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How I’ve Come to View (and Accept) My Schizophrenia

So, what is it like to have schizophrenia/bipolar I? To me, it’s my “normal.” It’s normal to see things in people others don’t. To see all the bad, but then also see the good. It can make it extremely difficult in terms of discernment and being able to interpret the red flags others show you. This is why so many of us can be extremely paranoid. Not only do we see the darkness in other people, but we also perceive it in the systems and societal constructs that are dominant in the cultures which we were born into and live in.

In my opinion, people with schizophrenia are profoundly gifted psychics who have had their gifts turned against them. In any other culture they may be called sages, shamans or oracles. They are natural experts at quantum mechanics and energy work, but have found themselves in families and communities that abuse them and their power. They are like children who can pick up a musical instrument and play it without any instruction. Many people with schizophrenia are able to read and sense the energy in the people and places around them without really knowing what they are doing or having had any formal training in doing so.

We would be considered empaths as well. Without a proper positive, loving, nurturing and supportive environment, this gift can easily be turned into a living nightmare. One where the person with schizophrenia has no one to trust and nobody they can truly confide in because if they do, their own words and actions are often used against them.

Think about that for a second. To have your own words and actions used against you to take your children away from you, to rob you of your basic human rights and freedoms, to be forced to take medications and powerful drugs that numb you and essentially serve as a chemical restraint … it’s painful to be able to feel and see what the rest of the world refuses to. And it’s even worse to be criminalized for talking about it. It’s why so many people with schizophrenia become extremely isolated and detached from their reality and to those closest to them … reality to them can be pain.

So, many of them learn to create new ones and thus become masters at timeline jumping, imagination and alternate realities. However, to the rest of the world, or to most “neurotypicals,” this looks like disassociation, detachment, unregulated emotions and even manic/depressive behavior. Why? Because nobody takes the time or consideration to talk  to us about what is happening or what has happened to us. Many of us have been and still are the victims of profound mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual, financial and physical abuse.  Mental illness can merely be a coping mechanism for this abuse. And what’s worse is this abuse is most often of/by our own family members and people who told us they loved us. So, we end up defending and championing our own abusers in the hopes they will change.

But the only person we can change is ourselves. This is the power of self-responsibility in regards to mental illness. To be able to embrace and accept our reality for what it is. To stop denying what we have experienced was all just some sort of splintered aspect of a reality we visit once in a while. To truly take charge and control of our own destiny. But we cannot change anything about our reality if we do not first learn to accept it for what it is.  And for many people with mental illness, it’s the acceptance they find so difficult to embrace. Because it means diving headfirst into the pain and struggle we have had to endure and processing it, as well as the emotions we have learned so well to suppress and hide from.

But it’s the only way to really heal mental illness, in my opinion. We have to accept our reality before we can actively play a part in changing it. But when you do heal — when you allow that to happen to and for you — that’s when miracles happen.

Getty image by pticelov