If you really want to know what can get me through the toughest of days, besides my friends and family, it is the ability to laugh. I am not joking about the fact that mental illness is no joke. It’s very serious. It can ruin lives, in the saddest of cases very permanently.
I won’t let my mental illness take from me my ability to laugh. Either at myself, at my illness, or at the world.
Because lets face it, even though I happen to be a person who happens to have schizophrenia, I have foibles. I have flaws that no one, least of all myself, should not be ashamed of pointing out. And my schizophrenia (and my coping mechanisms) can make me do some pretty bizarre things. I can only deposit money in the bank if the number is a nice round number for instance. I will literally bring change to the teller to make it into a round number. If I get a cheque for $47.03, I’ll bring a twoonie, six dimes, a quarter and twelve pennies just because it makes me feel better. Of course what also makes me feel better is when the teller asks me if there is anything else for me she can do, I ask for a $20 000 loan because I have a good feeling about black. How I love the days when the teller has the awesomeness to say “Well, I have a good feeling about red.” I will of course tell you that the extremely appropriate thing to say in that situation is to declare that said teller “clearly doesn’t have a system.”
Yesterday I had a full blown stress attack. Nausea, dizziness. I could go to my room and sit after class and that was about it. The term has been hard, and my psychiatrist has been adjusting my meds and I am stressing over whether the dosage is correct. On top of everything the ESL coordinators have gone on strike, making my trips to campus very fun indeed.
So I found myself saying to a colleague that when you have days such as these, you kinda wonder if there is someone out there arranging everything just to see how much you can take. I told my friend that I suspected it was someone close to me and that they probably smile very sweetly and go “aww” when I tell them that something else has gone wrong. It is a perfectly wonderful paranoid thought, and you don’t have to be a schizophrenic to enjoy it.
Being able to laugh, even see my illness with humour, is essential for me. I don’t get a choice in the fact that unfair things will happen to me. (And unless you have experience with schizophrenia, you really can’t appreciate how unfair it really is). How I react to those unfair things is my choice though. I can’t claim to be perfect in that. Everyone has those moments. But I can choose to laugh at the situation, rather than brood about how unfair it is. That’s what I try to do, because painful experience has taught me that the other path is one of loneliness and despair.
It’s my mental health after all and I want to be the person who can laugh and see beauty in the darkest of places.