April 12, 2005

Living with Schizophrenia

Hiya all. I'm back! I can't promise I'll write a lot, or regularly, but I can promise to do my best. Meanwhile I can tell you that our book, which will be published by St Martins Press in August or September and called Divided Minds : Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia , is in production now. We have finished the copyediting stage and proofreading and just got all the permissions for use of photos in and...and...and...well, what more could there be? Next step is the galleys, unbound copies of the book, essentially, which are sent out to various people -- I guess reviewers and buyers and potential writers of a forward and so forth, dunno all the ins and outs but basically the book as it will be without the cover. Then, finally, the book will be available to one and all, through Amazon and other outlets. BTW, it's already listed at! (see the above link)

Now onto the subject of my entry: One aspect of life with schizophrenia is its unpredictability. I never know how I will feel, what I will be able to do, what my state of mind will be from moment to moment, hour to hour, let alone day to day or week to week. Any future plans, therefore, are impossible. Friends, good friends, friends who truly know and care about me, know that it's best to call and ask, "Would you like to come over this morning?" for example, rather than to suggest a visit several days in advance or even a few hours later, because I am apt to suddenly switch from being eager for a visit to being in a bad mood, or feeling unable to converse, or being slowed down and incapable of much movement at all. This is why, or one reason why I cannot work at any regular job -- because of my complete lack of predictability, even to myself. I cannot even count on writing n number of hours a week or month, let alone per day. No way could I write a book to a schedule, unless I had years to do it in, and even then it might be too much pressure. The one being published now took me ten years!

So while I have never considered myself spontaneous, I have perforce become a creature bound to impulse and spontaneity.

The other aspect of this is that the only way I can get myself to do anything is if I can find a way to make it enjoyable. If I find a task boring or displeasureable, invariably I will put it off and put it off until it never gets done: the bill goes unpaid, the room grows filthy, the food goes rotten, the friend gets angry etc. But if I can make it fun, I can do it. So I try to find a way to enjoy it, or do only those things that are in some way pleasureable to me. So I've become, me, to whom hedonism is disgusting, a person who only does things for pleasure.

And this is because of the unpredictability of schizophrenia, the fact that I cannot tell how I'm going to feel or be from one moment to the next. In short, I've become a person who "only does what she wants when she wants to do it" and I can't say I'm proud of it, but it is what it is.

The next time I write I want to write about the advantages to living eternally in the moment, to living in the present, being unable to have a foot in the future, and having in some sense no real past to speak of.

Posted by pamwagg at April 12, 2005 07:20 PM


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