How I Got Through High School With Undiagnosed Schizophrenia
I didn’t want to speak. I didn’t want to be noticed. I didn’t want to be bothered. I wanted to be completely ignored. It was high school, and I was an undiagnosed paranoid Schizophrenic. I remember thinking, What’s the point? What was the point of doing homework or getting good grades? I didn’t think it would matter for me. I never thought I would graduate high school. I thought I would be dead soon. How? I thought I would kill myself before graduation.
High school is hard. But in my experience as a paranoid schizophrenic, it’s unreal. Imagine you’re sitting in a classroom, and the teacher is speaking. But instead of listening to the teacher, you’re listening to the voices in your head. I didn’t know they were voices at the time. I thought I just had vivid thoughts and daydreams. In class, I was thinking about my interactions with friends. Do they like me? Are they actually my friends? Do I say silly things? Maybe I should just stop talking. I hate everything. I just wanna die. And then I would come back to reality. Defeated. I hated myself. Class would be over soon, and I have no idea what the teacher spoke about. The bell would ring and it would be time to go to the next class. Then once again, the same process would repeat. I didn’t mean to not pay attention in class, I was schizophrenic.
Then we would have our lunch break. I had to interact with classmates. Sometimes this could run smoothly, however the negative thoughts would often happen. What am I saying? Am I eating weird? How do I form a normal conversation? Am I just strange? I tried to stick with people I knew my whole life. Although I’d be insulted by the people who claimed to be my friends, it was better than being alone. These confusing interactions would make me uneasy, uncomfortable, awkward. These negative thoughts in my head would be mean, and make me mad. I wasn’t a bitch, I was schizophrenic.
The one joy I had in high school was joining the Lacrosse team my freshman year and continuing to play throughout high school. It was my outlet for all of my pent up aggression and anger. I would run around the field like a maniac. I was playing aggressive, which is how I thought I should play. Women’s Lacrosse is supposed to be noncontact, however. I would elbow people, knock people over and slam into anyone who dared to try taking a shot on my goalie. Eventually, my coach approached me. She told me that sometimes when she watched me play, it looked like I was playing the game how it’s supposed to be played, although quite often it seemed like I was playing just to hurt people. I had a lot pent up aggression. I didn’t try to purposely harm people, I was schizophrenic.
So here I am. Ten years after high school graduation. Alive. Sometimes it amazes me that I made it through high school. Sometimes, I don’t really know how I made it. I think I was scared to actually do it, and I’m glad I didn’t. Be an undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic in high school was not easy. I wish I would’ve accepted help sooner. I just had to realize it in myself, when I was ready. When you realize you’re ready, your life can change for the better. Don’t be afraid to admit there is a problem. If you feel something is wrong, speak to someone. Once you gain the courage to speak up, your life will change in many positive ways.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Thinkstock photo via kevinhillillustration.