Remembering the Journey

I came across some old pictures today. They were drawings I had made in high school; when I was just starting in the active phase of schizoaffective disorder (Schizoaffective disorder is schizophrenia + either depression or bipolar disorder). There are 4 stages to schizophrenia/ schizoaffective. The active phase is what most people think of when they hear the term "crazy." That is the stage where the more dominant symptoms are present.

In my case those symptoms included hallucinations, delusions, and a general inability to distinguish reality. I wanted to share these because the art I create now hold memories of the experience (I'm currently in the stage known as remission where there are less dominant symptoms and they occur less frequently), but these drawings came from someone who was actually experiencing these things.

I got through high school by drawing and then I threw most of my drawings away. The ones I have left are less emotional and graphic than the ones I got rid of. I had to get rid of them because seeing them and remembering what it was like would trigger an episode.

I think sometimes it is good for me to remember what it was like (from a more detached place though so I don't relive it). This is especially true when I get mad at myself for not being as "successful" as a lot of people my age. It helps me to remember that I am successful in my own way. In my own way I've gone through hell and I've not only survived but am learning how to actually live. and to love and hope and dream. That is my success.

When I was younger I was very into religion. I remember one of my favorite bible quotes was: Above all else guard your hearts, for it is the wellspring of life (I've forgotten the actual chapter now). I think I believed in the verse more than almost anything else. Somewhere I understood that if I kept my heart soft no matter how much it hurt, I would continue to live. Love is something I have always believed in. The creatures could break my heart all they wanted but only I could choose to turn it to stone. The strongest people, I used to tell myself, were not those who felt nothing, but those who felt everything and continued to love. I wanted to be strong. If I am proud of myself for anything I am proud of that.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for the evening.

Thanks for reading.

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