When I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, the hardest part of coming to terms with it was the difficulty of managing the voices that come and go. Medication plays a large role in keeping the auditory hallucinations at bay, but much of the work comes from the therapeutic ways that I cope with it on a daily basis. Having a thought disorder comes with a lot of stigma, and telling people that I am hearing voices initially made me feel vulnerable to being seen as “crazy” or “nuts” or “psychotic”. However, by using humor, coping skills, a strict medication regimen, and being honest with my treatment team, I have learned how to quiet the voices.
Throughout my life, I always felt different, and I never knew why. Growing up, I felt this lingering and persistent feeling like I didn’t belong or fit in anywhere. I was torn between wanting and not wanting to belong. It felt confusing.
I have always taken solace in my art, music and writing. It seemed to be the one place where I could shine, where I could say a big “stuff you” to all who either ridiculed or rejected me.
Being outrageous was my defence. That was when I wasn’t retreating into my shell of vulnerability and fear. Fear of what? I wasn’t really sure.
In spite of all this, there were times when I was the life of the party with the other kids. I had this little gang of girls in primary school who I had fun with, and another kid, a boy, who I had a close, but tumultuous friendship with. He was like me in many ways.
My friendships were like my Bipolar. Up and down. There one minute, gone the next.
I could never accept myself purely as I was, and I think that is sad.
The Rambling Crazy Old Woman was created because my perception is that some of the “normal” people think that we are crazy. After an intense therapy session in which discussing old age was the subject, I was driving home and the poem began to take shape. In probably an hour’s worth of time, the poem was done. I thought a lot about the poem and realized that it wasn’t the whole story. Thus I wrote “I Don’t Mind”. As I grow older, I have made a choice to become more of the woman that is reflected in the poem “I Don’t Mind”.
Rambling Crazy Old Woman
There are times in my life when my creativity focused on journaling about my childhood torture and abuse. Somehow I have survived that time and also as an adult. This poem describes, without going into graphics, the childhood, the tortured mind of an adult and the healing that is always ongoing. I hope that these glimpses into my life give others encouragement to continue on even when they believe they can’t.
The word “genesis” can vary slightly in meaning and usage; however, its most commonly used to denote a specific thing’s origin or beginning. So for me, on the cusp of my 30th birthday, acknowledging and dealing with what, looking back, felt like such a heavy burden of unintended self-destruction and hopeful “repair”…to be invited to a place specifically called “Genesis House” sounded at once, both intriguing and frightening. Having little information pertaining to what exactly this place was or it’s exact function, not knowing what being a member of a “clubhouse” actually meant and not to mention the foreboding social implications of joining such a place, I found myself agonizing for weeks just to take my first steps into “Genesis House” for a tour. It seemed the more I blindly wondered at the potential benefits of the clubhouse, the more I questioned myself and my will to try again.
The longer I waited, and more aptly, avoided stepping foot into the modest, gray, two-storied building in tiny Fowlerville, MI, the more deluded and anxious my thoughts became. But…I knew that I needed more than just an occasional visit to a therapist. I knew that I needed more than the benefits medication could provide. And what’s more, I knew that I had disappeared into myself for months and with each passing day the more removed from being what I used to call “on track” I became. When I could finally no longer justify my hiding, with support from a peer, I conjured up enough gumption to step out and just…try. Finally pulling up to that modest, gray, two-storied building in tiny Fowlerville, I remembered that the origins, or genesis, of many great things start from modest and humble beginnings. And that’s exactly how I took my first steps into “Genesis House”.
Ask anyone who’s suffered from drug and alcohol abuse and they’ll tell you that overcoming addiction is no easy task. It requires strength, dedication, and unwavering willpower to pull yourself up from your lowest low and get your life back on track. Somewhere on the road to recovery you’ll begin to have a clearer picture of the difficulties ahead. Relationships with friends and family may be bent and broken, money might be scarce and bills will need to be paid. If you’re worried about getting back on your feet financially, here are a few tips to ensure your recovery also helps your wallet.