I watched a video today by a life coach who has spent twenty years working with what she called, “creatives.” Her message was about getting unblocked and doing the work you are meant to do. One of the things she said was that some people have all the tools and all the resources, but they don’t do the work. I thought to myself, “that’s me!”
I have a writing coach; I participate in many Facebook groups for writers, I go to writing conferences, I buy resource books about writing, I have a writing buddy, and on and on but I have a difficult time sitting down in my chair every day to write.
I feel like I am one of the best-prepared writers that I know of who isn’t producing essays, or articles, blog posts, or working on a book. Boy, do I have the tools, though. At this point, I could easily be a writing coach for someone else, and I make an excellent writing buddy that is good at sharing resources, but there is resistance on my part to putting words on the page.
When do you blame the lack of motivation which is a symptom of schizophrenia, and when do you accept that you have something else going on? That is the thing with schizophrenia; it is hard to determine if you are experiencing a symptom or a variety of symptoms or if there is something else holding you back, causing anxiety, keeping you at home, etc.
I don’t think anyone thinks it is easy to have a mental illness, but the things that are difficult about it aren’t always obvious. I think everyone would recognize that psychosis, or hallucinations, or hearing voices, etc. are difficult to manage. But the other symptoms, like anxiety, depression, social isolation, lack of motivation, weight gain (from medications), health problems (also from medications) make creating a “normal” life challenging too.
I know that a lack of motivation is a common symptom of schizophrenia, but when I look back over my days where I haven’t accomplished much, I think to myself, “You are lazy.” When I compare myself to other writers, I tell myself, “You should be doing that too! Look at them; they are so much more accomplished than you.”
I think that self-talk is possibly the biggest hurdle of all because in that self-talk is the comparison of me to others. Most of the people I know on social media and in real life do not have schizophrenia (a few of them do), and yet, I find that I compare myself to them all the time. Comparing ourselves to others is never a healthy pass time, but it can be extremely detrimental when you have a giant obstacle to overcome that many people do not.
I like to pass myself off as someone without a mental illness. I like to blend into a crowd or participate in everyday activities with others, but the truth is, I can’t always do that. I am not capable of planning out a day and anticipating what my symptoms will be. I have good days and bad days. I have days where I am overrun by symptoms and days where I am almost symptom-free. How then, with this reality can I compare me to someone else…apples to oranges.
I don’t know what it is like to work from home with small children or to work from home with chronic physical illness; I only know what it is like to be me; a person with schizophrenia who likes to imagine nothing is holding her back. Well, there is a hurdle I have to jump every day, most people have one, but if it isn’t the same height as mine, or the same width as mine and my legs are shorter, and I can’t run as fast, is it the same hurdle we are jumping? Nope. I need to learn to jump my hurdles and stop looking in the other lane at the runners who are faster or can jump higher than me.