Life with Schizophrenia: A Letter to My Younger Self
Article By: Greyon Fernandes
As my 24th birthday approaches marking the end of my adolescence, I thought I’d reflect on the grimmest but strongest years of my life.
Dear 16-year-old Greyon,
It hurts me to no end when I realise how young you were when it all began. A large part of your adolescence was stolen. Maybe on some level I’m trying to console myself by preparing you for the future. However, I know this isn’t possible. No one’s ever prepared for psychosis. Nothing can prepare them for what awaits.
Those blinding migraines you’re experiencing as you try to study for your final exams, those are symptoms of the onset of schizophrenia. So, take those naps, little cherub. You’re not weak for doing so.
You’re going to become a recluse. At first because of a lack of motivation but later due to the paranoid ideology that your mind was being read and controlled. That girl whom you really care for, you’re going to miss her granny’s funeral. That girl whom you don’t care for, you’re going to miss her granny’s funeral as well. That sweet guy who used to drive you places, you’re going to ignore catching up with him at the bus stop. That driven girl who used to take you on adventures, you’re going to avoid her invitations. As you heal, you’ll realise that it’s never too late to make amends. Those who care about you will understand the same.
Your mind is going to be saturated with thoughts that originate from the depths of hell. You’re going to hear things and feel things that are not there. This cruellest of disorders is going to eviscerate your love of children. This is going to result in fights, hospital admissions and slit wrists. In hindsight, it couldn’t have happened to a more fitting person. You’ve always been the epitome of strength.
You’re going to mistake your best friend, your brother, for your enemy. When the marriage equality referendum arrives, something you hold so close to your heart, you’re going to be too plagued with thoughts to vote. You’re going to envy your peers who are progressing academically while you experience turmoil. Chin up, little cherub and understand that the labyrinth that you’ve waded through comes with no accreditation. No PhD can compare to it. At best, it’s met with respect and compassion.
And as for the luck of the Irish, well little cherub, if you flick back through your history book you’ll realise that it’s non-existent. So, maybe you’re more Irish than you think.
Lastly, little cherub, you are going to be inexorably tested. The torture. It’s worse than GITMO. After all, it’s coming from within. It’s why the caged bird can’t sing. However, you see life as an adventure and an experience. You don’t allow yourself any regrets. Go boldly, baby.
About the author of, Life with Schizophrenia: A Letter to My Younger Self:Greyon Fernandes is a 23 year old college student from Dublin Ireland.Greyon Fernandes is a 23 year old college student from Dublin Ireland.