I Am Struck (A Poem)

I am struck.
I am struck by my feelings that life is difficult.
So very difficult!

And, what if you DON’T have a chronic illness?
How is life then?

Oh, I just want to be well!
The way I feel just sucks…

I only see managing.
Management of a mental illness.

So yes, I am forced to deal!
I am forced to accept…
And, the like.

I think I’ll just sleep!
Sleep makes everything a little better.

Life Before Medication (A Poem)

The person I was before medication, is lost.
I am no longer “hanging out” like I once did.
And, when I look around at examples of people I know
who do not take meds,
I think that I am better off today.

Surely, there are those individuals who
won’t come around to my way of thinking
And, I understand that.
But, I can’t help my time-to-time thinking of the old me.
I miss that man.

Medication For The Fight (A Poem)

2021 has taught me
That some people with mental illness
Function fairly well on medication
I am “kind of” one of them, but not really

I am goal-directed
But, I am also struggling every day
The meds do help me to be hospital-free
They also assist me with certain thoughts

So, I do all I can with the resources I have
It’s one day at a time
And, while I may never beat schizophrenia
My symptoms could one day improve

Birds Of A Feather Flock Together

Many of my friends have mental illness, but not all mental illness is created equal!

And, how/why do I have so many friends?

Before I became full-blown ill, I maintained some connections with people, that stood by me.

And over time, is how I learned that some of these friends have some form of mental illness, and can go for periods of time when the extent of their suffering is hidden.

And, some friends’ suffering never gets mentioned. Ever.

So, behind all of this is the “spectrum” of mental illness, some of which debilitates.

At the risk of saying Dale isn’t all that bad, I will defer you to what Dale deals with.

Dale thinks he has bipolar disorder, and I am his only friend.

(I know, never self-diagnose.)

Of course, Dale doesn’t take meds, but he does work at a job, and is responsible with his money. He also tends to quit his jobs every time the throes of his “bipolar disorder” are in full-effect.

Mark deals with whatever troubles he has, and has been able to maintain employment throughout. Mark has never been diagnosed with anything to my knowledge either.

He does have a close relative with schizophrenia though, and he and I’s friendship is often strained because of one thing or another. And since I am not a doctor, I can’t tell you why that is.

Not all of my friends have mental illness, and some of them are only seasonally depressed.

The idea of my companions in life being depressed gets discussed privately (among a few of us), but again, there are those who don’t ever discuss having troubles.

As I am an open person (at times, too open), I do talk about what I experience mental health-wise.

But, the reason for this post is mainly my friend, Dale.

As I mentioned, I am his only friend and he is not being treated for his “bipolar disorder.”

And, it took me the better part of 25 years to see that he and I are a lot alike!

What I, being fairly educated in mental health, failed to properly see, are some of our similarities, revealed in different ways.

So, Dale confided in me and said, “I have manic depression.”

But, was it the first time he said this?

I can be pretty self-involved, and quite frankly, hard on some of my friends.

And, that is a tough pill for me to swallow, as I admit that here with you.

So, Dale and I were just chatting and having fun, when he shared this information with me.

Does it matter, though, when I treat Dale like I want to be treated?

I don’t think so ultimately.

And, does having mental illness mean that we are all the same fundamentally?

Not really. As I’ve said here today, mental health is a “spectrum,” and this spectrum varies widely.

Dale maintains a job with only one friend and has virtually no socialization.

Thus, what I want to do more than anything is honor Dale’s character. Because, to me, that counts more than how someone’s brain is working (or not working).

The two of us are good friends because we have things in common (aside from having mental health troubles), and I treasure those things and Dale.

Do you have in-person friends who struggle with their mental health? What are your thoughts about mental health and these friends?

This Is Mental Health Awareness Month

Being aware of your mental health is extremely important!

Being aware of how you handle your mental health is also extremely important!

I can say that having schizoaffective disorder, and asking a lot of questions to my providers, personally helps me to deal with it!

Sometimes I am even “good” at the kinds of questions I ask!

Asking better questions helps me to understand things on a deeper level!

What are you doing (or can you do) to make your life more manageable?

If you are struggling, you are not alone!

I came by this disorder honestly.

Not everyone does though.

And, that’s okay!

What matters the most is that we get the necessary help for “ourselves” and for our “loved ones.”

Life is not easy!

But, learning to take life a day at a time has only helped!

The Gift And The Fight

I try and I try and I try… and, I do get some satisfaction in life. 🙂

It mainly comes from knowing that my life (and life in general) is a gift!

There is a lot of difficulty that comes with living, but I work hard personally to be able to participate in those little things that make me smile.

I shouldn’t be able to laugh and joke around, but it’s something that I must do if I want to enjoy the gift.

I think my life really started to make the most sense around the time I met my now wife.

I work very hard and put myself out there, and I found someone with whom I am compatible with.

It’s not easy, it’s never easy, but it’s worth the fight!

We all have to fight for ourselves and the things we deem important.

What are your currently fighting for?

Where Would You Be…?

Where do you suppose you would be, had you not become ill?

I think the question is interesting, because I really was heading downhill and quick like when I became full-blown ill.

What I know now is that had I been able to tolerate antipsychotics earlier on in the treatment process, I might be a bit better off.

While not complaining, I do take into account the experiences I would have likely missed out on, as I did manage to squeeze in a few things, that I probably wouldn’t have been able to, had I been on an antipsychotic regimen.

But, it may not be helpful to compare where I am today to where I was yesterday, except to note that I am much more stable than the times I “broke,” and as I’ve worked hard by “trying” for better experiences.

So yes, I am more stable today because I am taking all of my medication. And, I won’t mince words for that.

Do you ever think about the old you, and have some thoughts about that person?

You Are Who You Are

Recently, I was interacting with a post from a well known company on social media.

The post took a shot at persons with schizophrenia.

It was up for about 30 minutes (at the most), because I publicly called them out!

In that time, there were dozens of “shares,” plus a comment by someone who didn’t see anything “wrong” with the post, which had a laugh at persons living with schizophrenia.

It is ignorant and shitty for people to use schizophrenia in a way that demoralizes those who have the disease.

And, since many people who deal with schizophrenia (and other severe mental illnesses) are just “not in the right head space” to challenge these things properly, they often make it through unchecked!

Also, I read a post on the Mighty by someone who calls themselves a “schizophrenia entrepreneur!”

I am definitely not sure what that means, and I am quite certain that the author believes themselves to be doing well and on the recovery path.

Maybe the statement was just them being light-hearted about a serious subject, but people don’t generally name their mental illness in association with entrepreneurship, or do they?

Have you seen any examples anywhere lately, ranging from people dissing on mental illness to people who have mental illness doing their damndest to be well?