I applied for a blogging job (writing about schizophrenia), and the editor said I wasn’t a good fit. I waited months to hear from the company, and I held on to hope all of that time that I might finally have a part-time job. So, I cried when I received the e-mail rejecting me. I received a gift from my brother and his partner the same day in the mail that said, “We heart you” so, thankfully there was a band-aid for my wound.
Considering I wrote about happiness yesterday and trying to love the negative along with loving the positive, I tried to love the news about the blogging job (it took me a couple of days to get around to even considering loving this news).
For almost twenty years I hid the fact that I have a mental illness. I hid my diagnosis from family (my husband’s) as well as friends. I didn’t tell people about my illness because I was ashamed of it. Then, three years ago, I posted an essay on Facebook and opened up to the whole world. That opening up, revealing my diagnosis, has not been a bad experience. I have met wonderful people, and feel that I have grown into a role as an advocate/voice for people with schizophrenia and other brain illnesses.
Hiding an illness takes a lot of energy and the shame and embarrassment behind the decision to hide it wears on a person, too. Coming out in as bold a fashion as I did (starting a blog, writing dozens of articles and essay and publishing a book) puts the focus squarely on the identity of illness. I was saying loudly, clearly, and to everyone that would listen, that I have schizophrenia.
While I was shouting to the world that I have schizophrenia I was also trying to convince and tell people that I am a wife, sister, daughter, friend, aunt, writer, student, etc. but I don’t think that message was nearly as loud or nearly as obvious.
Well, not getting the job as a blogger who writes exclusively about schizophrenia pushed me a way I have not been pushed before. From now on, I am going to introduce myself to the world as a writer first and somewhere down the line as someone with schizophrenia (if that even comes up). I am no longer going to center my identity around someone who has schizophrenia.
If I had landed the job blogging twice a week about schizophrenia, I would have to be thinking about my illness all the time, researching, writing and constantly trying to find ideas to write about. I am currently taking a class for writing non-fiction (something I regularly do), and I am not writing about schizophrenia. I am writing about my life as a kid, growing up, my family, mistakes I made, etc. In fact, every assignment but one has been about my life before I even knew I had a mental illness.
So, am I happy now? Do I love the negative along with the positive? I don’t know if I love the negative, but if you read this blog, you can see I certainly have reason to be hopeful and even thankful I didn’t get the blogging job.
There might be something to this theory about happiness after all.