It may be obvious that I’ve been on a long search for contentment. Or more Ideally happiness, though I know happiness is momentary and isn’t supposed to be long and sustainable.
Anyway, for the last few years I’ve been working myself like crazy trying to make enough money to improve my situation in the hopes that once I was able to do so I’d find a relative peace and comfort with my situation.
I thought it was about standing and money and where you lived and all the myriad ways people trick themselves into trying to find happiness.
It occurred to me though that I’m already really really privileged.
I have enough money to go out to dinner and have a couple beers. I have my own apartment and I have two computers and an HDTV and a really nice mattress. I have a family that loves me and I have several close friends who have my back.
A good number of people don’t have that stuff, they’re living in horrible situations, they’re out on the street corner with a cardboard sign and they don’t have enough to buy their prescriptions.
I have everything I need and I’m at peace and I’m stable which is something not a lot of people in my situation can say.
Stability is the biggest thing. People with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses have such a hard time with medications due to side-effects, inefficacy and a host of other problems, while here I am on a combination that, save for period moments of paranoia and delusion, does a really good job at maintaining my stability and helps me to be the most normal I can be.
The point of all this is to say that I have it pretty good and that’s a fact that I’ve lost throughout the years for fervor of trying to make more money and get farther and farther along with my career.
Granted I still have the goals of a house in the mountains with a nice girl and a dog but I need to remember that I’m doing pretty well and that I’d be ok if I stopped trying so hard.
I read an article on how to be happy because it occurred to me that money and love (the things I’ve been searching for almost religiously) aren’t going to make me happy in and of themselves.
The article had two main points. First, that I should be generous and focus on compassion. That means I should give my time and my abilities (and probably my money too) to people that are in need, and I’m starting by contributing monthly to BringChange2Mind. The second point was that I should have gratitude. That means I should be cognizant of how privileged I am and thank God or the universe or whatever forces combined to grant me such incredible gifts.
I know I’m blessed and I know I have a lot to be thankful and I know that there are people out there who have it a lot lot worse than I do.
I know that this realization will probably fade in time as all realizations tend to do but I’m going to try to help people and be grateful for what I have.
Schizophrenia is nothing if it isn’t an incredible engine in your mind making you conscious of just how you interact with people and the myriad ways they perceive you. I want to be a good man and I want others to value me and my work and my illness is the catalyst in helping people.
We’re an underserved population and people who are blessed but know the difficulties should give freely of their time and energy and I’m going to try to live up to that ideal.
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