My friends get stuff done.
They all work, some work and go to school, they have hobbies, they keep up on the latest series on television (I am years behind), they go to the gym, they meet for happy hour, they meet for brunch. They can sing the latest music (I stopped listening to new music in the 90’s), and as far as I know they all keep a tidy house.
If I have one task for the day, that is all that I can manage. If my husband needs cupcakes made for his office, or needs me to do laundry, that is about as much as I can put on my schedule for a day. If I have an outing with a friend, or group of friends, forget it, I am done for the day.
I have known for a long time that some of my symptoms of schizophrenia have been getting worse with age, and one of those symptoms is socializing. I simply am not as interested in socializing as I was when I was younger. I turn down more offers to get together, than I accept. It is not uncommon for me to have an anxiety attack while I am socializing. It amazes me that I went to the largest writing conference in the country (AWP) and talked to hundreds of people every day for several days and didn’t once feel overwhelmed. Actually, I told jokes, stories, etc. and laughed on and off the whole time. But that is unusual.
Like I said, I have been aware for a long time that many people with schizophrenia, give up socializing, but what I didn’t know until today is that inactivity is a symptom of schizophrenia. I could have cried when I read it. I have beat myself up for several years thinking that I am lazy, but the truth may be a little more complicated and depressing than that. Inactivity, like socializing, may be another symptom of my illness that is progressively getting worse.
I would like to be a go getter. I would like to be incredibly productive. I would like to be a high achiever, but the amount of things I can and do get done in a day has gone down considerably over the last five years.
The truth about my life is that I spend almost every day in complete silence inside of my home. I don’t turn on the television. I don’t turn on music. I don’t go out and see friends. The only person I see most days of the week is my husband when he gets home from work. I do talk on the phone to my brother for about an hour once or twice a week, and I talk to my mom and dad (they have been divorced since the 70’s) five days a week.
Even though the majority of my day is spent alone and in silence, I am not bored, or lonely. I think most people without schizophrenia would be uncomfortable with my lifestyle, but I am not uncomfortable at all.
It is a suit that I wear that fits quite well.