I'm a tad obsessive compulsive (so is my brother and sister). Throw in a little paranoia. Add a mix of delusion. Yes, I have all of these, but I am coming to the conclusion that I am not schizophrenic, or schizo-affective as my doctor likes to label me. I was just a drunk whose excessive drinking exacerbated these symptoms. I drank extremely heavily for most of my adult life. I was talking to my father and his friend, Charlie, about this last night.
"I don't think I am truly mentally ill," I told them. "I was just an alcoholic."
"Yes, you are," my father said, rolling his eyes. "You are crazy."
Charlie just sighed. "Here we go again," he muttered under his breath.
"Why do you all want me to be mentally ill?" I asked, confused. "I would think you all would be happy if it was just my excessive drinking that caused all my problems."
"Just like a diabetic, you have to take medications for your problem," Dad said, crossing his arms defensively as he sat back in my lazy boy.
Whatever my problem is, my mind feverishly thought.
"Since I've gotten sober, I am and feel so much better, though."
"It is because I am making you take your medications," Dad replied with a scoff.
I took the pills my father gave to me. Charlie walked out to his car to bring in a beautiful new blanket he had bought for the bed in my computer room. I was overjoyed to get it. He had washed it and dried it, and I slung it over the bed and tucked it in, carefully replacing the pillows in a pleasing fashion. The blanket was so soft it felt like silk.
They finally left after my father was certain my many pills had dissolved in my stomach. I balled up on the couch thinking long and hard with Maggie at my feet. Once labeled mentally ill, then you are always considered mentally ill I mused. There is no cure. No panacea for what ails you. It is always a curse and burden to carry like Atlas carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. You have to be a pretty good actor to live up to the role you must play in my family as well. If I suddenly become independent and of a well mind, then it would upset the careful equilibrium we have established with me within my family. Lords knows it would be a travesty for me to have any independent thought and feelings not colored by my label, mental illness. I felt like some modern day Frankenstein -- a monster to be coddled and feared. Kept in this glass house, fearing to throw a rock of dissension and freedom to escape. The fear of those glass shards cascading down around me from my broken reality was enough to make me go to sleep tired and believing again that I was mentally ill. I give up. I am tired of fighting. I am a quitter. Call me crazy if you will.