by Lamont Derrickson

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes schizophrenia as “a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling.”

When I hear the word “schizophrenia” I think of hard times I had growing up. It was always something that got in the way of most things I did or at least wanted to do when I was new to the whole situation of me being diagnosed. To me it’s always been a tough experience. I was scared to know that I heard other people talking or standing around watching me. It wasn’t easy for me to admit I had something going on with me but when I did I did whatever I could to make it work. I live with this condition every day and after a while it got better for me. It helps me a lot when I’m playing a game or listening to music, it keeps my focus so that I don’t have an episode. I used to feel like I was abnormal when it came to my symptoms, I didn’t know what these negative feelings were and it bothered me regularly. Seeing others deal with these same issues made me feel a little bit better knowing that I am not alone out here and it is okay to wanna give in sometimes. A support system is usually a good way to ease some of the bad vibes that transpire. I didn’t realize that until maybe a few months into me living with my condition but I had some very good help. I found that it is okay to hide in fear because it’s only natural and we are only human. Proper distraction is best for me, I like to do anything I can to keep my anxiety down. I’ll always have this mental status and I am okay with that. Living with schizophrenia is tough but it isn’t impossible to do, believe me I know enough to say this with confidence. I will be doing the best I can to survive and I have an obligation to someone that I will keep pushing and not give up. It gets to be a bit much with everything going on in my life but I am working hard for myself and for my sister because she is why I am pushing so hard. I made a promise to not let my life be overcome by my mental health and I plan on sticking with it the best that I possibly can.

Final words of advice I can give is to seek professional help if you feel like everything is too much to handle, I’ve had these moments and I thank the ones that helped me every time I survive an episode. Do not be afraid to talk to someone, the best way to live with mental illness in my opinion is the satisfaction and comfort of knowing that you have a support system in your corner.

Lamont Derrickson is the author of The Laid Back Schizophrenic: I’m Chilling With Psychosis, a collection of essays about his journey with schizophrenia. He blogs about living with schizophrenia here.