It Could Be Worse
Successful Sobriety and Stability Aided by a Supportive Family
I don’t know where I would be if it weren't for family. It has been hard on everyone. Was it drugs, kundalini, spirits, or miswired synapses? If my high school had voted on who was most likely to snap, it probably would have been me. I think I would have developed schizophrenia even without marijuana and a few acid trips. There is a family history. The substances just made it worse.
I was an engineering student with potential who acquired a marijuana habit, transferred and dropped out. I had some strange ideas on the road, came back, lived with friends, family, then was hospitalized, back to work for a year, and again hospitalized. Six months after recovering to the point where I could work again for a year, I had a personal crisis and hospitalization. I went to a recovery house and got clean. I remained substance-free, worked for a year, got hospitalized, got my own place, worked for a year, and then rehospitalized. Right now, I’m working, hoping the kinks in my mind and the system have been worked out.
The mental health system is stretched thin and the turnover rate is very high. Even if they had checked on me, no clinician was ever around long enough to get to know the signs of my individual case. Each time, it began with not eating and sleeping, strange synchronicity and hallucinations. I would ditch my job, write people crazy letters, drive my car somewhere without the gas to get back. Where would I be without my family? Certain people could talk me down. They knew when I was losing it and would get me into the hospital before it would turn into jail.
I've had more visual than audio hallucinations. It's like being in a dream state while I'm awake. I know what channel is on, I know what I put in the DVD player, but that’s not it. There is an endless horror movie inside my head.
Things were quiet until I refused medication in 2008. Two weeks later, the internal dialogue became a quagmire. It's difficult to hear the still, small voice when there’s so much noise inside. At least they go away when I'm concentrating on a task like writing or working, or having a good conversation. The doctors will ask if the medications help. At least by now, I know not to stop taking them. Schizoaffective mania happens even when sober and taking meds.
There have been highlights. I was inspired to buy a guitar and have been playing ever since. I have produced some good songs, poems and sketches. I got baptized several years ago, made some friends, lost some friends, been employee of the month and got some raises and bonuses at several jobs. I smoke two packs of cigarettes a day. I work and do odd jobs to pay for them. I've been sober 4.5 years out of five. I’ve been considering completing my general studies degree.
I've put on a lot of weight and been sleeping 12 hours a day since I was put on medication 10 years ago. Right now, it's not so bad. I got my own place, smokes, a job, my family and a few friends who still care. What more could a guy ask for?