Usually I do not write too often when things are going well. And, fortunately, they have been. I’m reminded this week that I have survived schizoaffective disorder for nine years now without somehow finding myself back in the hospital because of it.
A large part of my success in battling schizoaffective disorder stems from the fact that I have been sober for the past eight years. No alcohol, no drugs. It’s a formula for success, for me at least. If I were to go down the drinking and drugging road, my entire life would unravel… not just because I would be using, but because my mental illness would run totally out of control. I just don’t have an addiction issue to deal with on a daily basis, but a huge, huge mental illness problem that requires daily maintenance and sobriety in order for me to be successful.
In the end, no matter how bad things can get for me mentally struggling with this disorder, I am constantly reminded (through my own life experiences) that things can and will get worse, if I turn to alcohol or drugs to deal with life’s issues.
I’m sober eight years now. I’m out of the hospital for nine years now. I’ve been from Harvard to hardcore homeless, and everywhere and everything in between. Living on the street, to livin’ it large. From grad school to the school of hard knocks.
I can’t change what has happened to me and what I have been through. I’ve learned that there is no point on dwelling on the hardships I’ve have been dealt to deal with.
Importantly, I have overcome most of the difficulties that I have faced. And I will continue to overcome obstacles, provided that I follow the path to continued mental well-being and sobriety.
It’s a miracle, and also shows the power of sobriety, that I’ve made it eight years now without a hospital readmission because of schizoaffective disorder.
It hasn’t been easy, but I am determined to continue the course to win this fight by doing what I am supposed to be doing… not drinking alcohol and continuing to take my medication.
It’s been a while since I have written something here. Mainly because I have found it difficult to continually rehash the same thing over and over again. Mental illness, alcoholism, anxiety, etc… Some people have reached out to me regarding my writing, say that it has been helpful and insightful.
This post might be a little different and perhaps a little new, who knows. I can broach the topics below because I am fully aware of my mental illness. I am also fully aware that I am not a societal norm.
I have a diagnosed mental defect. A mental disease that worms its way through my skull on a daily basis from which I have not been cured. I am not a normal person, not by any sense of what normalcy means.
Normal people do not go homeless. Normal people do not spend extended periods of time living on the street, bouncing from sleeping in the woods to homeless shelters in the winter. Normal people do not drinks gallons of alcohol day in and day out for years. Normal people do not see and hear things out of nowhere. Normal people do not think and act like I do. Normal people do not sleep half their day away because of a combination of medications and a mental disorder. Normal people can function in a full-time job setting.
I am not normal. Anyone who knows me knows I am not normal. I do not behave normally. I am an extremely introverted person, teetering on the edges of being a social recluse. I have virtually no friends, and no significant relationships, with people to speak of. Yet, I try to function in society. A society that does not understand the severity of the mental illness that I have to endure (and fight).
Normal people my age are usually married with children by now. Or, at the very least, in a relationship. I have none of that. Nothing even close on the horizon. I am part of the ‘elite’ 0.3% of the population with a specific mental illness called schizoaffective disorder that no one seemingly wants to be around or deal with. I do not want to deal with it. Nothing, nothing concerning this mental illness that I have is fun. It is a never ending drain of my energy and time to make myself appear to be somewhat normal in public. I won’t even start to talk about the social anxiety that I have, on top of this overburdening mental illness.
Who really wants to be associated with, or in a relationship with, someone who is mentally deficient? Why is it that the only real understanding that I get concerning this disorder and my anxiety is from psychologists and therapists?
I want change. I want to break free of the bonds of my social anxiety and my schizoaffective mental disorder.
I have been struggling with elements of this disorder for the past 20 years. My only true accomplishment that I can point to is academic success. And even academic success is a struggle these days because of the overwhelming demands that schizoaffective disorder takes from me.
Raw. Biting. True. No holds barred. I’m going to continue to fight… I am going to continue to trudge the road to happy destiny… but it would be nice to have some accompaniment along the way in my journey. I have fought for too long, struggled and suffered enough because of this mental disorder
Not all people with a mental illness are violent, and not all people who are violent have a mental illness.
Today marks a year since my brother died because of a heroin overdose.
Addiction is not a fun disease. It wants you dead. And if you play around with the disease of addiction long enough, it will eventually get you.
I’m reminded today of my own struggles with addiction and that I can never drink alcohol safely again during my lifetime. If I were to, I would probably end up dead myself.
Today serves as a reminder to me just how serious drug and alcohol addiction can be to those who have it and struggle with it daily.