Quick Note: About yesterday’s post and not getting the job. One of my closest friends said it could have easily have been ageism and not my diagnosis. She said she and her husband have both been passed over for jobs for being over 50. Either way, this is not good, but one (my age) I share with millions and millions of people while schizophrenia is less common and far more stigmatized. Anyway, I just wanted to make that update.
Today, was my day to get my blood work done. In a few days, I will find out if my cholesterol or sugar is too high and if the medication is damaging my liver. Those of you familiar with antipsychotics know all of the side effects. For the past six years or so, my sugar and cholesterol have been borderline – we will see how it goes this time. Anyway, I hate giving blood, because I hate doing anything that has to do with doctors. But none of this is what I wanted to write about today.
While we were in the hospital, there was a code blue. The loudspeakers (very loud) started blaring, “Adult. Code. Blue.” I immediately started to cry because I imagined somewhere in the hospital people were praying that their loved one would be resuscitated. I imagined the fear, pain, and suffering of people who may be one floor above me or even a few feet away.
I often read that people with schizophrenia have stifled emotions. When I am not psychotic, I do not have stifled emotions. I am empathetic to a fault. There are very few people whose pain I can not imagine or imagine their feelings. When someone I know suffers, I suffer along with them.
My whole life I have experienced hypersensitivity. When I was married to my first husband, I would occasionally cry myself to sleep at night, and he would ask, “Are you crying for the whole world again?”
I think it is probably common for many people with a mental illness to be sensitive to a fault. In my case, when I was younger I internalized everything and took most things personally, as I age, I do that less and less but rarely does a day go by that I don’t cry. I cry over the news. I cry over Facebook posts. I cry about disasters and wars happening in the world. I cry that people don’t have the healthcare that they need. I am a crier and a frequent crier at that.
There are times when I feel guilty for being sick and being the focus of all the attention in my house – like sucking all the air out of the room. But it doesn’t last for long because when I get my footing, I am a very caring person and won’t take advantage of anyone or let anyone feel like me being the center of attention is going to last forever or won’t be appreciated or reciprocated.
I just checked with my husband about this to make sure I am writing accurate information, and he agreed – I don’t take advantage of him and I am always very appreciative. I think these qualities make a huge difference in the caregiving experience and help our caregivers not burn out or feel under appreciated. I know people with schizophrenia are not always capable of saying thank you or showing their extreme gratitude, but my guess is when they get their footing, they will feel it. I don’t believe our emotions are stifled at all. I think we feel and feel deeply. Psychosis changes us, but if we are lucky, our medications will give us insight and insight can lead to a soft heart that is easily impacted by the world.