heaven to the fullest........

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