Dedicated to my friend Cheryl whose positiveness always inpires me and gives me hope.
I so liked coming down from my medications. It was interesting. It was novel. It was invigorating. I did have withdrawals -- a clammy feeling of flushness, a rush and buzz of the mind -- but it was livable. I thought I was feeling the real me, or at least I had hoped I was. I've been on so many medications for so many years that I no longer knew the truth. I also drank heavily and continuously while on my medications since I was in my early twenties. I couldn't discern whether my illness was caused by my alcoholism, or was I truly schizophrenic? The myriad of doctors I've seen only knew what was wrong with me by what I and my family told them. It was a guessing game. There were no tests for what ailed me.
I remember being diagnosed as schizophrenic. I was oddly relieved at news that would make most shudder. I thought I had found the answer to all my problems. The social aloofness and anxiety. The strange thoughts. The delusions of grandeur that spurred me on to wild flights of fancy. The paranoia of being watched and followed everywhere. Now they could medicate me and solve my problems. My panacea.
The problems didn't end though. I still struggled deeply. Nights would find me so lonesome with my only comfort being a bottle of tepid beer. Countless more drinks would follow. Alcohol being my only friend that made me feel better. It was a vicious cycle that devolved into increasing insanity despite the numerous medications.
There was a struggle this morning. A tussle. Tempers flared. Harsh words were said. Threats were made to cut off the Internet, take away my camera, and to withhold food and groceries from me. "Why do you want to hurt me? Why do you want me to feel bad?" I pleaded. I finally acquiesced and was driven down to my doctor's office to be injected with my anti-psychotic Risperdal. Thankfully, I feel no different after several hours. I feel the same. I was so concerned those terrible anxiety attacks would return as that medication coursed through my bloodstream -- an extremely potent dosage of 50 mg that is almost unheard of. So concerned I would digress back into that dull reality that had so plagued me.
My reality can be so harsh. That alone could drive a man mad. I must show gratitude for the things I have though. To be positive. To be a shining light in the darkness. To set an example for others like me who are mentally ill. Take your medications. Sit at home alone and quiet to not cause a family disturbance. Be the complacently medicated and mentally ill son -- a role I have to play to keep the peace.
There are harsher realities. Homelessness. Drunken downward spirals. Cancer. Death. It is so hard being positive amidst the constant crazy emotional onslaught from my family though. Positive, Andrew. Think positive. The day will be filled with joy despite a gloomy horizon. The human spirit can be so tenacious and unquenchable. I see that in myself today; drinking full from the cup of life. I am off to go and discover something new, vibrant, and interesting.