People are always surprised when I tell them I have schizophrenia. They even go as far as to argue with me as if my doctors have no idea what they’re talking about. “You can’t possibly have schizophrenia,” they say. “I know schizophrenics; you’re nothing like them.”
I look out at the water crushing its own dreams. It’s dark. The lights along the pier are not bright enough to illuminate its pollution-ridden surface and the full moon is hiding somewhere behind the smog. I’m squatting because everything I’m wearing is new, including my shoes.
“Dangggg baby, back at it again with the maroon Vans,” he says.
I laugh. He makes me laugh a lot, and it’s not one of those laughs you push out in your day job to humor someone, while plotting to kill them. You only hear this brand of sound after 5 PM and on weekends.
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When she tells me to do something, I feel like she is talking down to me. I don’t know if she really is, but it probably doesn’t matter, because she’s spoken to me in this manner so many times that I can’t erase how she’s treated me from my mind to discern what is past and what is present. Even if she’s not talking down to me now, I know she’s spoken down to me before, and she never apologized, so it’s kind of a moot point, this bullshit side effect of paranoid schizophrenia where I tell myself I’m perceiving things incorrectly because I’m fucking crazy.
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.
I once had a boss – well, I have a boss – who believes that embracing diversity is the key to any great team’s success. He works for a company whose main mission is to honor its own humanity, so even though this is Corporate America, I am inclined to believe that he is not full of shit. He is likely the best boss I’ve ever had, and the best boss many would ever have, but his integrity as a leader is an entirely different, detailed matter.