Loneliness and Delusions

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It’s been awhile since I last posted.  I’ve been going through some rough spots lately.  I’m only now pulling out of the spell of depression I’ve lately had.  When I have issues with being depressed, I often isolate myself a lot.  I won’t be very talkative to even my close friends and family.  I even somethings go for entire days without leaving my apartment.  I was doing this quite a bit this winter as I just didn’t want to deal with the depression and anxiety that often arrive with no rhyme or reason with schizophrenia.  I often would go entire days at a time where even going to the grocery store or pharmacy would seem like an ordeal.  Naturally this would lead to a lot of loneliness for me.  And I would get paranoid and begin wondering why no one would contact me or want to do anything with me.  I wasn’t contacting my friends, I wasn’t leaving my apartment, and my social activities were next to nonexistent.  This would generate depression because I was lonely.  The depression would lead to anxiety were I literally could not force myself to leave my apartment even when I wanted to.  From anxiety I would go into paranoid because my friends wouldn’t contact me because I wasn’t keeping up my end of the friendship and staying current with friends and family.  This cycle would perpetuate itself, sometimes for days or weeks on end.

One example of my anxiety was that I was getting paranoid that people (I couldn’t figure out who in my delusional state of mind) were going through my garbage.  So I would let it pile up in my apartment, sometimes for ten days to two weeks at a time before I’d finally work through my anxiety and force myself to throw it all out at once.  I was also afraid that I would receive a few odd looks from people seeing me taking three to four bags of trash out all at once, often late at night just so I could avoid contact with people.  Now that I’m passed that phase, I see how delusional that line of thinking was.  I mean, if someone is going to go through the dumpster at a large complex the night time would be perfect for someone dumpster diving.  At least it wasn’t as bad as when I was in college and taking my trash to the Wal-Mart half way across town because I thought that ‘people where going through my trash.’

The delusions that come along with schizophrenia no doubt seem very odd to the ‘chronically normal’ individuals that read this blog and/or have loved ones with schizophrenia.  But to those afflicted, it seems very real and very possible.  I sometimes even recently had delusional thoughts that I’m being watched and followed by people I don’t know (and don’t want to know).  It doesn’t make it any better when I’m driving my car and someone will be taking the same streets I do and are following real close.  This has been going on for as long as I’ve had problems with mental illness.  At least it’s not as bad as it once was because I’ve learned how to reason such things out most of the time.  It’s too bad I couldn’t reason out the stress and anxiety I have felt about working again.  I would love to return to work even at something as small as ten hours per week.  Anxiety and delusional thoughts playing over and over in my mind do make that prospect quite daunting.

Loneliness and delusions that go with mental illness are real serious problems for people with mental illness.  I can tell you for a fact I didn’t choose these delusions.  It would be great to be able to completely reason the delusions away.  But I’m still working on that.

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How I Became A Writer

There have always been people who write that have written stories and poetry since they were children.  These types where those who always knew they would want to have writing and creativity be a part of their lives.  I was not among those types who just knew from an early age.  I didn’t stumble on the therapeutic value of writing until I was a senior in college.  By then I was only a year away from graduating with a business degree that deep down I knew I would never use in a career.  I never considered majoring in english and history, two of my three favorite subjects in high school (chemistry was my third favorite) because I believed the whole ‘you can’t find a job with a liberal arts or humanities degree’ nonsense when I was younger.  I didn’t take into consideration that a) my mental illness would probably prevent me from holding much for employment and b) most college graduates don’t end up with a job in their major.  

Yet as it turned out I did have some writing talent.  I was signed up for an honors english class my freshman year simply due to my entrance exam scores.  I certainly would have never volunteered for such a class on my own.  On the first day of class, we were asked what our writing experiences were.  There were a few who kept extensive journals, others who wrote poetry, a ministry student who wrote his own sermons, and then at the end of the line there was me.  I meekly admitted that I wrote only when I had to.  I didn’t have to write extensively in high school as I just took general english classes.  I was about to drop the class after the first day simply because I knew there was no way I would do well in there. To make a long story short, I didn’t drop the class and I found out that I was good at writing.  As it was early in the course of my mental illness still, I also found it to be cheap therapy.  Yet I didn’t seriously start writing even as a hobby until my last year of college.

I’ve now been seriously writing for ten years now.  I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of my writing as therapy.  I’ve also self-published a couple poetry books as well as a non-fiction book that’s part memoir and part advice book for mental health patients and their loved ones.  Heck, I’ve even managed to sell a few copies of those books here and there.  Even though I’m far from being a master of the craft of writing, I’ve had an enjoyable ten years teaching myself the ins and outs of story telling and even learned a little trying to get published.  Without the prompt from a wise academic advisor who saw potential that I couldn’t see, I never would have found out I could write.  And I certainly would have never had the courage to start a blog.