I just got home from traveling a bit this weekend. It took a lot out of me, physically and mentally. It feels good to be sitting here, able to type this.
It’s been almost one week since I left the hospital, yet somehow it feels like just yesterday. It’s Father’s Day, of course, and I am missing a man who is an example in my life of some of the things my father couldn’t be for myriad reasons, one being that they’re totally different and separate human beings. Yes, I miss my therapist. It must be about two months now that he’s been out of the office. I feel a pit of emptiness his presence usually fills. It’s difficult for me to remember that people still care, when they are not right there.
Having been through multiple misdiagnoses before properly being diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder – Bipolar Type (I’m still on the autism spectrum), I’ve been considering a lot about what this means. This means I experience symptoms of Schizophrenia, and, in my case, Bipolar Disorder (there is another type which experiences Major Depression).
One may believe that the symptom of Schizophrenia that may bother me most would be a hallucination of some sort. Don’t get me wrong, command hallucinations (voices telling you negative things to do) in particular, can be very frightening, but my medication typically keeps that kind of thing at bay. However, I still struggle with the occasional (or maybe even more) delusion.
Delusions can be understood to be so, just in hindsight, for when they are occurring, they are not “delusions” to their person at all, they are very real. I won’t get into the specifics of any of mine because I find them to be very personal, and tell only those I trust (one reason it took so long for me to get a correct diagnosis). But delusions – often linked to hallucinations of some kind – have a person with Schizoaffective Disorder (and other illnesses, too) wondering what’s real and what isn’t.
Is this new person in my life a delusion or real? Do they really like me or are they merely an acquaintance, if even? Is this food safe to eat, or not: has someone tampered with it? Is the world “out to get me”, as it has been in the past, or is this the mental illness speaking? Why do I go about life feeling like Alice in Wonderland sometimes? Well, I know the answer (my diagnosis), but that doesn’t make life any easier sometimes. I don’t write this looking for pity, but for understanding and acceptance of this less understood mental illness. When I ask you for a reality check, please be patient and kind.