Since the day I had started writing about schizophrenia I didn’t know how I felt about it. Sometimes I could write helpful stories and that felt good and other times I felt exposed. It was like being a hawk that had a lot of small birds attacking him. “Why do I have all these worries about my writing, about my stories, my life; the things I’ve experienced that no one else has?”
Other moments I felt like a mouse in the fields. The symptoms creeping up on me. Scurrying through the grass with the paranoia of schizophrenia overhead, I just didn’t know when I’d have to dive into a hole to take cover from hallucinations, anxiety, or any number of things that could happen. Isolation was usually my way out. Taking the time to sort through what I was dealing with. I wanted to stop working sometimes. Stop worrying about improvement and just live out my days.
“Why don’t you write full time?” my wife Amber asked.
“It’s not that easy,” I replied.
“What do you mean?”
“I just don’t know if I can do it.”
“Everyone starts somewhere,” she said.
“Not everyone is successful.”
“You’ve done so well though,” she said. “You really ought to pursue it.”
“It’s not whether I want to, it’s whether I can.” We were walking on Scotland Road. It was a road of yesterday. I looked at the vibrant green fields with tall patches of trees centered at different locations.
“I’m serious, you have a lot of talent,” she said.
“I don’t know if I can keep writing. I’m running out of time.”
“You’ve helped a lot of people, Henry.”
“I write locally, for the hospital.”
“Why don’t you believe in yourself?” she asked.
“I don’t know.”
“You can’t listen to what other people think.”
“I’m not,” I replied. As I continued pushing my feet, the sand from the side of the road crinkled away. I had always liked that sound but I felt uneasy.
“Why don’t you have time?” she asked.
“I’m getting old. Aren’t we going to have a family?” I asked.
“You can still write.”
“How would I support us?”
“I’m the bread winner, remember?” she said.
“It’s a young man’s dream,” I replied. “How can I pursue writing while you work?” She looked at me with her fierce green eyes. She pulled me away from the road and we started down a dusty path to one of the fields.
“Young men’s dreams should be older men’s goals,” she said.
“I don’t know if I can do this.”
“What are your reservations? Just go for it, Henry. What do you have to lose?”
“I’m telling you that I support you. I want you to be happy.” I was breathing heavily. She faced me and put her hands on my shoulders. “You have to do this,” she said. “I’m not taking no for an answer.”
My eyes watered as I thought about the task ahead of me. My heart was on fire with adrenaline and the greens, yellows, and browns of the fields were mixing.
“Everyone’s fighting the same battle. You happen to have the courage to talk about it. ”
I looked at the pure blue skies behind my wife. “What if they don’t like my writing?”
“Then you at least put forth your best effort. And you can live in peace.”
Photo by The Next Web