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Me with Al Gore 1996

Me with Al Gore 1996

It is true that I have schizophrenia, but I have also lived a life with interesting and unique stories. Schizophrenia has not been my ruler or my king. There have been times when schizophrenia was what I had to eat, sleep, drink and breathe, but not always. I’ve lived a good life, and on most days, you won’t hear me complain about the road I have had to walk.

The picture above is me in 1996 with Vice President, Al Gore. I am the one with the light hair.  We were working a catering event in Seattle where Gore was giving a speech. We had to go through a search by the Secret Service before work. There were sharp shooters on the roof at the event. During the speech, I kept walking over to several of the Secret Service agents and offering them food and asking about their jobs. One opened his coat and showed me his gun. I was such a flirt when I was younger.

Gore made sure that all of us working that night were lined up, and he walked down the line that we were standing in, and shook each one of our hands. Most people were telling him about their concerns or thanking him for one thing or another. When he got to me, I simply grasped his hand, and smiled.

A few minutes later, I asked if we could take a picture with him, and he said yes. After the picture was over, one of the Secret Service agents who I had flirted with earlier, whispered in my ear, you just hugged the next President of the United States, and as Gore was leaving in his limousine, I jumped as high as I could in the air.  I hope he saw my excitement, and my reaction. We all know how it turned out in terms of who became President.

My other two brushes with political events are presidential inaugurations. I was given tickets to the last two inaugurations, once by my senator, and once by my representative. My husband and I were in Washington DC to see our first Black President sworn into office. It was history. It was moving. It was something to see.  I have never been with so many people in one place in my life.  I have never felt so much hope.

I have hundreds of stories that make up my life so far, and only a fraction of them have to do with schizophrenia.

My mental illness has never been my whole world. For those of you who suffer with mental illness, or any illness, don’t let it keep you from creating memories and life stories. You are more than your illness, you always have been, and you always will be.

Here’s to life! Here’s to living!