Before I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, I was a very trusting woman. I welcomed the world, and all the people I met, and they welcomed me. It was exciting to be so trusting, so open, and so free.
It has been years since I felt really safe and comfortable in the world. I feel safe with certain people and comfortable in certain places, but those people and those places are very few.
Because I miss the way I used to be, I am wondering if I can capture a bit of me, as a young woman, and my spirit, and train my brain to trust a little more.
I am taking two trips soon and I am very worried about the details. Normally, I think about a trip in steps; getting to the airport, getting on the plane, getting to the hotel, finding a place to get food so I can take my medications, looking around the neighborhood that we are staying in to see if it is safe. There are more steps than that, because each little piece of the trip becomes a step, and I mark them off in my head as each step or piece is accomplished.
In other words, there is no joy in traveling. I worry about each step, checking off each step, and as each step is checked off, I immediately start thinking about the next one. This is no way to enjoy a vacation. It is rather obsessive, and it strips traveling of all its adventure and fun.
On these two trips I am taking in the near future, I am going to try to relax. I am going to practice telling myself that as long as I have money, and my medication, that all will be well. Even if I don’t have money, I can get some wired to me, so again, all will be well. If the worst happens and my medication is lost or stolen, I can go to an emergency room, and tell them my diagnosis and a list of my prescriptions. Someone will help me. I am certain of it.
I will tell myself these things, and then I will try to enjoy. I will try to enjoy reading on the airplane. I will not worry about my arrival. I will try to enjoy the adventure of finding public transportation to my hotel. I will try to enjoy the days spent away from home and not think about every little step in the process of returning home.
I hope that if practiced enough, this act of telling myself that all will be well, can change my brain. The brain is an amazing piece of who we are, and who I am is not trusting. I want to be trusting, and enjoy the opportunities and adventures life brings to me.
These upcoming trips are going to be fantastic. I am going to have an adventure that changes my life (in a good way). I am going to try new food, and talk to new people. I am going to see art and architecture.
I have started the process of telling myself that all will be well. As I smile, laugh, and truly enjoy myself, the world will mirror my reactions. I can expect to trust and be trusted. I can expect to live my experiences to the fullest. I can hope to regain some of the self who was lost all those years ago.