There are a few things about me that everyone should know.
First, I am twenty-six. Young but not too young. Old but not too old. I am a quarter of the way towards the grave, but I have three quarters of my life remaining to make something of myself. That’s encouraging to me. It’s that whole glass half full concept applied to longevity.
Second, I am a student. A graduate student. I’ve been a student for my whole life, despite working several different jobs, and can’t imagine being anywhere but academia for the rest of my life. There are some huge pluses in this line of work.
Third, I am a scientist. I have studied quite a few different things in my life, but my work has always involved living things. Biology is one of my greatest passions and I will never tire of my continued search for a better life for the people I love (which is everyone).
Last, but very not least, I am a daughter, granddaughter, cousin, and most importantly, a wife. Family plays a central role in every story I will tell. It is my family that makes my world what it is.
Now that you know these things, a few more details are in order.
I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2004. Overwhelmed with life’s difficulties, including the stress of undergraduate life and a sense of separation from the people and places I dearly loved, and tormented by a world that existed only in my mind, I ended up in a mental hospital in Pennsylvania. I was tired out by life, unable to cope with the demons haunting my daily walk. We’ll always have time to chat about the past, but that was then.
This is now. I’m a recently-married graduate student with a zest for life and a passion for enriching the world around me. I’m researching ovarian cancer, specifically the metastatic spread of cancer cells from primary tumors into the surrounding tissues. I will get into that more some other time. I live in upstate new york, with all its beautiful landscape, long winters, and fantastic people. I’ve been married for almost a year now and couldn’t love my husband any more than I do. We’re strangely perfect for each other, as we are exact opposites. The rest of the household is our feline children, Smokey and Beans. They have all the emotion and exuberance of humans, but are much cuter than them and don’t speak a language we understand. Naturally, Peter, my husband, and I are their slaves. Besides science and cats, I have a passion for food and exploration via kayak or foot. There’s lots more to tell, but again, some other time.
Finally, here are some things I’m not doing here.
I’m not crazy or insane. In the mental health community those are no-no words. At the same time, Idosome crazy things, even insane things. Get the subtlety of that? You will eventually.
I’m won’t always be optimistic, positive, hopeful, or happy. If I was, you would never read this blog and you would never understand the life of someone with a psychotic disorder.
I’m not going to hide anything from you. I’ve done a lot of hiding in my life and this is a place to be open and honest. An important note though, I am engaged in a treatment plan involving a board-certified psychiatrist and a licensed therapist. If I say things that seem upsetting, dangerous, or just downright mad, know that I am always safe with myself and safe with other people. Mental illnesses are a little like unruly children. They are unpredictable, impulse-driven, and delight in being difficult. My illness is no different. What is different is the way I’ve learned to manage it, with a combination of medication, talk therapy, informed decisions, wit, spunk, and self-awareness.
I hope you will enjoy looking through this window into my world, a story told in and ruled by little words.