When I called out to the universe for some of the grandest mental health fighters of my world to write about Schizophrenia Week, I expected them to write about the illness. About how it needs attention or how the stigma needs to go away. What I never could have expected was that these survivors of bipolar disorder, of panic disorder, of major depression, would talk about me.
Not that I am not grateful, but I was truly shocked when these people decided to write about how I amazing I am or how I have changed their lives. The truth is that lately, I don’t feel like that person at all. I am lucky that I still have a job with the amount of times I have called out of work lately (maybe I don’t? I’ll find out in a couple days I guess). It feels as if I have done nothing lately but sleep and complain about my life. I don’t know that I am still the person who runs the back end of an internationally praised non-profit organization, if I am still the bestselling author, if I am a literary society founder, or a blogger for a high-traffic mental health magazine, because lately I feel like someone with schizophrenia who can barely get through the damn day. I have cried a lot and I have spent a lot of money on medication – more than I have to spend. I didn’t feel like the person that I wanted to be this Schizophrenia Week, and the kind words that people said about me made me feel like a fake.
This is what this illness does. It makes us feel like shit. Like we’re not even worth the cards we ourselves have put on the table. In a schizophrenic’s world, there are some good times and there are a lot of really bad times, and the reason that most of us don’t survive is because not everyone is as lucky as me. Not everyone gets to experience the most ambitious, powerful, beautiful royalties in the mental health movement using an open forum to tell the world how amazing their schizophrenic friend is.
This illness has knocked me down more times than I can count, but you can’t get knocked down unless you are upright, which means that I have gotten back up just as many times. For those of you struggling with this illness who don’t have that support system to tell you that you are loved and you are worth it, I’m telling you that you are simply because you are a human being. This is your world too. Don’t ever let this world make you think otherwise.
Schizophrenia is just a word. You can choose to embrace it for what it is and fight to be the person you want to be just like I have my entire life, and just like I do every day. You may not always feel like that person, but you are. That person is in there somewhere. All you have to do is to dig deep enough to find them, and sweetheart, I got plenty of shovels.
Happy Schizophrenia Week.
A Bestselling Author, NPO VP, and Psychology Today Blogger from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.
Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.
From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.
Visit Allie at http://haphazardcoffee.com