A preface

Hi.

You’re probably wondering a bit about who I am and what business I have putting my thoughts here for everyone to read.  I’d say that anybody should be able to put their thoughts out there.  But then I’d be getting defensive and we’ve only just met…

I am a young thirty-something, though I was only a twenty-something when I started writing this… Where does the time go?     I do not like long walks on the beach because I don’t like sand very much, but I very much do enjoy candlelit dinners.  And candlelit bubble baths and the candlelight Christmas Eve church service.  Bonfires, fireworks, sparklers with their cinders bouncing off of the pavement, having so many birthday candles that you need help blowing them all out at once; beautiful light overcoming the darkness.  I’ve studied a little bit of everything and I think I have more books than I’ll ever have friends in my entire life.  Reading is one of my greatest passions and fills more of my time than I’d like to admit.  Hours with my nose out of a book are spent mostly sleeping, eating, sketching, pinning the products of other peoples’ glorious exploits in cooking, traveling, making art, and speaking wise and beautiful words, and sometimes doing (I hope) a bit of that wise and beautiful writing myself.

But, if life was dinner by the lake on the fourth of July, replete with fireworks and sparklers and laughter and glowing candles, life would no doubt lose its brilliance by the light of day.  So there must be darkness.  Just like I was born on a stool in the kitchen honing my craft by the blazing stove at my dad’s elbow, I spent my younger years soaking up pain and regret like a sponge, so by the time I was skilled enough to put on a Toque, I was no longer fit to fire up a stove.  When I spun life’s wheel, I landed on ‘gifted’ and ‘sick’.  The ‘sick’ is schizoaffective disorder.  SA is a chimeric beast molded from psychosis and depression, less common than other psychotic illnesses.  I am the 1% of the 1%, my doctors have remarked.  A highly-intellectual, cognitively-intact, socially-capable and self-aware warrior woman giving a monster that chews up your consciousness and spats back out some kind of fluid nightmare a swift kick in the pants.  Nearly one percent of the people around us are living in the ‘reality soup’ of schizophrenia, SA’s more popular cousin.  Some are drowning in it.  Psychotic illness claims more lives than you might imagine.  Sadly, it has nearly claimed mine at least five times now.

On some days, it feels like I’m up to my chest in a shark and my feet are already digesting. Or I’m sinking in a tar pit and there’s nothing to grab on to. Other times,  I might complacently dangle a leg in the water without concern for what might be circling just below the surface.  But I’m not in this alone.   I’m in a committed relationship with God, who just keeps pruning away the shriveled bits so they can be supplanted by new shoots of spirit and strength.  He, and a bunch of really committed people in my world are helping me keep this thing called ‘life’ going.  I’m jotting down my thoughts and feelings in virtual ink here and throwing them out into the constellation of virtual life for anyone who can benefit from them.  Being human, I am occasionally in need of major catharsis; that may happen here as well.

 

Thanks for listening.

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2 thoughts on “A preface

  1. Hi –

    I just stopped by to see if I could find out more about what someone like me was going through. I’ve really enjoyed reading about you and what you’ve been doing, and what you’ve said about living with schizoaffective disorder really rings true.

    I’m 44 now, first diagnosed about 20 years ago, I spent the majority of my years from 24-35 in and out of the hospital. I didn’t want to take my meds, I had real compliance and denial issues. Somehow, despite all that, I managed to graduate with a Bachelor’s (only a BA) in Econ, and now I’m working full-time and have been for about five years. According to my psychiatrist, the schizoaffective disorder is in remission. Of course it’s hardly as simple as that and I am med-compliant now.

    I am constantly striving to improve myself, but find myself a bit socially stymied even at the best of times. I don’t know if you feel the same way, but everyday is a great adventure and I look on all these little agonies as growing pains (even at my ripe old age.) I am not going through the tortures that I used to go through, but they are still very vivid to me, my delusions really ran the gamut.

    I hope all is good with you. If you do visit my site, please take it with a grain of salt…I’m looking to start something more palatable soon!

    All the best,

    Lucia

    • Lucia,

      I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner. Life gets in the way of things sometimes, and other times, well, I just forget to do things. I do look at each day as an adventure. As someone put it in a song, “Every day is a start,” Any torment I have makes me want to do more with my life and prove to the world that there is more than meets the eye in those of us living with mental illness. That’s part of why I keep going. I was given the diagnosis of schizophrenia (then schizoaffective disorder) a long time ago and my doctors don’t have much hope of a full recovery for me, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is now. And I’m always trying to make now as good as it can be. I look forward to checking in on your site again!

      Larissa

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