Lessons From Schizophrenia

NOTE: Do not use this as a substitute for a licenced health practitioner! There are ways to help yourself and get help that you can live with. 🙂 Make sure you’ve got a good support team to help you on your healing journey!

Dear Friends,

Last night I watched an old Disney version of Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates. I absolutely loved it. My mom and my aunt came in while I was watching it and ended up watching it through to the end with me. It was really good to watch someone else’s life, going through their hard struggles and with persistence, perseverance, diligence and love they were able to come out on top, making some good friends along the way.

After the movie I talked to my mom and my aunt. We’ve been through a lot the last 9 months. My marriage has collapsed, we’ve moved three times, I’ve had all this generational and personal garbage coming up, I’ve nearly had another breakdown and my kids are struggling. Last night I just broke down in sobs. I feel so broken. So unable to fix my life. I’m shouldering the brunt of raising three kids on my own and sometimes I just feel like I’m spread so thin. I’ve been trying to help out other family members too, and last night it all just caught up to me and I just sobbed. I don’t know how to do it all.

It seems like so many times God has whittled me down to my bare bones to start all over again. Sometime I wonder how much more crap He’s going to bring to the surface to get rid of. The last few days I’ve felt like the crap was a great big river going over a waterfall and I’ve been standing in the middle of it doing everything I can to not go over with it. Thank God for medication and my NAET doctor or I’d be a mess right now in the psychiatric ward.

Sometimes I wonder how many breakdowns or almost breakdowns it’s gonna take before I’ve got this down enough that I don’t have to do it again. Granted, I’ve learned things this round that I wouldn’t have learned if I hadn’t gone through this. Maybe that’s all that this is about.


Once upon a time I told God I didn’t want Him to just “poof” make me all better. I wanted to understand the illness and what caused it from beginning to end and how to basically reverse it. Undue it. Cure it.

Maybe that was a tall order.

I told my dad that and he tossed his head back and said, “Oh, you’re just like me.” We both asked God the same thing in our healing process and instead of the jet plane we got the hand cart going across the prairie. My dad’s words, not mine.

Can I just say this?

It sucks.

At this point I’d just as soon skip the hand cart trek and take the jet plane.

Sometimes I feel like I’m so messed up, there’s so much crap to get rid of, how can I possibly do it in one lifetime. I’ve got so much baggage. A lot is the family baggage, that’s true, but my parent’s wouldn’t have passed it on if they’d known. My dad’s certainly worked hard to clear as much as he can. He’s been seriously working on it for almost 24 years. I think my trek started at age 13, so about 16 years now.

You know though, all complaining aside, I can see that if I hadn’t gone the hard way there’s a lot that I wouldn’t have learned, a lot of compassion I wouldn’t have gained. A lot of people that I wouldn’t have been able to help. Though right now I feel pretty useless. Sometimes I think the only thing I’m good for is writing. But I know that’s not true.

You know the other thing is, there’s a lot of people that I’ve met that have certainly made the journey worth it. Kathleen, Tammy, Jay Reed, Colleen, Captain Crunch 🙂 as I nicknamed him, Stephen and Stephen :-), Nancy, Jed, Guy, Danny, Lynette and Larry, Amber, Sun and Freeda, Faith, Jeni and so many others. All these people that I’ve met because I’ve had a chemical imbalance or mental illness. So many experiences, so many friendships that have been made along the way. I wish I’d kept in better touch with them all. Not a family strong point, I’m afraid. Perhaps more generational baggage that needs to go?…

There was something about all these people that I came to love. They got me. I made sense to them. We understood each other. They loved me in my most broken places. In fact, some of them only ever saw me broken. They never saw me on a normal day when the illness was in a remission of sorts.

I wouldn’t trade my path because of the people that I’ve met that have made it all worth it. It’s not over. My path, my journey, isn’t finished yet. But these loved ones have made it worth walking. At least I’m in good company.

My hat’s off to all of you. All illnesses are crippling and difficult to some extent or another. I think the one we have is the least understood by the majority. But we understand. And if you’re reading this and thinking you’re alone, I just want you to know, you’re not. I’ve done it too.

I’ve been so crazy that I walked down the yellow line on a busy highway in the middle of the night. Naked, I might add. Later that night I was picked up by a van full of drunk men  (don’t worry, the driver was sober) that ended up taking me to an ambulance that transferred me to a psychiatric hospital. Diagnosis? Schizophrenic or Scizo-effecto, which in other words means, you’ve got some of everything and we don’t know what’s wrong with you. But, technically, I found out on another hospital trip, you can’t have “episodes” of schizophrenia. You just have schizophrenia. All the time.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you can have episodes of schizophrenia because I have had them. And they were schizophrenic. And I’m not that way all the time. In fact, most of the time, I’m not. Most of the time I look and act like any other ordinary person and you wouldn’t even be able to tell.

Not that it matters.

Living in an episode of schizophrenia was like living in my unconscious brain. I spoke and talked in symbols and all the issues that normally sat on the back burner of my mind came to the fore front in all their ugly glory. It was like speaking Chinese in a house of Spanish people.

There was so much I couldn’t figure out, so much I knew, so much I couldn’t separate–the truth from the lies–and I had no one who understood what I was going through that could help me make sense of the senseless.

A few years ago, my then husband, found a Ted talk of a lady who was a hard core schizophrenic. I say hard core because if she didn’t stay on medication she was schizo. I am not that way. I can go off my meds and be just fine at times. Most schizophrenic people aren’t that way.

She shared from her private journals her experiences and the things that she said. She had a medical term for the way she talked, that I don’t remember. I was shocked because it was like listening to myself. I knew what she meant when she said those things and how they made sense to her at the time. Or at least I could very much relate. It made me want to cry. Someone out there, got me. And I got her.

If there’s one thing I want to accomplish through the debilitating process of being a mentally ill person, or having bouts of mental illness, it is this: I want to help other mentally ill people make sense of the senseless.

I have learned that the schizophrenia is just personal and generational garbage surfacing for me to get rid of. That’s it. A very simplified diagnosis. The problem arises in that people with this illness usually have a lot of generational baggage and often personal baggage so that when their body is finally ready to dump all that garbage, it might as well be the full Grand Canyon trying to empty out a hole the size of a golf ball. It gets a little jammed. The flow gets blocked. And thus the schizophrenic. If there’s someone who can help the schizo unplug the hole or make it wider and bigger so that things come out easier and faster you can evade the schizo episode, or the worst symptoms of it, altogether. I know this, because I just experienced it for the first time. Ever. And it was amazing. In my book, it was a miracle. I have never been able to do that before.

Well, actually that’s not true. I did do it last year, this same time of year, with meditation and chakra work, but it didn’t last as long as I would have liked. When you’ve got a lot of crap, digging it out by the spoonful isn’t very effective.

…Sorry, I squirreled a little bit…

I just want to say to all of you out there who are suffering from mental illness, whatever sort you’ve got, believe me I’ve had the gamete–I’ve tried all the types, buffet style, and that’s no joke. I just want you to know, there really is hope. Hope in real, true, honest recovery. I know there is because I just got a taste of it. If I can do that, so can you.

I’m not saying it’s a cake walk. It isn’t. But if facing our issues and the issues that our ancestors passed down to us via our DNA can save us a walk across broken glass, I’m all for that. How about you?

I know this is a really raw post. That seems to be my specialty. I hope it doesn’t scar you for life. For the people who’ve had the problem, and can relate, I hope it helps. I love you all! I hope that life get’s kinder. I know you’ve got the ride through hell, but I promise, heaven’s worth walking through hell for and it will be all the sweeter because of what you’ve been through.

God Bless!

~Thoughts From A Mother’s Heart

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