The Day I Decided to Take Charge of My Life
I remember very clearly the day I decided to take charge of my own life. A huge dose of self-acceptance is where it began.
My editor and I have discussed further writings of fiction, yet I’ll just begin here—as I call it “off the cuff”—I cannot afford to start my day with the broken pieces of yesterday. Every morning I wake up is the first day of my life. I never give up because the best way to succeed is to always just give it one more try. Healing is the journey. The destination is myself. The full recognition of all the different aspects of myself: my joy, my sorrow, my pain, my pleasure, all lead me to the source of which I am. Only by having intimate contact with this source can I experience the fullness of this, my life; only by fearlessly looking within can I embrace the landscape of my life and open myself completely to all the love and compassion that lives inside me. I let my joy, my sorrow, my pain, and my pleasure say and do what they want, while I just keep being myself.
I do, I remember very clearly the day I decided to take charge of my own life. Again, a huge dose of self-acceptance is where it began. To stop hating myself, and others, for all that they and I are not, and thus to start to love myself for all that I am and can see in others, too. Never ceasing to amaze. I’ve got to give myself some self-love and acknowledgement. Without my alter egos I couldn’t be who I am, though they’re fictional characters in my Alibiography.
It’s been dubbed “brilliant” and it’s been disliked, but once again I am by far—on a very personal note with rampant voices, hallucinations, and possibly delusions—I am my own hero, again and again. I alone, all alone, give myself 100% credit for getting through this day—more resilient, though as selfishly as possible—only to come back and, upon returning, I’ll deliver more inspirational discourse.
I didn’t take my own life—I gained it. I am proud of that more than I might even otherwise believe myself. As for the others who continue mocking me publicly, I can take it, hard as it is. It makes my decision to pen name a great deal of my work and art much more a wise decision. Again, I let them say and do what they want and I just keep being me, I remind myself. And just now in my inbox: “Thank you for your enormous and massively influential contributions in crusading against stigma, disability abuse, and all for better mental health services worldwide!”
While in a bad mood with yet another suicide in the family last night, missing mail, money, Internet and microphone cables, a broken iPhone (to call my doctor), and a broken swimming pool, waterslide and spa, I’ve been feeling ignored, blamed and helpless. My goal is to stay as positive as possible. It’s been a while since any such livid frustration has surfaced. I’ll be seeing my CBT doctor this afternoon, and a massage follows later in the evening. I enjoy my days the best I can—they aren’t all that bad, come to think of it, it’s just “life stuff.” Sometimes venting is healthy (I believe so, right now, though it’s just a temporary attachment to my own drama catching up with me. All others can ignore it by choice—for me, myself, just writing it out publicly can help me, at least, feel better.)
We all seem to want one another’s life at times. PTSD flashbacks have been extremely rampant this past week, voices, hallucinations, as well—a lot of interpersonal family matters. I am not alone—not really at least. And I am still the “King of Mental Health,” so God bless all these maladies and my mere $20 US (€60 Euro) check for international airtime for two made-for-TV movies, On the Bus and Wax.
I must say, just sitting here to let it all go mentally—none of it really matters—the losses, etc. Feelings come and go. And my two-year, fiction serial-novel series is in the works, so heck yeah! Under pen name and all royalties to charity, to avoid any expectations or disappointments (money and credit, mainly a pattern I’m fixing the best way I know how). We win or lose the biggest battles in life within our own minds. The best days of my life are the ones on which I decide my life is my own without apologies or excuses. Biscuit back it, rabbit, and flap it. It’s time to start talking about mental illness, to raise awareness and erase stigma.
How simple it is to see that we can only be happy now, and that there will never be a time when it is not now. Would I trade my comorbid schizoaffective spectrum condition? No way. Never. Too many gifts come along with it. When “normies” banter and talk, I laugh to myself on a whole other wavelength. Sometimes schizophrenia sucks but other times it is the most fascinating “reality.” It keeps me on my mental toes full time. Right now in this moment, I love it! With schizophrenia alone, my severe Tourette’s syndrome (only now that I’m a strong and healthy adult, I must add) is entirely secondary. Thank God!
The best part of my schizoaffective spectrum syndrome is the autism other than that hypomania. Combined, the two might someday result with my “John Nash moment”—a Nobel Prize. My own take on “when we, as human beings altogether, as in a group—we question whether or not we might be going ‘crazy,’” made the wrong choice on a large or small scale, made decisions that didn’t pan out, feeling lost, confused or that our lives are falling apart right in front of us. We question our realities; we get shaken up as humans—not sick people, not crazy people. We learn life lessons, by taking the easy way or the hard way, and yet we will usually learn through rewards more effectively than through pain and suffering, no matter what. It’s just the way it is. We either create crises that bring us to a bottom of sorts and, once we realize we’ve made ourselves complicit in our own unhappiness, our lives then change for the better.
I can only grow from the inside out. Nobody can teach me or make me grow, only my own self is capable. I simply decide that it’s more realistic and invaluable to move on, by starting anew or just changing myself for the better. I reward myself, and, once again, I choose to make today the best day of my life! Looking at life through a child’s eyes, through innocence, so that I can see and find a whole new way of what is really going on.
Are we crazy? Are we all crazy? Or are we just people doing the best we can, our “making mistakes” being proof of this? I think that human nature is, in fact inherently good. We are all good souls, all of us, even if only deep down inside. Again that’s just my take on that.
And so, yes, I am schizophrenic, which is to say that I suffer from schizophrenia, also known as “split-mind disease.” Even though this label has caused a lot of confusion with multiple personality disorder, which is not the same thing, the symptoms are common.
What’s more, you won’t find two schizophrenics who are alike. This illness affects us all differently. As far as I can tell, I’m a schizophrenic with paranoid tendencies and extreme social anxiety. Author Sylvia Plath described the mental chaos as existing within the eye of the tornado—I’m referring to her quote: “I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.” This is my interpretation of Plath’s ultimate meaning as for any such mental chaos, perhaps with some typical stream of consciousness, for example, “I try something I normally wouldn’t do—I end surprising myself and find something that I might even enjoy and never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” Now that’s my style as The Wizard King of Non-Sequiturs.
In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow my own inner volcanic anger pouring all of my energy into something positive. And for me to be kind is more important than to be right. Many times, what I need is not another brilliant mind that speaks, but a special heart that listens. I release any feelings of self-rejection. I let this all wash over me again and again. I am openhearted, kind and compassionate. My self-esteem is strong. I love and respect myself. I release any feelings of self-rejection. I feel emotionally centered and balanced.
Normal people simply and completely baffle me. What’s with all the body language, social cues, pettiness, and the looking in the eyes when we speak from our mouths? I’m pretty sure “normal” people are equally baffled, but better at faking it. Primeval latent core emotions volcano to the surface with centeredness; tears and elation made visible via the one-hour therapy session: priceless.
My therapist encouraged me to talk about my thoughts and feelings and what’s troubling me. I was not worried. It was not hard to open up about my feelings. I have trusted my cognitive behavioral therapist for years now. We talk about daily life, challenging traumatic issues, and music, all boiling down to mindfulness and problem-solving, often working simultaneously. My CBT therapist often helps me gain more confidence and comfort in general. And some days we reach a point where we really dig deep through expression of fears and inherent emotional conditioning—for example, when asked, “How would I have preferred, realistically for [such-and-such] to have happened instead?”
And while my private life is my private life, I just had such a breakthrough the other day. I visualize the root of any breakthrough squirming and growing through the dirt, which was what had been brought to the surface. My therapist and I can only Q&A more and use today’s breakthrough to enhance my quality of life in so many more areas. It was like I was an infant being parented by this infant’s adult self (parent) letting the little boy in me know that this is what this means, that is what that means, and you are loved. “You have yourself; you have and are loved by me.”
My therapist was only bearing witness, and prompting, encouraging, and allowing me to feel safe as the little child in me learned, for example, that the raising of a hand does not mean “I love you.” In fact, the raising of the hand with a whack is wrong and I’d be better at raising my hand with a whack as I scoff at the idea. “You always have me—your own inner parent-self.”
My greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. So onward, I scribble in haste from this heart, perhaps partly astray today. So be it. Albeit. When I might say I want to do something, I’m likely intending to imply that I might like to do something that is easy and convenient—that doesn’t require effort or time. When I want to do something, I might rarely say it aloud, in fear of others potentially attempting to stop me, ridicule me, or simply criticize. I try to consider why I might project that other people might want to, or literally attempt to, make such an effort in stopping me. What effect might this be having upon my own need to succeed?
It’s when I achieve things, large or small, it often and ironically appears to result as a reminder to others that they have not done as I have done. After all, setting and achieving goals for results would require effort on their ends as well. I’m not crazy. I’m just creatively insane! I take chances. I often tell the truth. I don’t say no. I do allow myself to get to know random strangers. I tell people I love him or her. I sing and chant and rap—clap-bing-snap—at the top of my lungs and beating into yours perhaps. I cry often. I apologize when I can. I try to tell others what I really think about him or her. I often miss the mark completely. I admit it, all—all that I can.
I have befriended and dated the “wrong” people, but for the most part, I’ve learned from them how to better myself. I almost got divorced once. I’ve messed up big time and many times. I’ve made huge mistakes. I’ve learned from them. I’ve been grateful overall. I’ve won, lost and I regret none of it.
I also believe my best of friends are those who have a conversation with me that nobody else in the world could ever understand. While we’re going to lose some people in order to find ourselves, unfortunately and with immense fortune—this does not include my best friends, and my audience—we’re all included. . . And not that I’m leaving anybody at this time, only gaining more people, friends, and the like—the most painful goodbyes are the ones that are left unsaid and never explained. And sometimes, when you’ve got to go, you’ve just got to go.
When someone calls me a crazy freak, I just thank him or her. Nothing throws people off like a proud, polite, crazy freak. Randomly enough, as for change—moods, mania, and madness—the real spot-on secret of my real-deal change is to focus all my energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. As referenced in “Shoes without Heals” by Elvis Costello, I add, the opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness. It’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy. It’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death. It’s indifference.
I value myself for separating ability from inability with the often unspeakable daily hallucinations, voices, paranoia, and trauma that schizophrenia presents. My heart belongs to everybody and every part of me. Sometimes, I want to play hide and seek, just to hear somebody say, “I found you.” There is something about being loved and protected by a parent (or guardian), knowing that I can be loved for who I am, not what I can do, or might one day become.
Unfortunately, it’s not usually like this in every single situation. From time to time, my parents made mistakes during my childhood. Possibly, I was the mistake, or unwanted. But I don’t know. I had every material thing that I could have ever wanted, but there was still something missing, as if I felt distanced from my parents, or misunderstood, in the ways that they treated me. At times, I had felt completely loved and accepted by my parents, but for one reason or another, they were unable to care for me, provide for me in some ways that would have been very important.
Sometimes I feel like I am trying to make up for the experiences in life that were absent when I was a child. I am . . . blessed nonetheless that it might be hatred that I’m feeling towards me, not necessarily indifference, for indifference is not even a feeling; indifference is nothing. Life can get hard. My conditions [Schizophrenia, PTSD, Personality Disorder—NOS (not otherwise specified), and, of course, my Tourette’s syndrome] certainly enhance feelings, even if the feeling might be numbness.
But, I am . . . confident that I am real. I believe that I love, and I have real human feelings. I’m simply expressing my feelings. I know that I am often a very bad person a lot of times, perhaps most times. There is so much about me that I have done wrong—hurtful attacks, etc.—pure evil. I wouldn’t even know where to begin—and I also don’t care. Even still, I have skeletons in my closet. Time will uncloset them, I hope. I do believe I am a good person underneath it all, and a beautiful creature who happens to be a very troubled and deeply disturbed adult with an especially wounded inner child and a past full of war-like trauma, which to this day causes me to still be that sad, angry, brutal, and malicious person—I have heard it from so many people, too.
Anyone who knows me knows about the unending series of relationships that, because of me—having schizophrenia with bipolar, or not—have ended, on particularly bad notes. I only have so many issues I am literally able to take on at once, and I believe that I do exceptionally well as I work on myself, through therapy, and personal mediations, education, even speaking with the voices I hear due to the schizophrenia—both the voices of paranoia and the angelic spirit guides who I see and interact with on a daily basis.
Yes, I am literally “crazy.” Schizophrenia and post-traumatic—even “presently-traumatic”—stress disorder have shaped a lot of my life, and yet, I still make my own choices. All this while I still, every day. . . [Thought trails off. . .]
If I would like Him to “know” anything about me, I so often ask God to bring me back to Baby Jesus—I want Baby Jesus to relieve the chaos, the feeling of being completely trapped in my home, in my mind, in therapy, in public, in private—I want it to end so much. I can’t tell you how much. But suicide is not an option. Recovery and hope are the only options.
There’s good and evil in everyone, so to speak—what I call the Angel Demon Human Dichotomy (ADHD!) I believe that I have “signed up” for all of this—all of it—for me to have, to deal with. And hopefully overcome, on my own, on my own accord—in this lifetime, and to make my next incarnation better. On that topic, I believe that I am actually the future life (reincarnation) of my father’s father, my grandfather who did have schizophrenia—diagnosed in a hospital in New York—and who ended up taking his own life. I think he chose to live, but it was just a second too late. I have, in deep meditation, experienced his life, his feeling trapped, his unspeakable strange occurrences in his mind, and his self-doubt.
I do choose to post on the Net the positive things I do, the quotes, the motivational and inspirational material, along with my transgressions, even when Satan is looking over my shoulder. It’s completely real for me, likely due to the symptoms of schizophrenia—yet maybe not, say some of the latest medical studies and reports. I do not write the positivity I do because my life is necessarily at peace, but often, I will post a positive quote because I believe in it, but more because I want that to manifest positivity in my life when it is lacking it.
The full spectrum of “me” is an extremely complicated one. I am just about 100% sure that I have forgiven my father, but more myself. I need to, and I need to feel, believe and think it, to live it. There is no cure for my condition—not yet—only treatment. The difference between the two is tremendous. I also have a baker’s dozen other diagnoses as well. I have to pick and choose which to work on, which to heal, and which to let go. Paranoid, Paranoid, Paranoid. Delusional.
My experiences aren’t real, but I can’t tell. I just want to be loved for who I am, to restore the honor and protection—safety—I perhaps should have had as a little boy, but was unable to have because of natural circumstances, which on a soul level, all these absences I have chosen. All of us are different in many ways; from the clothes we wear, to our beliefs, values, needs, and wants.
I have recently taken on some healing-my-inner-child work. Who knows what’s next? My father and I have always had a dysfunctional relationship, and for the most part, no relationship at all. Yet, my father is in full control of every single aspect of my life, legally—everything. The document is what I’m referring to. It basically forced me to take a vow of poverty and submission. I had no choice but to redefine my values and what things were and are really important to me. I hope to publicly disclose the living will or “trust” document at some point. It’s something that nobody in his or her right mind would have signed, and yet I did not sign it. I was not in New York anytime around the time and place of my “signature” stamp. I have proof of this—phone records, e-mails, IP addresses, security camera footage, and doctor’s notes as to where I was—in California at my doctor’s office. A Notary Public also signed the document, yet [thoughts trail off . . .]
I believe with money comes power. And this includes such power as power over the courts, and even politics. Not millions of dollars, but billions. I’m referring to Bill Gates’ kind of money and thus power and control.
There is so much I would like to say to my father and, at the same time, nothing at all. A numb feeling takes over when it comes to the thought of my father, which one might think would be very sad, unfortunate, and tragic but, again, it’s no longer anger, but the numb, apathetic, uninterested, immobilized, and, if anything, callous feelings that come up. Having to accept my fate, our fates, and all the further loss, hurt, and consequences that are bound to come, by law, which will affect a large part of the world, as my father and my family are exceptionally well-known and influential public figures. They have made many seriously profound impressions and contributions through global philanthropy, for example. I have read Martha Stout’s The Sociopath Next Door, among countless other books in order to learn some answers to “Why?” Why do my father and my family behave so mysteriously manipulating and crafty? Bordering on diabolical.
At first, it was very difficult for me to accept that my father might have, as Martha Stout calls, “no conscience.” Yet, I was more relieved to see that this was actually a common character type. I was able to get a glimpse, just a glimpse, into the sociopath’s mind, perhaps. If you were the father of a little boy, I would believe there’s a good chance that right now, you are enjoying a very close connection with your son. He probably idolizes everything you do—dressing up in your clothes, imitating the way you read the paper or the way you stand when you talk. He tries to do everything you do and works hard to make sure he has your attention and your approval. You can see in your little boy’s eyes that he is utterly convinced that you are without a doubt the ultimate man in the world . . . .
Ah. So often, I truly hate my life and who I am. I hardly trust a soul these days. Living in a perpetual state of fear and distrust—a living [fill in the blank] because I can no longer write any more at least for now. In tears for the last hour or so because of the hurt this writing causes me. Take me. Love. And, oh hell, I can write more before my doctor’s appointment in 30 minutes . . . if I do at all.
There’s a ton inside—transgressions, even jokes, and regarding any further transgressions, I always revert back to well, screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke. You are not me. I am. And I am that—purposely being vague, rather I am . . . the transgressor. Blam! I know that I already have not just one, but many individuals who are 100% on my side. I have that. I know it, yet I still want it. It’s as if I feel like I don’t have what I know I have. This is the feeling I get. It’s almost metaphorical in that I either can’t see what I have or just, as they say, “Can’t be happy with what I already have.” But I am happy with everything that I have. Yet, I seem to still long for what I already have. This kind of idea is baffling. It’s baffling me, and might seem baffling, almost paradoxical, to others.
I wonder if others feel this way. The same goes for having people on my side—I have that. I’m thinking the effects of this schizophrenia are causing this distorted view—basically the view that the good that I have might not really be good. It is good. And everything is certainly “good enough,” too.
So what could this sort of schizophrenic mind trick be all about? My wife, for example, she loves me unconditionally and is 100% on my side. I seem and feel like I know this, but I still want it. Not more of it. I just want it, crave it—it’s like I still want what I already have. I’m not trying to belittle, attack, or accuse anybody. I simply wonder how to cope with this kind of mind play when it occurs. Others, my wife and support team, do take how I perceive things—through my “lens”—both the good and the bad into foremost view and do respond to my needs what I want and not simply what I might want out of petty desire. Yet, I still want that. And the feeling causes me both angst and confusion—perhaps powerlessness, too. So I ask, “What is it that I’m missing or not getting here?” The “Schizophrenic Lens” can be so distorting and literally not make sense—at all.
I deserve to be heard, for one thing. Not just seen. And I have that. Other people do see and hear me, and so many fully consider all my limitations as well as my strengths and give me the benefit of the doubt when they can. Some do not, but that’s just life. I don’t give up. I am not giving up. I’m invested in this—though lately, I’ve been in that mind-set where I believe that even though the schizophrenia and the more negative impact it has had on my life and perceptions with reality—and there are many examples, most of my perceptions are common, from grief, to loss, and the list goes on.
But especially when things—especially in my own head, whether I realize it or not—are more symptomatic and not real, I think to myself, “I just want to move to the English countryside and start my life over again, altogether.” You know? But I push through. If I would follow that impulse of moving away, literally, and restart everything, that would turn out to be the most devastating thing I could do. I have all that I need and want right now.
The distortion that the “lens” of schizophrenia causes, I can further illustrate, especially when under more than usual stress levels, and all of my senses become heightened, to frightening levels. The other day, my room temperature was not heating higher than 70. The thermostat read 70—not 75, as I had set it—for 24 hours. What I saw was the digital number “70” on the thermostat, where my wife—and again, I’m not arguing, blaming, or complaining—said (as I hear from others as well) that I “imagined” that. I saw 70 while my wife saw 75 on the same exact thermostat at the same exact time. I’m not “joking around” by mentioning this obvious delusion—which I fully acknowledge as such—it messes incredibly so with my already schizophrenic mind, or “lens.” I know that I have Sz (schizophrenia) and I trusted my wife’s perspective more than my own. But just with that little day-to-day example, am I even able to grasp the kind of impact that such a thing has on me?
Then the spiraling down from there would consist of my questioning—in complete isolation—if all individual things in my life and experiences—my friends, even my own name—to question if such things are real or not, and knowing that I could never know the answers, except by hearing it—again, perhaps through the veil of delusion—from people I trust, then trusting if the answer or they are real or if they might have said, “Yes,” yet through my lens, I might hear, “No.”
It’s coming to get me; the voices of paranoia: the word is there, no doubt, in the dictionary. But not the feeling. Derived from ancient Greek, “paranoia” originally referred to a distracted mind. But distracted from what? The definition claims the distraction is caused by false beliefs that someone is persecuting me, or me. But if I am afflicted with paranoia, we know, wholeheartedly, that these are not delusions. People are harassing and persecuting us. Who the hell are they? Why the hell are they following us? What the hell do they want? We have become the target of a vast conspiracy stretching on invisible webs across the surface of the planet. It lives in the telephone wires, the cell towers, in the papers and even online, perhaps even inside the dictionary itself. It spills out of radios and these days, on my iPod . . . the damn TV, too. It nests in the hearts and minds of my family, friends, and loved ones. And it’s coming to get me.
There might be many reasons why they chose me, and why they chose you. But we were or are in fact chosen, you know? People are jealous of us. After all, we’re smarter than they are. They’re after our brilliant knowledge, my money, my ideas, my things, my mind, all our stuff, and so on. According to the dictionary, many of us paranoiacs have “feelings of grandiosity and omnipotence.” But no book really understands, yet there are some excellent ones out there, including Understanding Paranoia: A Guide for Professionals, Families, and Sufferers by Martin Something-or-Other, Delusional Disorder: Paranoia and Related Illnesses by Alistair Monroe and Whispers: The Voices of Paranoia by Ronald Siegel [the latter from which I’ve paraphrased slightly the first page, adding my own take, given my own voices and current experiences with this diabolical perplexity. For 6 bucks, new, it’s a steal.].
You and I really do possess remarkable talents as mathematicians like “The Great John Nash!” Inventors [that would be me], prophets [you?] . . . . That’s why we are all so attractive and so inspired, so envied. There is nothing in life that we cannot accomplish. I haven’t slept in two days and I currently fear a complete psychotic break from reality due to my own thriller-movie-style conspiracy of which I am, of course, the victim. This is no freaking joke. At this point, I am aware that my beliefs are “only the schizophrenia” but for damn sure the truth is frightening as all hell. Stuck. Trapped. No way out. But got to keep running and playing along. In code. Like an FBI agent. Like John Nash’s character as portrayed in A Beautiful Mind by Akiva Goldsman.
My goal: to attain an ounce, a moment of seemingly impossible peace of mind, through complete honesty, self-love, acceptance, and self-forgiveness, and by any means necessary. I think we often stumble through life trying to force miracles, when there are miracles happening around us all the time. I began to “think that I’m thinking”—while in the midst of schizophrenic upheaval—that my only option might be, for now—and to remember upon the next day, and those that follow—to do my best, even better than my best. Perhaps acting at first so that I shall become afterwards.
While I see no way out at the moment, I trust I will get “out” and return, even if to only have another day like today again, but just not tomorrow. Positivity, an overload of it, almost forcing it just as much as I force these words out—I mean I’m really going through it now, and part of what I do—rather try to do—is to really get in there when the times are tough thus to portray these states of mind—schizoaffective, mentally ill, anxious, disturbed mindscapes—and so to bring it all to the surface . . . . Stemming from my need to write, to write as much as I can, to force it out—the letters—choosing to get out of this current state of mind to then impart what I can from the non-disturbed mind once I’m there and ultimately back to usual—the usual experiences with which I’m better acquainted. As I sit here in complete solitude, 100%, I still know that I am literally not alone. Therefore, neither are you. We are never alone. Never. Always . . . never.
Details and specific introspection might not be accessible for me to write out, as I am currently way deep, since this morning, in a spell. A sensitive schizoaffective spell—an episode; one that I will one day, very soon poke fun at in order to cope, though it sure feels like no joke right now. Yet, as I write this out, an inner laughter dawns on me—sensitivity-based—OMG kind of laughter. “Wow, this is one hand of cards I’m holding today and the worst poker face possible . . . .” But I’ve got to win this one.
Am I seen but not heard? Heard but not seen? I’m in complete privacy, here and now, at home. Dealing with this hand of cards. My Joker is Schizophrenia. Might have to bluff here. Well, I’m ready to throw it all in. All my chips. Taking the chance. To “Dance with Crazy . . . .” I’m going to win. I know it. This evening, I am going to take my chips and gracefully walk out of this well-fixed casino rigged in favor of the casino, not the player. I’m playing. But this is like live TV, and I’m “on the air.” Live and the real deal. Playing the “Reality” version. It’s the only way I can see it happening.
And that, my friends, is my ‘bluff’ face. However it comes out. I can’t bluff the truth. I just can’t. Not these days. No way at all. “Can I see the complete absurdity yet pure ‘possession’ that this illness has on me?” . . . Silence. “Come to think of it, my mind is the problem. The disease.” . . . Remain Silent . . . Indeed, those are just thought patterns. Thoughts—that’s it. Not the Word of God we’re talking about.
But, wait; my mind plays tricks on me. I might not be able to trick Schizophrenia, but I can play with my mind. I’m creative and I have a wild imagination, to say the least. Let me give it a shot . . . . Let me try to laugh . . . . Okay, I cannot. Literally, on the fly, I’m smiling now. That’s a sure start. One player out of the game. Wow, I did it! But it didn’t feel genuine. (I am writing this, as I come out of this episode, as I would on my podcast. I’m live. I’m in real time.)
Huh, time—it’s coming upon 9:00 pm. I can see. A clock. Senses. I have senses. Random thoughts coming and going like bubbles in the air. I laugh (inside), “Bubbles!” Now, as weird as this is, and as real as it is, I’m now smiling . . . Believing it’s real, and that the smile is on my face because I am happy. That’s it. Okay, I’m getting there. Alone, it seems, but nonetheless . . . . Another player at the table folds.
I need to return. To come out of this episode. The smile, it’s still on my face. Now I really believe in it. I believe. That’s a good thing! Going to try for a “lonely giggle” now, to see if I can turn this smile and giggle into an honest-to-God laugh here in my office—the Hot Club, with nobody in sight, just doing this because I want it. I want to come back. Weird? Creepy? Heck, it’s been a minute now, and this smile is still on my face. Holy cow, I’m remembering—from some guided meditation I did a few weeks ago—the narrator suggested turning a smile into a full-on laugh and just keep it going until the laughter becomes me.
This would be such a bizarre series of events for me to write publicly, but to hell with it. I am self-helping and sharing it, to perhaps thousands of people whom I cannot and will likely never even see, for real, face to face. In this comfort zone, I have everything to gain. A moment of peace, if that alone will do. I feel like I’m watching a hilarious stand-up comedy show just right now. I am laughing out loud just because I want to. I need to. No matter how long I laugh. I am laughter.
Next: the “stay in the moment” idea swirls, asking me to stay, and I reply, “Yes!” Out loud, I’m saying. “I say, ‘yes,’ to this present moment.” Nothing to lose. Nothing. I’m going for it. Going to say, to shout, I shout and laugh, “Yes!” to this present moment and then just say whatever comes next. If I can, I’ll shout out anything, as long as it’s positive and for my own good.
A minute has now passed and I’ve been sitting here on my green couch, and I feel it, believing in all of it. I ranted, smiling and laughing. I said, I yelled such things, as “I am a person!” I love who I am right now! I don’t care if I have schizophrenia! I am a good person! I care about myself! I feel great! Right now, I am terrific! Right now, I don’t care how weird this sounds. I’m doing my part in this, my way, and I want a mirror now! I feel happy! Now! Now! I am now! I am in the moment! I love this moment! I am sitting here talking to myself, and now I want a mirror to actually follow some of the suggestions I read about in self-improvement books, being myself and being exceptionally weird, and I want to talk to myself visually!
I often narrate aloud my moment-by-moment experiences to myself. But not like another personality. The same personality, in fact, perhaps just slightly dissociating, which is actually quite common with affective disorders such as schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder. No matter. Now another 5 minutes have passed and I, honest to God, just talked to myself in the mirror in the blue bathroom. I’ve got to say, it was hard and beyond weird, but I did it. I did it because I felt it was simply what to do and guess what? I’ll have another episode—I can play around with that likelihood. I mean, I have schizophrenia for crying out loud, but I just did what I did. And I admit I feel a bit better.
I call out, now back on the couch, “I am who I am and I feel terrific! I love my life. I love. I am!” Et cetera. About 20 minutes earlier, before my most bizarre of all behaviors, looking into my eyes, in the mirror, 100% sure I was going to be sharing all of this on the Net for all to see. To see whatever my audience might, or might not see. No worries, no judgments. This is how I’m coping. And I am succeeding. Again. I’m proud. Certainly not a committable offense, is it?
Text message from my wife just came in: “Hey, I wanted to know how you were feeling. Any better? I love you.” I typed back, “Getting there. Can you wait for the next post on the blog?” I hope to show it in words. Words. Weird. Words. I am being myself. I’m kicking butt. This all started after I woke up from a disastrously disturbed nap—spells, and whispers of paranoia, disjointedness. Then I got to where I am now, as I’ve written so far, bringing me to the “title” of my moment. This brings me to my ‘this is why I do it’ moment.
I remember very clearly the day I decided to take charge of my own life. A huge dose of self-acceptance is where it began. It’s a very long story to put it mildly, the mere moment, which lit the spark, became my life story, the story of my new life.
I’m learning from this day-long episode of paranoia, depression (after a manic morning), voices, hallucinations, side effects, and onslaughts of disturbances.
And thus, even if I can’t be better tomorrow than I am today; even if “God” was not the right metaphor, I trust what I wrote, and this is why, for example, I ran my blog, the radio show, and so on. I did it and do it for myself, for my state of mind, my own meditations on the human condition, while mine—my condition—is exacerbated with schizophrenia. I, then, with nothing to lose, do my best and that’s all I can do, to put it out there.
My assumption is that many other people might have too much shame, or fear, or a job on the line, or . . . something holding them back. I understand completely if that’s the case. This kind of thing is my calling—all that I do is. It’s my purpose. Yes, my “calling.”
On a personal note, this schizophrenia, with personality disorder not otherwise specified, autistic features, Tourette’s, compulsivity, and trauma issues have plagued me for the better part of my life. This can become so difficult. So . . . so . . . so extremely difficult. Not only for me, but for those who care about me, and all others who suffer and their loved ones, too. This time, I’m learning that I am more shame-based at heart—for whatever reason—and that it takes an extremely gentle person to deal with me. I can behave in ways that might hurt others’ feelings, or cause them distress. This is all derived from my being, I believe, an extremely sensitive individual—I mean to the nth degree. Extremely sensitive . . . to everything. Every little thing.
I learn through these horrible episodes and I let everyone I can in on them when I’m able, because just knowing for myself that if even one person on the other side of the earth might read this and—I don’t know, but it’s worth a shot—if only one person—time and space making no difference—is comforted, if anybody might not feel as alone as they might have before, and might not feel completely foreign to their own selves, and experiences—whether he or she is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the president of a country, or a homeless person in a shelter in a Third World country—then I will be happy. Initially I’d written, “if even one person” so there should be a then. So in a hasty fine-tuning of this stream of thought piece, I figure since the idea of helping just one person makes me happy, boom! That’s what I write. But I probably have an even more eloquent way of expressing myself. Blam! Blah! Blue! Ball! Bowl!
This LSD-effect-like episode I am literally enduring right now—I’m not venting, that’s not my attempt. I just want to—need to—share my experiences when others, who might, just might, have the same kinds of experiences, and might not be able to or want to share them. This is still who I am, with schizophrenia or not, and no matter what. I come through, and I will, always. I will, and I trust that everyone will, too, at some point. If not? We are altogether, at least not and never will be alone even if we never know each other. I just feel it. I just know.
I continue delivering the discourse as the unconventional mental health advocate that I believe I am, with literary galore, schizoaffective, Tourette’s syndrome with Autistic spectrum disorders and PTSD. All the rest not otherwise specified, I’m still the same badass author and Hollywood sage with more to come . . .
Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography