I Don’t Hate You; I’m Schizophrenic

I am finding it difficult to connect with people with age. It could be a personal problem. It is never my intention to blame a behavior flaw on my mental illness in an effort to make excuses. I hate when people do that. When they ask people to be empathetic towards them because they have a mental illness. I don’t believe in special treatment; I believe in special abilities.

But I am lucky that I have made a few friends who have paranoid schizophrenia. I am lucky because (1) most people with schizophrenia don’t know anyone who can relate to them at all and (2) some people with schizophrenia don’t have friends. I can ask them things. We talk about our issues and our accomplishments and our brains. I walked with a friend once through a California college campus, trading stories about Seroquel and chatting about the physical ramifications of nicotine on a schizophrenic’s brain. We don’t get to do stuff like this. It’s not anxiety or depression or bipolar disorder where there are advocates on every corner talking to each other. Very few schizophrenics want other people to know we have schizophrenia. We hide in the shadows, waiting for the next reporter to define a mass shooter as schizophrenic on national television. We don’t say things like I HAVE SCHIZOPHRENIA

I am lucky that I get to ask them, “do you hate people?” and the answer is “yes.”

Let me back up. We don’t hate people. We just…can’t, with people. Not all people, but a lot of them. Our brains are not designed to deal with the pressure that loved ones put on each other. Our experiences with our illness as it relates to society have caused us to run away from people. To avoid making any type of real connection with people in fear of judgment or condemnation. It is easier for us, to just stay away from people. To be alone. To not insert ourselves into any situation or relationship that will cause us stress, ultimately pulling us from the sanity we have enclosed ourselves in and dropping us six feet beneath the red ball of insanity. We do not have the capacity to deal with the everyday life of those who smile all the time and we live in fear of that next bout with psychosis every minute. What will it be like? How bad? How long will it last? Will it kill me?

Please don’t kill me.

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