Reminding My Younger Self That I’m “More Than Enough”
When I was 10 years old, my homeroom teacher distributed photocopied handouts about depression. I scanned the faded bullet points: Feelings of sadness and hopelessness, loss of interest in usual hobbies and activities, lack of energy, sleep disturbances, reduced appetite, difficulty concentrating, agitation, etc. The handout said if we were experiencing four or more of these symptoms, we should be seeking help for depression.
What No One Told Me About Being in a Psych Hospital
My roommate’s wailing put me to sleep that night. Yeah, right. I wished it could, just like a real lullaby. Instead, I turned over and pulled the thin covers over my head, trying to forget what left me in a plastic bed in the first place. Even worse, this was not my first rodeo, meaning not my first psych hospital. It was my fourth. No, fifth. No, wait… I lost count.
Dealing with Schizophrenia in a Crowded Restaurant
When I wake up early for a doctor’s appointment, I treat myself to breakfast at a local restaurant. It is a friendly place, and I enjoy the chance to be in public and people watch. Also, this restaurant has a TV, so I can watch sports highlights to tune out the voices and paranoia. Watching TV, I’ve found, distracts me from the gnawing feeling that people around me are reading my mind. However, having a meal, observing fellow patrons and watching TV is not a simple activity when you live with schizophrenia.
Hygiene is one of the many symptoms that is frequently left out of the mental health conversation. This is largely because the subject is difficult to talk about — many of us feel the weight of stigma when talking about our bodies and our personal habits.