The Year in Review

  • Ending out the year, I remember the last twelve months on a note of hope. It has been an eventful time in my recovery. Just a year ago this July, the Stelazine slowly stopped working, like a time bomb ticking off. The events of holiday season 2006 built up to the eventual blast-off in April, when Dr. Altman instituted the cross-titer from the Stelazine to the Geodon.

     

    Last Christmas has dimmed in my mind, yet what happened I remember now. On New Year's Day 2007, I called a long-lost friend on the phone, distraught over the news that Saddam Hussein was hanged for killing 48 people, yet no swift justice was carried out in Darfur. I couldn't watch the news without getting emotional. Any time I saw President Bush mouthing off on the TV screen I had to shut it off. The friend I sought out on the phone told me, "I'll call you back in two weeks, no, in a week." She never did.

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    Oh, I could've been coy-called her up to wish her a Happy New Year-but I was emotionally charged and had only that to give. We haven't seen each other in years, so now that another year is gone, I keep her at arm's length. My embarrassment at having revealed my shaky self to her has gone away, but in spare moments I regret that phone call.

     

    As 2007 ends, I celebrate a better year on the upswing. In February, I will be solely on the G. It seems to be working, because I take it every day, as prescribed. It has been a miracle: turned around my paranoia. In April, I'd told Dr. Altman, "my brain is fried" at the emergency session I scheduled with him. Within two days of going on the G., I noticed an improvement, and as I near a year later, it has gotten even better.

     

    So I tell you there is hope: the symptoms can abate or diminish when you find the right drug. I'm not saying it will be easy every day. However, the change I made in 2007 was the second major turning point in my life, after receiving the degree from Pratt Institute. Recovery is a slow and steady process. Often I tell myself, "Be patient." The waiting is the hardest part. It is best you are patient with yourself, because the change will come, not overnight, but slowly and surely.

     

    You may not have the faith, and that's okay. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep marching. You don't have to see the outcome, or even believe one exists, you just have to march your way into it. Re-read "November Revisited" where I quote Martha Graham on the benefits of doing this.

     

    As I write this, even I have trouble believing in the future. My goal is to move out of my apartment in January 2009. I give myself a year to save up the money. As with all goals, I'll rely on my support network for encouragement. I'll believe it when I see it: home ownership. The best coping skill right now is to distract myself from the outcome, and save the money each month, but not think of it and focus instead on my writing and my day job.

     

    My one clear intent in writing this year-end review was to give you hope that the tide can turn at any moment, and turn for the better. We're all in this together and I want to show you a better way. It takes a leap of faith that is sometimes not easy to come by when the future seems like a cliff on the other side of the Grand Canyon, one that only a daredevil could motorcycle across. Again, I urge you to start out by taking baby steps and setting beginner goals. I imagine this online community to be like that years-ago gathering of people holding Hands Across America, to link together and unite to support each other as we cross the divide between where we are and where we want to be.

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    I respond to people writing in from all over the world. If you would like to be interviewed as part of my "100 Individuals with Schizophrenia" campaign, I'd love to hear from you. I wrote in my previous blog entry that finding your voice is the best way to heal from the schizophrenia. It would be an honor to help you find your voice.

     

    For now, I'm going to sign off.

     

    I wish you every peace and happiness.

     

    Sincerely,

    Chris

Published On: December 12, 2007