Getting the diagnoses of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder was a double whopper, without the cheese. I was driving south on the highway to my doctors appointment which sometimes took an hour and a half to drive to. Everything seemed like a chore because the illnesses were so difficult to deal with. The doctor was helpful but recovery was nowhere within sight. Schizophrenia had only caused me problems for the past seven years and I was reluctant to do much of anything. I was also afraid to disclose my diagnosis of schizophrenia to most people. I wasn’t certain how they would treat me.
I had the music on loud and I was drowsy as usual. I had been taking my medicine in the morning to make the day easier to get through. I liked to sleep most of the day and watch sports at night. I was driving down the highway mindlessly, passing a few cars. I looked out of the corner of my eye and tried to slow down. I knew I was going too fast. The cop began pulling out from his hiding spot.
“Why the hell do they always hide,” I thought. I looked in my rearview mirror hoping he was going to pull someone else over. No one else was really in sight but I was still hoping. He began speeding up and closing the distance between his car and mine. Like a good citizen, I put on my blinker, checked both mirrors, and looked over my shoulder before turning into the lane to the right. I had been in the very left lane of a four lane highway. Maybe he’ll just pass right by. Hopefully he has somewhere to go. He’ll just scoot right by me, no worries, no tickets, no nothing. Unfortunately, he also put his blinker on like a good citizen and followed behind me.
Damnit. Hopefully he just needs to get off the highway. That must be it. I hope that’s it.
The dreaded blue lights turned on, flickering in my side and rearview mirrors. I don’t think that’s it.
Wonderful. Now I’m going to have a speeding ticket along with schizophrenia. Things are going great.
I pulled over to the right another lane hoping he would pass by me again. I was proven wrong again.
He was tailing me now with his blue lights flickering and his blinker on. I finally got the message. I pulled over to the side of the road. I pulled over far enough so that he would be safe when he got out of the car.
“License and registration please,” the officer asked.
“Yes, sir. Here they are,” I replied. He walked away back to his car. Maybe he’s in a good mood today. Is it the end of the month? What’s the date… No, no the quota isn’t due.
He walked back to the car and I rolled my window back down.
“Do you know how fast you were going?”
“Eighty two miles per hour,” I thought. “No, I don’t sir, I’m sorry.”
“You were going a little over eighty.”
“Wow,” I said. “I’m sorry about that.”
“Why are your pupils dilated?” he asked. A ray of sunshine beamed down from what had been a cloudy day up to this point. I felt a little adrenaline, a ray of hope, a bit of life. I had to answer the question honestly. He was an officer.
“I take medication for schizophrenia…” I said in my most dismal voice possible.
“Oh,” he replied. His face flushed red and it looked like a tsunami of guilt had overtaken him. Just what I was hoping for.
“And where exactly are you going today?” he asked. I couldn’t have been happier to hear this question.
“My doctor’s appointment,” I replied. A few cars passed by and a rush of wind swept the highway. It sounded like the air of victory.
“Okay, so I’m going to let you off with a warning today,” he said. “Please be more mindful of your speed next time, okay?”
“Thank you and yes sir. I’m sorry about that.”
Disclosing my diagnosis finally paid off.
Photo by Nick Fisher