Wounds that won’t heal

Today I went to see a show. It was spectacular. It starred an old friend of mine from school. We lost touch, we haven’t spoken in years…

I was reminded today of how it ended. Of how, had I known about my schizophrenia back then things could have been so much different, but I didn’t know…neither did she.

Like with her, I’ve lost so many friendships to this disease, so many people have come and gone from my life.

And it hurts. Every single one of those lost people is a wound that won’t heal…if only they had known, if only I had known. But I didn’t. And neither did they.

And now, now it is too late, whatever chemistry there once was is now gone and the gap in years cannot be made up.

So I am left with the people I meet…yet I cannot start by saying “hello, I am schizophrenic” or that would drive them away, so do I start with a lie? When exactly is the right time to say it? For if they do not know, then the outcome can only be one, the one I’ve always known…

we need more awareness about mental health, about schizophrenia. So that there is more understanding, so that I can be upfront about it and not have to fear the worst….

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Him, Her and the Voices

NOTE: The following is a play based partly on experience. It offers insight into the schizophrenic mind.

Act I Scene 1

[He storms into the room and slams the door.]

HIM [yelling at the top of his voice]It can’t be! Yet another time. For heaven’s sake, how can this be possible? [lowers his voice to normal volume] Why, why does this keep happening to me?

VOICE 1 Because, you bring it upon yourself. It’s your fault!

HIM [He shakes his head] No. It can’t be. It’s them, it’s all their fault, they do this to me. I just suffer. They are useless, hopeless, ignorant bastards. Always attacking me, always hurting me. I do nothing wrong. I can’t stand this any more.

VOICE 1 Then don’t. End it. Have the courage, go on, it’s easy.

HIM [looking scared] What do you mean? End them or end me?

VOICE 1 Yourself. It’s not worth carrying on, you know it, you said so yourself. Finish it. Go on, have some guts for once and kill yourself. Stop wallowing around in self pity and end your miserable life, what are you waiting for? What do you think is going to happen?

VOICE 2 Don’t listen to him. That will not solve anything. It is simply running away from the problem. You are stronger than that, face up to the trouble and it will get better.

HIM [with violence in his voice] When? When will it end? It keeps going on and on and on. I keep telling myself it will ge better, but it doesn’t, it won’t. They all hate me, and I hate them back. Nobody cares about me, and to be honest, if I did kill myself, who would even notice? Who would care? I don’t care any more about anything, maybe I should do it.

VOICE 1 [viciously] Look at yourself, you pathetic weasel. You can’t even kill yourself. You do nothing right. No wonder nobody likes you, no wonder nobody cares about you. You’re scum, you’re worthless and you deserve to die alone. Soon you will start crying no doubt. Always complaining, always somebody else’s fault. You’re just a poor little victim. Pathetic. Enough. At least have the decency to end your life.

VOICE 2 What would that solve? What is you want most? To be loved. Will you get love if you are dead? Either you take the religious approach, where you go to hell to eternal damnation and suffering, or you take the scientific approach, where you become dust. What happens then? Nothing. No love, in either of them. So, if you kill yourself, do you get what you want?

VOICE 3 There is another alternative. You could kill them. That would solve the problem, don’t you think? You can make them pay for what they have done to you. And, if it all goes wrong, just kill yourself to escape. You’re thinking about it anyway, so why not?

[He clutches his head in his hands and kneels down. Then shakes his head violently, repeating “no, no, no”]

HIM Go away! Leave me alone!

ALL THE VOICES We’re not going anywhere, we are here to stay.

HIM I can’t think properly. I..I…don’t know what to do.

VOICE 1 [simultaneously with Voice 2 and 3 below] Kill yourself.

VOICE 2 Stop, do nothing.

VOICE 3 Kill them.

HIM NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Enough. Please God, help me, deliver me!

[His face turns, bloodlust in his eyes]

HIM Perhaps I will. Enough is enough.

[He grabs a dagger from the table and takes it to his chest.]

VOICE 1 Do it! Come on, show some courage, end your life!

[He breathes in and out, inhaling and exhaling ever faster]

VOICE 1 C’mon, do it, you can end your life, just plunge the knife, one inch at a time, a little bit deeper with every breath and you will be done. Take the step into bliss, and freedom. Do it!

HIM No, I can’t. I don’t have the courage, I wish I did, but I don’t. [Throws the knife on the ground.] I’ll just carry on, until the end of time, miserable and alone. Crying into my own pillow, soothing myself to sleep…even if there is no point carrying on I will…

Scene 2

[A knock on the door. The door opens. She walks in.]

HER What’s going on? What’s wrong?

HIM I…I..help me.

HER Is it them again? The voices?

[A silent nod.]

HER Don’t worry, I’m here, I’ll help you, I’ll take care of you. Whatever they are saying, don’t listen to them. Remember! Don’t do anything they say, and come straight to me. Look for me, call me. I will be there for you. What happened, what’s wrong?

HIM I-I can’t. I don’t want to talk about it.

HER Please, tell me. Keeping quiet does not help, talking about it will. If you tell me, it will help you feel better, you will feel less alone. Don’t worry, I will always be here.

[She walks towards him. Him, still on his knees, leans in towards her. She kneels down and embraces him.]

HER There, hold on as tight as you wish. I am here, they can’t hurt you, I’ll protect you.

HIM I love you.

HER I love you too.

END