Blog: When Schizophrenia Fights Back

CW: Suicidal ideations

I’ve been doing so well.

I wrote in Psychology Today that I was doing well, despite being quarantined in the middle of a pandemic. That my medication worked well, and that I was okay.

This week, I found out that I was being furloughed from work due to COVID-19. I had to figure out how I was going to survive for several weeks with no pay. My dad is already out of work, and I probably need to pay the rent (or at least part of it) for a house I could never afford on my own.

I thought that school would be a breeze since I didn’t have to work from home. I’m not even allowed to use my work computer anymore.

On Friday, I set out to do six assignments and read two chapters (the requirement for one week in this ridiculous class). I read the chapters and completed three out of the six. When I started the fourth, the most difficult assignment, I started getting suicidal thoughts. My usual response to stress. Then I began to feel really paranoid. I thought I was gonna die. I was convinced a man was going to come to my house and murder me. I didn’t know him. I did know he was bald with a black shirt, carrying a trash bag.

I closed my computer and lay down. I had plans to do the rest of the homework when I got to my boyfriend’s house for the weekend, but I got a flat tire on the way. I stopped in a very bad part of Los Angeles. I was scared. I waited for the tow truck with my car locked. He came and he patched it. He was nice. He explained how the tire repair kit worked and what I could expect on my remaining drive (I was about halfway through a 45-minute drive).

I didn’t get to my boyfriend’s house until past six. It took me about two hours total. By this time, all the stress I had endured in one day sunk my chest. It started to hurt and I thought I had coronavirus. (I woke up this morning fine, no chest pains.) My head hurt. I was cold. My boyfriend had to stay late at work due to an emergency complication (he is an essential worker in the medical field). I lay there with one of the dogs, thoughts circling loudly around my head.

I was so disappointed in myself. I had been doing well, better than I had ever been, in so long.

My boyfriend is great. He’s had training on working with people with mental illnesses and says all the right things. There is no one better I could be with right now.

I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with hallucinations and paranoia (I don’t know if his diagnosis is schizophrenia or not). He’s on medication and walking around like a zombie. There are clouds in his eyes. He’s wearing pajamas even though he’s always dressed. It takes him a while to respond to me when we talk. His speech is delayed.

I feel so awful for him. I remember getting diagnosed with schizophrenia and the confusion I felt. I felt like a zombie. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t do anything but sleep. I remember asking myself if this would be my life forever.

I want to tell my friend that it won’t for him. But I don’t know that. Mental illnesses are so unpredictable and different for everyone. I don’t want to give him false hope but I want to reassure him as well.

I talked to him today. I asked him how he was feeling. He said, “okay.” Then he asked how I was feeling and I told him not well. He told me that he hopes I feel better. He’s a good person that doesn’t deserve this.

I talked to Sarah today over FaceTime. She is making a quilt. I told her I was feeling a little better, due to ignoring my homework and taking self-care measures like watching anime. (I must be feeling better if I’m able to write this.)

I feel like such a failure. Like I can’t do anything right. I was so sure this was not going to happen this time, with school. That I was better and I could handle anything.

Turns out I can’t. Turns out schizophrenia is an asshole.

I emailed my professor. He hasn’t gotten back to me. I called my psychologist to request a note for school to send to the Health and Wellness office. I can’t do it right now, and I don’t think there’s any shame in admitting that, I just feel really useless.

The time off will do me some good, I think. To recharge. It has in the past. These breaks work wonders for me.

I just wish I didn’t have to take them.