Things in my life seem to take the characteristics of waves.
What happens is that, feeling stagnant, I’ll start to take on projects or set goals for myself in an attempt to break the nothing feeling, and, realizing it feels good to improve myself and get out of the funk, I’ll say yes to more things.
During this time I’ll get excited about potentialities, I’ll start dreaming of life with all these new facets that I’ve learned and new things that I can be proud of.
It’s a thrilling feeling so I’ll try to do more things until inevitably I’ll get to the point where my brain just blitzes out and I can’t handle the responsibilities I’ve taken on any more.
At that point I’m forced to quit what I was doing to regain a handle on myself and just chill the hell out.
Eventually, though, I’ll feel stagnant again and the cycle will repeat.
My mom has always said, in regards to my illness, “You know what you can handle.” And I do, but sometimes I forget that it’s all too easy to lose myself.
Because of this, the illness has been an exercise of learning to pull back. That is, learning to evaluate where I am with things and let things go if they’re too much, or if I find myself trying too hard.
This is an almost constant process, not only with projects that I take on but with things like being in public, talking to people, or even just spending too much time and trying to do too many things on the internet.
Most of the time I’ll lose sight of things for a week or two and frustrate myself until I realize that I need to take a step back.
I don’t necessarily think this is a problem stemming from my mental illness, as I can imagine many many other people do the same thing, but when you hit a wall with schizophrenia, it’s a total knockout and it can cause some scary stuff like paranoid delusions, depression, or even psychosis.
You have to be very careful with this stuff and it’s a delicate learning process. 16 years out and I still don’t have a firm grip on things, but I’m always getting better. Everyday is a new learning experience.
I think the point of all this is to say that it takes time to recognize the waves in your life.
I think everyone experiences some variation of what I’ve described and getting a handle on the way you do things is, seemingly, a part of growing up.
Life is a long series of learning experiences and we can choose how to act and how to react to the things we’re presented with.
We can choose to take action and we can choose to let things go, and learning when to do either of those things is a pretty intensive process.
It’s ok to get overwhelmed and it’s ok to feel stagnant but I think the goal is to create a life for yourself that is a healthy balance between too much and too little.
Just enough to keep you engaged, but not so much that you burn out.
Overall, I’m still learning, and I think that’s good enough. I’ll get there someday.