It's almost 8 am and I still haven't been able to fall asleep. This is unusual for me. I took the Risperdal at 10:30 last night and that usually makes me comfortably sleepy by my bedtime at 1:30 am. But not this night. Yes, I was thinking but not obsessively and I tried several times to relax enough to fall asleep. After about three hours of this I decided to get up. Hopefully I will fall asleep soon. It will upset my daily pattern but I think sleep is incredibly necessary for anyone who suffers from schizophrenia. I know now to pay attention to changes in sleep. It's funny but the smallest things can be an indication of either a problem or a need for some kind of change. We are not static beings. A prescription for health at one point in our lives may not continue to work indefinitely, hence the need for alterations and new strategies. I may or may not be at that point, it's too soo to tell but at least I'm alerted by this change to pay attention to myself during the next couple of days. I know it's probably nothing too serious.
I remember the nights I used to stay up till dawn when I was actively psychotic. I had little understanding of how best to take care of myself, instead I rode on the waves of my delusions and paranoia until I was exhausted and HAD to sleep. But there were many times when even exhaustion didn't matter. I've said that in my first year of insanity it felt like I was in a psychic boot camp. There was no place to really rest, not even in my dreams which were always overwrought. The voices hounded me and tested me and manipulated my perceptions and brought me towards the brink of annihilation. They'd attack, ease up, attack. They pulled me into hell on earth and guided me out of it too. I think for the longest time I was controlled by a deep seated fear of them that I tried to defuse at every opportunity. It was too overwhelming to realize that for a time they had control over me and my actions, that I was caught like a small animal in a trap and that's why I can feel sympathy for those of us whose mental illness leads towards harming ourselves and/or others. It makes me think of a quote by Graham Greene: "Insanity is a kind of innocence." There is innocence because the sick individual is too far gone to realize that he or she is out of control. And there's the innocence of being lost in some kind of fictional story line. I was a true believer in my delusions and paranoia and no one could convince me otherwise.
Now I am a true believer once again. I believe in keeping myself down to earth. I believe in acknowledging my illness and questioning my perceptions. There is a great sense of security for me when I take care of myself. Now I know how to whereas before I really didn't know. I stumbled and fell a lot but I also kept getting up. In my way, I worked a program, with the help of Al-Anon, myself and some of the voices. I feel as if somewhere along the line I signed a peace treaty with these mysterious voices and part of that treaty is to continue to take good care of myself while wishing that they do the same. And I believe that God has guided both of us towards a deeper belief in the essential goodness of all beings, a goodness that can overcome any adversity if we set our hearts and minds to it.
And now it's time for some sleep...
A Recovery Blog
This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.