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A few nights ago I had the worst night I have had in eight years. I took more medication to try and get relief from my symptoms, but the medication seemed to weigh my body down but not touch my mind. It was like I was a sloth physically and an extreme action movie mentally. I hated it. I finally managed to get to sleep and when I woke up in the morning things were better.

I think about having schizophrenia and trying to describe my experience by writing essays. Addressing and trying to eliminate stigma is important work. Making people aware of what living with schizophrenia is like is also important. Trying to bring awareness to the hardships of many people living with a mental illness is necessary. All of these things are significant, but the world is big and at times dangerous and at times cruel. It is also beautiful and almost magical at other times. There is so much more beyond schizophrenia or any mental illness.

I often read blogs where the writers are concerned only with their world, their symptoms, their illness, their medication, and how their day is going.

Last week there were terrorist attacks in many parts of the world. People died. No more kisses. No more writing letters. No more summer days to twirl ice cream on their tongue. No more flowers, hugs or photos. Dead. Gone.

Schizophrenia is difficult, but many things are difficult, and schizophrenia isn’t the end of my story like for those who died in Turkey, Belgium, Paris, Lebanon, or California.

My story goes on.

I needed to take a few days to process all that is happening in our world. I needed to look at my blog, at my writing, at my priorities and find some balance. A life can be big or small. I want my life to be bigger than an illness that I battle. I want to participate in the love, suffering, beauty, communities and natural environment that surround us. I want those things to be reflected in my writing.

This is a blog about surviving with schizophrenia, and the best thing I can do is show people that life doesn’t start and stop with mental illness. I don’t want to be on a bus that has a destination of schizophrenia, and that is the only tour I take. I want to take the tour of love, of happiness, of creativity, of sorrow, of family, of marriage, of travel, or community and natural beauty. There is so much to experience and to see before the end of my journey.

Schizophrenia takes a back seat while I find a balance between the personal and the universal.

It’s not all about me. It’s not all about you. It’s about us, all of us. I’m looking for common ground that has trails that all of us can walk together – not just the trail I walk, but one you can walk with me.

Mental illness means something is out of balance, and I’m going to try to restore that balance if only in my writing.