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If you take an egg, mix it with some oil, add sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and a few other ingredients you can make a cake. Combining these things together makes something wonderful. A treat. Something to sweeten the deal and finish off a meal.

I feel like my life is the same. My symptoms of schizophrenia, are the egg, the flour, the sugar, the oil, but when you mix all those things together with my love of architecture, my sense of humor, my passion for the vulnerable, my desire for justice, my empathy, my love of words, my very unusual laugh, my blue eyes, my reddish hair, my wrinkles, my relationships, my love of a great conversation, you get something better than the individual parts.

I am more than my symptoms.

The symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia don’t make up the whole of me.

I am a woman with hopes, dreams, a desire to maintain relationships, a desire to be productive, a desire to express my creativity, a desire to see beauty, a desire to feel and give love, a desire to change the world I live in for the better.

In other words, I am human.

Yesterday I was reminded by a reader that many of the things I write about are true for all people, not just those with a mental illness.  I responded to that reader that a friend of mine, who reads my blog, frequently says, you are writing about me, and I don’t have paranoid schizophrenia.

I think this is good news. I think this is wonderful news. I think this is earth shattering, shake up your world news. People with schizophrenia are more like other people than you can imagine! Great! Fantastic! I wish everyone could read this, because if they did, the stigma that is often associated with schizophrenia would dissolve. It would no longer exist.

If people could see me as a woman who has a mental illness and also see a part of themselves in me, then I would consider that a great improvement. It would be more than a step forward, it would be hundreds if not thousands of steps forward.

Remind me again and again how similar we are.

I will bask in the light of that truth.  In fact, it is so bright, and sunny and warm, I may need sunglasses and flip flops to celebrate.