Note: Rob McGuigan is currently working on a booklet containing a series of articles written about his experiences with Schizo-Affective disorder as well as information for people who have schizophrenia and their family members. More information about his booklet will be provided when it is available. He kindly agreed to let me publish this article here. Thank you for reading.
Sometimes when the world feels like it’s just all too much, and you’re tired of feeling down-and-out, when you’re tired feeling like you’re of living life strapped to a heavy load, remember what Lena Horne spoke of – “it’s not how heavy the load is, it’s how you choose to carry it.” You can spend your entire life feeling like a victim to this disorder and subconsciously intend to fruitlessly do nothing, for that is the strategy and the master-plan of the schizophrenic demon; to make the person of the illness and their loved ones feel forever helpless or doomed by this disorder. But you can also look at a 6 and think it’s a 9. So, in the same way, you can perhaps come to learn to look at schizophrenia in a different light too and learn to try your best to carry on with life as well. For somewhere inside you still hold your gifts, talents, and skills. Just because you were diagnosed with a serious medical condition doesn’t mean you have to give in to the isolation schizophrenia brings and forever hide away at home or neglect your potential. For when you get to a place of acceptance and come to manage your illness, then you can perhaps familiarize yourself with your God given potential. Sure, sometimes this illness does take away from the possibilities for achievement, but like Alexander Graham Bell says: "When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."
Schizophrenia does initially, take a big toll out of you, and you may find yourself adopting unhealthy routines and negative thought patterns that are hard to break free from. Sometimes, you can find yourself in a downward spiral, thereby you may not be worried about things like potential because you may feel you’re at rock bottom. But when there are downs, there are also ups, and there’s always hope, so it’s never too late to put yourself out there and try to face your fears and learn your potential. Like the author of “The In-Between” and artist Jaime Lang wrote in her blog: “Just show up. You don't have to be ready. You don't have to have it all figured out or know where you are going to go or what you are going to do, just go. When you arrive, you don't have to do anything except BE there. When you show up to things whether you feel ready or not, magic happens. You learn. You expand. Opportunities appear. You don't know what's there until you get there, but if you don't get there, then you'll never know.” (Dreams of July: Just Show Up)
People truly do understand that sometimes people need time to themselves, but it is how you’re spending that time alone that can get worrisome or produce second thoughts. Sometimes you perhaps must learn to put yourself out there and fail-forward, for you don’t want to reach and get stuck inside the point of giving up. After all, IF you are still breathing you still have a purpose here on earth. You’re still a tool in the shed of the world, yet it’s true for many that you may never come to know your true calling, but you will also never come to learn your true potential if you don’t put yourself out there. For it doesn’t have to be extraordinary, it can be putting down the remote and picking up a pen-and-paper or a paint brush. It could be putting down the laptop and picking up a book. It can be moving from the coffee table to the coffee shop, going from an online support group to your local support group meetings; anything that challenges yourself and puts you out of your comfort zone. Don’t let what other people think of you stop you from seeking out your potential, for like Nas says: “The World Is Yours.” Therefore, Don’t Neglect your Potential, for your potential can become your passion, and your passions can become your livelihood.
Recovery from schizophrenia may be tied to challenging your limitations and fears, for it’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity schizophrenia brings and think there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. But the more you let the negativity sink-in, the more misery it is going to bring, and the less likely you’re going to want to try, therefore, the harder it is going to get to break free from the cycle of negativity. If you challenge your limitations and fears, though, you may come to realize your potential, and when you come to realize your potential you grow into the person you were meant to be. So “Just Show Up.” Take things slow, but in sum: keep the faith, and don’t lose hope and Don’t Neglect your Potential. For like 2pac may say: “You got to find a way to survive because [schizophrenia] wins when your soul dies,” and like the good Unknown writes: “be strong now, because things will get better. It might be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever.”