I have often been left comments on this site, which have gone something along the lines of: “you’re so great and open in how you write about your schizophrenia: you describe it so vividly and write so honestly about how it effects you.”
This is largely true: I enjoy using this blog as a way to blow off steam, and write about the various aspects of schizophrenia which bug me, torment me, and intrigue me. Mental illness is a hotbed of ideas, concepts and theoretical frameworks, because it is so multifarious and so resistant to being pinned down. This is obviously because it is rooted in the mind- and the mind itself is a troublesome space made up of the conscious, sub-conscious and un-conscious. If the mind itself is a difficult concept to get a meaningful handle on, can you imagine how tricksy the condition which affects the mind is?! Schizophrenia is like a distorted mirror, reflecting the mind and the self with about a million other little bits and pieces added on.
So, returning to the first paragraph, I do enjoy writing about it because it seems to calm the seething mass for a little while and relaxes me. However, since relapsing last year, the sense of certainty I had over my condition has diminished somewhat. I’m finding it quite difficult to focus on anything for long periods of time and my energy levels go from being average to dipping down so low I feel as though my body is a ten ton block of granite I’m forced to carry around. I can’t write about my schizophrenia in the same way as I did before: I’m not exactly sure where I sit with it any longer.
It was a strong relapse, and caused me to lose touch with reality for 10 weeks. In that time I stopped eating, stopped sleeping and was pretty much existing on alcohol alone- my urge towards self-preservation disintegrated and I didn’t have any desire towards health, and well-being. This reflected the despair I was feeling towards my job, which I felt was spiralling out of my control, and failed relationships. There was too much pressure on me, and I didn’t feel equal to being able to handle it so my survival instinct snapped back from being focused on the long-game to focusing entirely on the here and now: I felt like shit, so I would down a can of beer. I couldn’t see beyond the next five minutes.
I’m struggling to regain my sense of perspective now. Up until August last year I’d been following a very clear trajectory of recovery and forward progress. That trajectory finally reached it’s end-point and I’ve spent the last seven months trying to come to terms with that and with the sense of loss and failure which was created in me. I didn’t think everything was going to fall apart in the way that it did, and yet it did. The sense of certainty I’d felt for many years, about what happened to me, why it happened and how far I’d come from the initial breakdown has been knocked away and I’m back at square one, with so much uncertainty clouding my vision it’s really difficult to find anything to start building new foundations on.
I’m still working out ways to not feel angry, because unfortunately it doesn’t achieve anything. I think that sometimes I’ll veer into the anger because it’s a more empowering sensation than loss and grief, but it eventually burns out and leaves an even emptier space in its wake.
I’m lucky enough to have the resilience to know that things will get better again. I’ll find some job I can do part time and start to build a new frame work for my days and weeks, but at the moment I’m just a little bit lost. I used to think I had such a handle on the mental illness and such certainty about what it represented to me. Now it’s come back and I’m forced to wonder whether I’d been following the wrong pathway all along, deluding myself with allegories and metaphors. Of course the rational part of my mind tells me- there is no right and wrong pathway, there is no right and wrong way to do things.
Perhaps the schizophrenia is just a reflection of the pressure I put on myself to succeed; all the while I feel I’m heading in the right direction and able to handle things it’s fine, but when I reach a certain point of feeling overwhelmed and unable to manage it blows up. There’s a million different ways I could conceptualise it, and I’m hoping to start writing more regularly again, in an attempt to contextualise some of the things which have happened and are still happening.
Thanks for reading 🙂