I feel guilt and shame, sick and tired of having to apologize to those in my personal life for having the symptoms of schizophrenia. My symptoms of losing cognition and increased paranoia are drastically exacerbating each and every day. Everyone in my life is losing me to this disease. I just don't care about a thing, anymore, and I have in fact lost all hope as I have said. I am just surviving, that is all. I have lost most of my interests and don’t do much anymore, just lying down to nap or sleep it off, only to awaken with the reminder that I still have schizophrenia. I’ve learned I am alone however other people share similar experiences and feelings; this helps when I feel completely isolated and like a failure. I’ve learned that depression lies. I’ve learned that when I’m not affected by my fucked-up brain chemistry, I can see that my brain is not to be trusted. I write to myself when I am having one of my better days. It is a reminder that I’ll be okay again soon. I am aware of the importance of appreciating the good and the joy when it comes. I let myself be sad when I need to be. I often create a mental boundary around my body when I feel overwhelmed by other people. I call the suicide hotline when things become too challenging. I reach out on the Internet because I can find friends to talk to or to inspire me who understand when I’m too afraid to pick up a phone. I ask a family member to help when I need extra supervision so as not to end my life though so often I would like to. I thank people who help save me, however far too often I am my hero. I hide in my closet in the fetal position with my two cats. I share what helps. I learn from others. I don’t want it to get any worse though it likely will. I just want to live.
-- Jonathan Harnisch
MENTAL HEALTH EMAIL FROM MY PERSPECTIVE TO MY COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPIST REGARDING SCHIZOPHRENIA, ETC.: I had fallen asleep by the time I received your text reply. I am not too clear on what I would want to discuss. Indeed the overall lack of control I have over my life/lifestyle, (i.e. my wife, etc.,) over every little thing. Not being allowed to close my blinds when I would like onto dispensing/often incorrectly dispensing what I ingest into my body (i.e. medication, drinks, etc.,). Evidently, complicated matters. Some I might need and some are helpful, perhaps it's my shame, rather my sense of self-worth takes a tumble. Aside from IPT (above) onto medical: My psychiatrist (I do feel I cannot work with her, she is unwilling to talk healing/medicine, just as my wife (and my father) will not discuss finances.) Further, if I had skin cancer on my back for months, I wonder why hasn't it been addressed. Meantime I have been relapsing (worries me) not necessarily just to get control back, but because I'm dispensed approximately two small drinks and then unlimited tap water, and I become thirsty since it is liquids in general not just water as the hospital said which needs restriction. I have been driving out to get energy drinks and sodas, for each early morning. I understand all of this is complicated and can bring me down to thinking my life is one massive delusion. Then I become my literature. Never the less, I have some ideas on Wall Street perhaps. Otherwise, I have been using my funds to promote my Facebook page and purchase for my wife mostly expensive presents, a couple of thousand dollars in the past week alone with budgeted things for me, some not. These are things I like to do. But at least, you have my notes here having thought about it some. Yesterday I indeed blocked my psychiatrist (and my wife) from contacting me (paranoia, control, etc.) Too often I just can't handle the interpersonal conflicts. Other things, too, but I would likely focus on the overall control issue at hand, perhaps it is something deeper going on than what lay on the surface, control. Been doing well since I woke up at midnight, alone, here. I wish it could be that way forever. Maybe we can set up something earlier by phone today, or I can just see you on Tuesday. I am here in general until early afternoon usually. There’s more, my inability to speak sensibly, my bouts of anger, which I try to suppress, even on Facebook, to others and myself defending oneself and not admitting when they might or might not be just wrong. Think everyone is both jealous of me, and need, and want and then take all they can get from me, emotionally and physically, and so forth. Does this help? Want to talk this morning or noon or so, if I can? Thank you.
I love inspirational quotes and sayings. Most are simply reminders of how we should live life. Of course, this is easier said than done, and I think that's why they seem to float around everywhere, from Facebook and Twitter to blogs.
No matter how challenging things are in life, keep going. Never give up or quit. There are no other realistic options. We are all pushed to our limits at times, and there may seem to be no way out, no reason to move on, and no solution to whatever it is that is causing us to go through hell. What remains is hope, faith, and belief, although hope, faith, and belief on their own often cannot fix the problems and challenges we all face as we journey through our life—but action will. Keep trying over and over again. Through action, we will likely, though not necessarily, find a solution. When you've tried everything you can, change your approach, your perspective, or your angle, and battle onward. Do whatever you can. Just don't stop. I think this is what is meant by the saying "If you're going through hell, keep going". Keep going, because if you hang in there long enough, ultimately, things can and often will change for the better.
When I was initially diagnosed with depression in 1994 at the age of 18, I was prescribed antidepressants, including the newest of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Unfortunately, the SSRIs triggered mania, and so, to combat this, I began to drink, which intensified my psychological instability and led to an addiction that I was finally able to overcome when I was 26. However, as difficult as the disorders have been, in many ways I have been blessed. Many call me a gifted artist, and I have frequently used my art to exorcise my demons of isolation and loneliness. In 1998, I dramatized these issues in my award-winning film Ten Years, which I wrote, produced, and directed while attending NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. In 2008, I once again dramatized the themes of isolation and loneliness in another award-winning film, On the Bus, which also explores the horrors and chaos of mental illness. Through the eyes of the main character, we see the uncontrollable, tumultuous symptoms of schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as brought on by a random act of violence.
However, a single act of violence rarely causes severe mental illness; current research indicates that mental illness is the result of a genetic predisposition combined with environmental factors. My case would seem to validate that research, as there is a history of mental illness in my family and I have suffered repeated trauma. Whatever the genesis, beginning in 2009 and culminating in the summer of 2010, I experienced a severe psychotic break that manifested in inappropriate violent outbursts and destructive behavior. Ultimately, however, this break brought me the help I needed, including a comprehensive psychological evaluation that provided me with an accurate diagnosis and the right medication.
Now psychologically stable, I invite others to witness my candid daily encounters with the symptoms of schizophrenia. I willingly and genuinely share my life through my literature, film productions, and iTunes podcasts. In the vein of prolific figures such as Elyn R. Saks, Kay Redfield Jamison, and liver Sacks. I illustrate my ongoing personal struggles with chronic mental illness, nurturing truth, acceptance, and community. My art, imagination, and various creative outlets are my catalyst for continuous resiliency and recovery. As I turn another engaging and uplifting page of my story, I hope to impact others positively through this publicized journey of how one individual copes with the perpetual whirlwind of schizophrenia and Tourette's syndrome.
The quote "If you're going through hell, keep going" is often attributed to Winston Churchill, though I have never come across any clear-cut citations. How can we apply this quote to mental illness and its associated stigma?
Let's cut to the chase and keep it simple: Don't give up. You are walking through what is or what seems like hell. Are you going to just sit there and suffer, or will you choose to keep going—to overcome? Take baby steps. If you're in a difficult situation, keep moving on to get out of it. Recall the quote: "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end." This means that you should not stop going until you get all the way through and, therefore, out! You're in a bad situation? Plunge forward. Things get better.
What if there is no way out? What if things don't get better? Maybe you’ve had a stroke. Maybe you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) or Alzheimer's, where there is no improvement, only deterioration. Are you a victim? Change your approach, your perspective, your angle. Consider how far the famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has come with ALS. Hold the course, and then things will get better. Life often gets worse before it can get better. Life can press your brake pedal. What is there to do? How are we to deal with it? Do you roll over and take what life throws at you, crying poor me? Do you stand up to life without fear?
Are you worrying that it's not going to be easy? Nothing worthwhile is. It's how you deal with things and overcome what life throws at you that matters; it's about finding your worth, who you are, and your place in the world—what you give to the world and what the world gives to you. There is joy and sorrow. It is about learning about life and how we deal with it. It means that if things are really bad and life seems hellish, you don't give up and stop trying. Keep battling on until things improve.
If you think about it, life itself means "Don't give up." You walk through what at times is or seems like hell. "Just sit there," says that voice in your head, that imp, "and suffer." I suggest you fight intrusive, self-sabotaging thinking. Keep going through it to get through it. When I find myself in a difficult situation, I do my best, as gently as I can, to keep moving forward. I may never get out of schizophrenia—rather, schizophrenia may never, in my lifetime, get out of me. I keep hope and faith alive. I always do my best, and sometimes I miss the mark completely, over and over again.
So many quotes and famous sayings from Henry Ford come to mind. I invite you to ponder this quote, although it might not seem relevant to my thesis in this essay: "My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me." Make schizophrenia or your mental health condition your friend. Befriend yourself, trust the universe, and allow the universe to trust you. Trust in your higher power or God, if you have one, or just the reasonable part of you, your core when the mental illness is stripped away. Be who you are. Make mistakes. Dance. Love. Dislike. Judge or be judged. We are all here just trying our best to get by, playing it by ear. Life is in real time. There is no dress rehearsal. Part of the reason I prefer writing over communicating verbally is that I can later rehearse my writing by editing while also following my number one rule of writing first drafts, which I often publish, without any censor.
I often describe my experience with schizophrenia as every neuron in my brain misfiring. It sounds devastating. It is devastating. But if and when I am able to change my angle and perspective on suffering, I find that I struggle but I don't suffer. And I keep going. Hell? Hell no!
Maybe you have schizophrenia dominating your life as I do. Maybe you have a mental illness or physical ailment. Or maybe you're a "normie," an average person living life diagnosis-free. We all have our issues. To quote one of my books, "We all have problems, but let's not kid ourselves: it's how we deal with them that makes the difference." I consider myself a still-recovering schizophrenic, an accomplished writer, producer, and musician who blogs and podcasts about mental illness, New Age ideas, and transgressive literature.
In closing, be kind to yourself and others. Everyone is fighting their own battles and many unspoken secret wars. I am grateful that my readers sometimes consider me one of those voices that is able to communicate what far too many cannot.
Keep on keeping on.
Jonathan Harnisch, The Brutal Truth
I am terrified of my early onset schizophrenia that is a serious, chronic mental illness that causes delusional or hallucinogenic thoughts. The primary symptom of the rare blood disease I have diagnosed in December 2015 (I can never remember the name) is the same for the symptoms mentions above for schizophrenia. I feel like iii am losing my mind. It is terrifying. The negative process of thinking, behavior and confusion have been elevated beyond belief. I just can't think straight for thy life off me, and I have been sleeping fine, diet is OK, and I am taking my medication as prescribed. I believe my doctors, family and caregivers are plotting to institutionalize me. If any of you experience the same, please know you are not the only one. Also, I celebrate 13 years clean and sober later this week. …Nausea, dizziness, memory problems, confusion, and more. MRI is soon regarding the brain tumor. I just want to live. I just want to live! Have a good evening. I will catch up on your hundreds off comments another time. I hope you can forgive me for being behind. I am trying to juggle too many balls at once, and I just can't think straight or remember anything. My entire medical team is on high alert, so I do have help and support no matter where my thinking goes as far as posting online in the future, paranoid of those who are here to help. They apparently are. This is the hugest battle I had ever fought. Wise than quitting, well, the worst "junk" out there, years and year ago. My life has not turned out where I had ever thought. I am completely trapped. My mood then changes. Mozart music, in particular, his noted Serenade in B-flat, K. 361 "Gran partita": III. Adagio. Thank you. And welcome new followers. You happened to catch me at an awkward time, on a bit of a detour if you will. I don't know. My cognitive abilities are declining, seemingly by the minute. My experiences have become so frightening I can't even begin to tell you; I just want to live and be free of all of this. But I am not out of the woods yet.
Good morning everyone. Hello to all my friends around the world! Have a magnificent day! Just do your best in all you do, even if you fall short!
No matter how you feel get up dress up and show up and never give up.
When I can, though all the good and bad times, through thick and thin, I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me or think of me and say "Because of you, I did not give up..." I don't give up!
If your big dream scares the shit out of you, you're really onto something. In fact, it's your crystal ball answer to the question of "should I do this?" Live a kick ass life. You deserve it!
Living with schizophrenia and therefore with a brain that doesn't work from time to time my life can become difficult, but I keep moving ahead, as always, knowing I am a good person and that I am worth it.
Just breathe... in every moment we begin again.
Considering I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, diabetes, anxiety and depression, a rare blood disease, dyslexia, and cancer, I am doing okay. At the end of the storm, there's always a golden sky.
We have to fight some bad days to earn the best days of our lives.
If you or a loved one has schizophrenia do not let it have you fight your fucking hardest and give it your all and everything to fight the war with your own mind and never ever give up doing your damnedest to live the life that you want to live no matter what again do you not ever fucking give up no matter what your mental health diagnosis is or whether you are just dealing with the fucked up mess of life. In the meantime if you are having a good day you better fucking appreciate it because those are extremely rare for people like me diagnosed with severe mental and terminal physical illness. PS the door here is always open for you to come and go as you please just do not as they say block the doorway and take up space. Love me or hate me. That's up to you. Believe in yourself and always keep the hope and faith alive no matter what!
Schizophrenia is a complex illness. Mental health experts are not sure what causes it. Genes may play a role.
Never give up! Keep on fighting. Don't let your demons beat you.
I will have 13 years drugs and alcohol-free on Friday. I will have one month (30 days) off cigarettes on Saturday. My 40th birthday is on Sunday. Aside from that my apologies for bringing up something or anything uninspiring but I have to vent for a second. One of my bank accounts and my PayPal accounts compromised three days ago. I have no help. I don't want help, feeling ignored by everyone in my real and personal life as the scapegoat. I have done all l am able. Lost $6,000 so far. It brings up severe PTSD symptoms. I feel stuck. It is complicated because the account isn’t under my name. Again, as anything with me and my mental illnesses are, “it’s complicated,” my doctor proclaims. Where is my wife? My life? My mind? Schizophrenic. Where is my family? For crying out loud, and so I locked myself in my office again for the day, cancelling all appointments. I don't like days like this. But they all pass. ?
Welcome everybody, to Wonderland, effing Wonderland at times. I am feeling a bit better and stronger now. Following is some writing therapy I did earlier today, unedited. I feel so indebted to all of you, even to those who leave this Facebook page. Many of you have written suggesting that I may perhaps appear to be exhausted and in need of relaxation rest and some time off. I plan on doing so whether or not I end up succeeding in taking time off to face the universe, literally, and devastatingly alone. I look into the mirror every day lately, and I see a complete sleepless and lost stranger in myself, and others in my "real" inter-personal life and conventionally accepted life itself. I've been battling severe comorbid schizophrenia and related psychotic and dissociative mental health conditions for most of my life now as well as otherwise "normal" life issues and so forth. I feel that it might be time for me to submit perhaps surrender and allow my mental and physical health conditions to take over my life experiences, permitting me to live a great deal more if not fully in my otherwise delusional and hallucinatory landscape in the world where I am most familiar and comfortable. Thank you for understanding, if you do. Overall, I am exhausted and need some time off. Thank you, everybody, I feel much better having written out these feelings, otherwise feeling abandoned in the overall enterprise at the same time neglected and abused controlled cornered trapped and stuck. Need time to think and work on some art projects. Want to get cut off from the world. Just want to be alone for a bit. This morning I have an important medical appointment for some blood conditions I endured over the last couple years but still surviving, I'd rather not go into detail about it. It's just scary. I am trying to hold onto the saying that most things we worry about don't happen, in other words, to hear bad news. I've done all I can since the last doctor's visit for the problem. I'll just say that it is potentially life threatening. But... I will end it there. It's just a bit scary, so I am cutting up some random and old film stock here in my production office for the time being to bring back memories from when I began shooting film on Super 8 and some early video, documenting my life. Feels nostalgic to see some of the footage after 20, 30 years. Sometimes I just miss certain parts of times past. But I'll be around. Just so happy I went in and on my own, for the first time in public otherwise overwhelmed by all the people and lights at the Apple Store to finally get my main computer fixed after months and months using an iPhone as my desktop. It's a strange experience knowing I have a likelihood of 5 or so years left to live. Makes you think, and cry. But I look at the world in a whole different way, just in case, you know? But I am not upset about it. I don't know quite why. I invited my father out to visit the other day, as well. We've been estranged since 2010. I am also giving away some of my expensive gadgets and things, like my top of the line 3D TV, to some of the staff here on my compound. I don't need them. I like them, but I've worked hard this year and actually made enough money on my own, and not even as much from book sales, and film and TV checks from my film distributor, but from Wall Street, my primary career, technically as a hedge fund manager, like my father, just on a smaller scale, of course. I don’t know. I feel like all I am doing is making up things to get sympathy. I do not like that about myself, not one bit. Sometimes you have to be your own hero. Schizophrenia is a devastating illness that affects approximately 1% of the population. Its primary impact is on thought, and its cardinal symptom is psychotic thinking in affecting individuals. Besides, however, it can affect many aspects of cortical function. Although great strides have occurred in treating this disorder, it remains one of the most debilitating of psychiatric disorders. And here I am, living with a terminal illness as I am diagnosed with something new every year, for the past 40 years, from birth; I was a still born. I feel like Stephen Hawking smile emoticon Surviving schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, Tourette's syndrome, diabetes, anxiety and depression, a rare blood disease, dyslexia, and cancer…. I will be following up with an MRI for a cyst in the pituitary gland in my brain. I am a survivor. I am my own hero. I have lived this long and as I am with achievement and failure all the while in an overarching cognitive decline. Losing my mind, with schizophrenia is difficult, but losing awareness makes it wiser I must admit. If you know somebody, please pick up the phone and call him or her, or sent a text message and just see how they are without any expectations or attempt to fix him or her. Trust me it may make a difference no matter how it goes, and it might not even seem as such, but it might make a huge difference. I speak from experience. I wish I could write more, but my fingers cramped from the side effects of all the antipsychotic medication. It began in 1988. I was 12. 80mg Haldol. My life changed ever since. This is life. This is my life. Right now. It's my perspective. The only perspective I know, real or unreal. The 6 knock-out vitamins, 2 per hour helped me sleep longer and the Rockstars, despite my blood condition and it being affected by excess of liquids and then the diabetes insipidus, and so forth, I am just doing what I want to do, I mean I can't even have more than glass of water a day or else I end up back again in the emergency room, it's a silly disease, real, yes, but worth the diet of basically no liquids? No. Not now. One thing at a time, and my hands and fingers, my limbs are so tense and cramped from the Thorazine I am on; it is hard but I always, always come through to the light. My own work is all helping as well, the liquids, sipping them as I have been since 6:30 AM, and so forth as I said, I am just having some trouble sequencing my thoughts; putting a hold on my next novel until I can shy away from the avant-garde heavy duty, or difficult reading… Blah. Blip, Bam, and boom. Can I kick it? Yes, sure I can, I am kicking butt. As far as the Pay Pal and Wells Fargo matter? I have decided to close the account at WF today, at the branch, just down the street, I'll walk. It's fine. No one is here, to help, again, Jonathan is the "billionaire schizophrenic," bull. Sociopaths run my life. That is my perspective, my point of view. It is real to me. I don't need paychecks from Peconic Partners, my father's firm, nor from my art and moreover my bestselling books. My father controls my other trust accounts in any case. I don't know. Blah… The cognitive decline is not funny and my father in January? Another misunderstanding, now he said he is NOT coming out BECAUSE I asked him not to when I said DO come out, That is schizophrenia. In any event, I feel estranged from my wife. But as I began this I am feeling better and stronger now. Maybe I will take a shower soon. I am trying to drain my Wells Fargo account so that the Pay Pal hacker will not be able to pay for the thing she is. P.S. I own quite a bit of Pay Pal stock on Wall Street. I am selling all of it today, I laugh at my love for the company itself, or their common stock, as an investment, but I've never trusted Pay Pal nor eBay, and I have never used either in my life.
Success in life comes when you refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure and loss only act as motivation.
While one depressed person may experience feelings of sadness. I had a lot to give to this world especially when I was feeling great, and always hoped and prayed that one morning I could wake up, and all of the distress would be over, but was too hard, for too long. I can't do it. And so, I am sad to report that I have slept on this several times, and I have given up at last. I have lost all hope.
Life is hard. Healing hurts. Moving forward is terrifying for many people.
Have a good day. You are amazing. Remember that. If you have the power to make someone happy, please do it. The world needs more of that.