In the eight years I’ve lived with schizophrenia I’ve seen horrible days and I’ve seen days where the sun seemed to shine just right on my face and strike a certain happiness in my soul.
Throughout everyday though, I’ve struggled with my thoughts.
There isn’t a day that goes by where a bit of panic doesn’t creep up into me. In those moments it can feel like the world is against you. It can feel like you are the only person alive who is feeling that certain kind of panic but I’m here to tell you that you’re not.
Approximately 2.4 million American adults suffer with schizophrenia. That’s a little more than 1% of the population of the U.S. and although 1% doesn’t seem like a lot it’s certainly more than can fit in one professional football stadium.
Sometimes I like to think about that when I’m having a bad day. I imagine myself standing in a crowd thousands who each know singularly what it’s like to live with either debilitating paranoia or delusions.
These are people that are spread all across the U.S. in every small town and every place you’ve never been or never even thought of being.
1.1% percent of the population means that one in every hundred people has schizophrenia.
I like to think of it as some kind of special distinction and while I don’t want to equate my delusions to reality, me and you and every other person with schizophrenia is the one person out of a hundred that God chose to touch.
The point I’m trying to make here is that you are never alone. Even when it feels like the world is crumbling in around you and you’ve lost hope for ever pulling yourself out of a particularly deep hole, it’s pretty much guaranteed that there’s another person out there, if not many that are in the exact same kind of hole.
I’ve been to numerous schizophrenia support groups like schizophrenia anonymous and while support groups are all fine and good, there’s a certain air to them that feels competitive like you’re trying to outdo everyone else in the group with the severity of your experience.
Instead, I’ve taken a liking to a certain chat room on the internet for people with schizophrenia. You can go into it without judgment because you don’t see the other people. In essence it’s just words being typed into a window.
Those words have connected me to more strongly to the experience of living with schizophrenia than any support group I’ve ever been to though.
There’s something extremely freeing about not having to see the other people you’re talking to.
In case you’re interested and having a bad day and just want to talk the chat room is at http://theircvillage.com/chat/ .
It’s hard to explain what talking to other schizophrenics is like when there’s no judgment.
It’s a window into an entirely different world of experiences. These are experiences that you thought you were alone in but in chat rooms such as this you realize that those experiences are part and parcel of the schizophrenia experience.
What’s the point of all this? Just to let you know that if you’re suffering you are not alone in what you’re feeling and what you are experiencing. You never have been and you never will be. I feel comfortable making the guarantee that there’s at least one other person in the world who is in the exact same spot.
I know my words may seem cliché but they are true and it’s important to know that.
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