“I’ve been a schizophrenic all my life. This is somewhat unusual, considering typically schizophrenia onsets in a person’s young adulthood. My mom first knew something was wrong with me when I look at her and said, ‘Do you hear that?’ She asked me what I was hearing and then I said, ‘The clocks, all the clocks.’ This is obviously not a normal thing for a young child to say. I also had a great deal of imaginary friends, who weren’t so imaginary. My parents would notice me having conversations with these ‘friends’ in the back seat of the car.
I honestly don’t know if I was bullied as a child. I didn’t care to be honest. I had my own friends, even if they were only in my head. I saw purple aliens and a young girl named Kristine who was a heroin addict. I also saw (and still see to this day) a three-foot by three-foot blue and yellow spider named Humphry. He has been my ride-or-die friend all my life. This may seem odd to some people, but it’s the only life I’ve known.
When I was about twelve, my parents got me into therapy. Immediately my doctors noticed I had psychosis and a high level of paranoia and anxiety. I worked with my therapist and psychiatrist to better understand my condition. Again, the kids at school didn’t understand what I was going through and I felt I didn’t need their approval. I had a few friends who seemed to understand what I was going through. That’s all I needed.
When I started high school, I was nearly a straight-A student. However, by my sophomore year, my grades began to drop. I started hearing more and more voices, along with clocks and bells. I couldn’t focus on anything and my school work being pushed to the furthest corners of my mind. I felt like I was truly going insane. The other students made fun of me and isolated me in the school. It was at this point my parents and I decided I needed to get more intensive help then this particular school could offer.
In my sixteenth summer, I went to a day treatment program. For once, I felt like I belonged somewhere. This experience showed me I was not the only ‘troubled’ kid in the world. The doctors there helped give me the correct medication and proper coping strategies. During this summer, my family and I thought it wise for me to switch schools and get a fresh start. I went to a film high school in my area where I was more widely understood. At this school, being different was a requirement instead of something to be frowned upon. We were truly the island of misfit toys. It was one of the happiest times in my life.
However, when I was seventeen, I lost a very dear friend and teacher of mine to suicide. It was the first time in my life a friend of mine had taken their own life and it gave me quite a shock. When I first heard about it, I fell to the ground, completely stunned. For years, I tried to convince myself he was murdered or any other cause of death could be responsible. It took me many years to accept the true cause of the death of one of my dearest friends.
It was this experience which triggered me deeply and for the first time in my life, I started to consider taking my own life. Instead of being silent about it and succumbing to it, I told my family, who took me to the hospital. It was after this I was admitted to a pediatric psych ward which made sure I was safe and that my medications were properly balanced. It might sound strange, but the week was one of the best weeks of my life. I made friends who will live forever in my heart. We learned together how to cope with things like voices, anxiety, paranoia, mania (which I don’t have), and more. I left feeling a great deal safer than I did when I went in.
The kids at my school found out I had been to the psych ward and made fun of me for it. I decided to finish my high school degree online and I graduated ahead of my class. I decided college was not the right decision for me and held a string of odd jobs. I felt very lost but I had one friend who stayed by my side since my first year at the film school. This friend wanted me to be physical with him without being in a relationship and I told him it wasn’t what I wanted. When I wouldn’t give him what he wanted, he took it by force. He convinced me I shouldn’t report him for rape because no one would believe a schizophrenic over a college student. I believed him and even convinced myself it was my idea, ‘I wanted it, it was my fault.’ I know now it wasn’t the case. I never wanted it and it was never my fault. Still, I am haunted by that day.
Soon after, I got a job at a movie theater where I met my future husband. Let’s call him Jeff. Jeff and I became quick friends. His passion was Dungeons and Dragons, or any kind of game for that matter. We started hanging out and attending D&D meetings because we had nothing else to do. We grew closer and closer. Our relationship moved fast and before I knew it, we were engaged. To this day, I don’t believe I ever really loved him. I just thought I would never find someone who would truly love me through and through.
As time passed in our married life things became abusive. It started with neglect and evolved into mental, emotional, and physical abuse. I endured this silently, for I truly thought it was what I was destined for. All the while, I was hearing voices and believing I was seeing dead people. My husband completely went along with my delusions. I truly and absolutely thought I was a vampire and Jeff encouraged that thinking. The longer we stayed together, the sicker I got. I started attempting suicide on a regular basis and sincerely wanted to die. I also became bulimic for a time so I could be more attractive for Jeff.
Jeff constantly told me how ugly and fat I was, even when I weighed a mere 125 pounds. By the third year of our marriage, he had me committed to the psych ward once again so he could go game in peace. He told me so to my face. However, that psych ward was one of the best things to have ever happened to me. I remember lying in the sterile bed thinking to myself, ‘If you don’t change your life, you’re going to die.’
Not long after the visit to the psych ward, my dad showed me how abusive my relationship with Jeff had become and helped me get out of it. It was a long process to get a divorce, but one well worth it so I would never have to hear from him again. I focused on my mental wellbeing so I could be happy and healthy for myself and no one else.
After some time passed, I reconnected with the love of my life, Scott. Scott and I met when I was nineteen and we remained friends for a great deal of time. However, when we reconnected sparks flew and we knew we were destined for each other. We fell deeply in love, as we are to this day. I thought I would never find a partner who would accept me for being mentally ill but he does! He loves me, voices and all! Scott sees me for me, not my illness.
Through all this, I have learned I have to put my mental health first and even though it’s been a long road, I need to learn to love myself. I have found the love of my life who will support me through anything and constantly reminds me of the true beauty of life.
In many ways, I’m grateful I endured so much because now I can see so much beauty in the world. I am a truly blessed person because I have known more love in my mere 30 years than most people know in a lifetime. Now I am happily married with a YouTube channel and a blog I write daily. My husband and I have a little dog named Dobby and we are a family!
If my life lesson can teach one thing, I hope it’s that everyone deserves true love and beauty in their lives and should never settle for less, no matter what adversities stand in your way. I may be a schizophrenic with an abusive past but I have true and absolute love! Who could ask for more? Now I just dream of creating a community of people who can feel safe with their mental states, a place of support for people from all walks of life.
No matter what life has in store for you, always remember you deserve true love and there is so much beauty to be seen in the world! Love yourself and love those around you. Be kind to yourself and know you deserve to be treated like royalty. Life is too short to feel belittled. Spend your days feeling empowered, seeing the beauty in the world!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by R.G. Tanner. You can follow their journey on Instagram and YouTube. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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