Swimming Back To The Surface

Restored Post from March 27, 2011—

Since the last post, when I was in a full-on depression, I was finally able to get a decent 12 hours of sleep, and then last night, another good 10 hours or so. I knew I’d be back, resilient as ever. Held onto that hope… I had been in constant communication with my psychiatrist, who has been terrific, and we decided to increase some of the tablets and rearrange when and how I am taking them. Apparently, I had been cycling very rapidly, from mania to depression and back–all the while I thought I was only depressed, down, and out…

I’m planning on doing another Real Me audio blog later today… If you guys have any questions, please send them in.

Aside from that, I have been taking on my responsibilities slowly, and mindfully. Yesterday, I had lost most of my iTunes audio books and several songs. I took the time to go into the hard drive and re-download everything to a safe folder, and then add them back to the iTunes library. Mostly this included over 300 audio books. It took a lot of time, but it was a good “OCD” kind of activity. I decided not to multi-task, to just do one thing at a time with short breaks more like every 10 to 20 minutes rather than every 1 to 2 hours. It helped tremendously, and now I have one more project out of the way!

Medication is extremely important. Since it was evident that my rapid-cycling moods were mostly due to the chemical imbalance in my brain, and not as much environmentally related, I needed to adjust the tablets. Yesterday, I felt like I’d rather be all dosed up with tablets and their side effects, in a kind of stupor than to deal with the minute-by-minute mood fluctuations. The fluctuations affect me, and those who love me. The effects of my moods are not fun, for any of us. It got pretty bad, yes, but I am definitely doing better, overall, these days–staying coherent and aware, etc.

At one point I just started to laugh in the middle of talking with someone close to me, and this person asked me why I was laughing. I went hysterical, and said, “Dude, this illness is freaking crazy, man. It plain sucks.” Then the laughter became mutual, and I headed off to bed shortly after.

Schizophrenia does suck. It literally takes over the consumer’s life. But… we have to laugh at it. It’s impossible to beat something you can’t laugh at, or even flaunt. At least, I can’t. So, as I said before, “If you can handle the depression, the mania’s awesome.” But it’s the mania that might actually be the real killer. It’ll never last, and if it does last, too long, I’ll get knocked over the head with the depression–which for me comes directly afterwards. So my new words of wisdom might be amended, “Don’t let the mania slip in for too long… Get out of there and seek some balance…” as much as you can. Get sleep! Take the medicine that you are prescribed and hopefully a dosage and kind that you and your doctor have agreed upon. Then the only things left are the side affects. I measure them based on whether they are worth having as compared to the symptoms of the illness itself, and then just deal with them, with the art of letting them go. Like an itch you are unable to scratch… that itch will soon pass, or you’ll get used to it in time. Second thing is the knowledge that sh*t is likely to hit the fan again at some point, so be hopeful, but be realistic.

You can’t cure these illnesses, you can only recover by managing them better, and accepting them, and if this makes sense, to actually love them. It takes time, my friends. So be patient. Be very patient, and realize what you can do. And recognize your limitations. Have all the hope you can dig up, but just don’t expect too much. I don’t mean that in a negative way. My point is that there’s a lot of room in life for disappointment. All of you, and myself included—we all have gigantic talents and strengths. Use them. Use them all you can, and just take it easy.

We’re all in this quest together, having mental illness, or not.

Jonathan Harnisch


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