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What I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self About Life With Schizophrenia

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To the brave girl who lives every second of her life in debilitating fear of this world:

I wish I could have loved her better — loved myself better. She deserves to be reminded clearly about how strong she’s been. I am so proud of her for holding on. Her mind has her beaten down to her knees most days, but she only rises every time. It is OK to break, because life breaks everyone differently. Some of us break more often than the rest, and that’s completely fine too. I feel sorry for all the burdens that were put upon her shoulders. Most of them were not even hers to carry, but she felt torturously responsible for everything that went wrong in her life.

Some days, this disorder demands to take over her, but she fought against it all so dauntlessly. It breaks my heart to realize she was not able to see how brave she really is. She believed the burden of her illness was hers alone to carry, when most days all she needed was simply a hand to hold while she fought. She didn’t deserve to feel so alone, no one does.

The dark storm lingering ever so persistently over her head may seep into her soul from time to time to annihilate every bit of strength that she has within herself, but she shouldn’t give up just yet. There are better days ahead of her that she’s utterly deserving of.

She fought through all those tough years of bewildering detachment from the whole world and herself. She was convinced her life was destined only for suffering. To believe that she has a right to be here must only be blatantly implausible when the constant screaming of the vicious voices only say otherwise. I wish I had reminded her enough about how she will not remain under the control of schizophrenia.

There will be days where she finds herself in a brighter place that assures her of how much she has always mattered. To live with a disorderly mind will not always feel like a death sentence. It is going to take her a while, but she will get there some day and it won’t hurt as much.

We are all different and special in our own unique ways. There is nothing flawed about her or how her mind works. What she now has is a mind that makes her think and experience the world differently. There is nothing wrong with any of that. On the days that the voices in her head get louder than everything around her, the visions of people that stare from afar may make her feel unbearably reviled, she has to remember that it will not always be that way. She need not fear them for they are not real and they cannot harm her.

This is her story to write. Schizophrenia will forever be an on-going battle to fight, but it does not and will not own her. She cared and worried too much about taking up space in this world that she began to despise her own self, and her voice has only been hushed since. The suffering that resides deep within her mind still blames her from time to time, but her soul knows it is not her fault that her mind betrayed her own self and lost grip over reality.

When times get rough, it’s important that we remember to slow down and take it one day at a time. It can’t rain forever. The sun will rise and we can try again.

Life will not just possibly get better, but you will most certainly learn to cope better through every struggle. Some things in life may never work the way you would want them to, but that shouldn’t stop you from rising. Some days you shine bright, and on the others, you won’t be able to find the light. I hope you remember that in both instances, you matter. You have always mattered and you will always matter.

-Jahnavi Elango

Getty image by MStudioImages

Originally published: January 24, 2023
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