Trigger warning: This post contains an extensive discussion of Schizophrenia.
“I‘m going to come out of this mirror if you don‘t start talking to me.”
I didn’t take him seriously, the hallucination in the mirror that took over my reflection. He follows me throughout my day, no matter where I am. For a hallucination, it has quite the personality, opinion, commentary, and attitude. It’s so human, I have to call it ‘he’.
A mirror between us, sometimes I can ignore him.
Though if I’ve seen him in a reflective surface inside the room in which I stand, I can still hear his voice calling out from that reflection until my eyes happen upon another. Simply walking away from the mirror, closing my eyes, doesn’t free me from him. A lot like what he stands for.
Self loathing is quite a thing to physically manifest before you.
I’m sure we all have a point in life in which we never wish to return, a person we’d rather die than become again. A no-good truant, a young man of little substance and much hot air, he is a person I tried to burn away into nothingness. I used real achievement, undying love, and heartfelt resolve to wash the stain that he was from my core. Or so I believed.
He jumps to remind me from his perch in the mirror that I’m still him. I’m still not a ‘good guy’. Whatever he means by that, I’m not entirely sure. Since it obviously can’t have opinions beyond that of my own, since it is a product of my own chimerical disaster, I figure it has something to do with feeling as if I don’t deserve to be anything better.
Self esteem has always been an idea far out of my grasp. I often joke that mine is so low, one couldn’t even trip over it. A nonexistence notion, I know it is the key to fighting this war within my mind. If it had been anyone else, finding the good, the valuable, the unique and wonderful, in another human, I could do it. I could easier find the good in the man who murdered one of my friends than myself. Though I can’t really understand why.
I made it my goal to achieve, for life is far too short. I honestly have no tangible reason to not find value within myself. Many achievements, academic and literary feats, accomplishment abound, I really shouldn’t be this way. I wish I had an answer for others like me, people who have reached great heights in the eyes of others but still feel stuck upon the ground within their own.
But whatever the reason, the cure, the way to understand this alien idea, I know I must find it, my overall sanity may very well depend on it.
I didn’t take him seriously, when he threatened to come out of the mirror. Ignoring him day in and out, he starts to get frustrated with me. I fear that interacting with him is a step I won’t be able to come back from, a leeway into further mental ruin. But it appears that he is unhappy with that decision of mine.
I’ll never forget the way his tone changed that day, from mockery to madness. The way his glare sharpened, the coldness in the room growing with every word from the reflection. As I closed a door, revealing the mirror behind it, he lunged out of it. For a moment in shattered time, I thought that I’d be okay. That he wasn’t real, he couldn’t actually hurt me. But then his hand wrapped around my neck and I was taken to the floor.
The mind is a powerful thing.
Being defeated, literally choked into unconsciousness by something that does not exist, is probably one of the most terrifying things I have ever experienced in my entire life. He felt so real, his grip, his weight, his warmth. I didn’t think my mind could conjure such sensory, such fear, shock, and terror, so much so that I’d drown until it shut off.
It was then that I truly realized how dangerous this was.
Plunged into another episode, it took me a while to come back from that. He returned to the mirror, continued his light mockery and commentary. But I felt a bit of me fade, a piece I had before that he had taken in his assault. I hoped more than just about anything that he’d stay in the mirror, that he’d never come out again. That I could continue to ignore him and he’d just accept that. But not even a handful of weeks later, the tone started to shift again. He started to complain about my neglect, threatening to come out of the mirror and make me fear him. Unsure of what to do, I pretended that it couldn’t happen again.
“You didn‘t learn your lesson last time.”
My stomach slid sideways as I turned to face the mirror. Hand extended toward me, the gun I once held so dearly in his grip, his dead eyes petrified me.
With that, a shot rang out that ended my world. Pain so great took me, I have never felt something that potent before. I didn’t even process the stimulus of falling flat on my back, everything else was so overwhelming. As the pain faded with my consciousness, I knew another part of me had been killed. My heart failed after that.
Lucky to have woken after that ordeal, I very quickly realized what had been lost. Numbness, emotional stillness, it was suffocating. He holds the power to destroy me, to take away something as personal as ones own emotions. Eventually I regained use of them, but it took a while.
I want to fear him, to give in and acknowledge him. But I can’t because like he knows me, I know him, and I know he wants to be feared more than anything else. Because to him, fear is synonymous with respect.
That can probably go for many mental demos that wish to rip us apart. They demand our respect through fear. But since being the equivalent of my own demon in life, I understand that the need to feared to gain respect is really a form of self loathing. That one feels they could never earn love, so fear it must be. But that’s exactly how you defeat something like that, love it relentlessly.
I am still unsure what I am to do with my own personal demon, but for those of you facing your own, know that you are not alone. That I’m here with you, also fighting monsters that no one else can see. And just because no one else can’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. So I’ll watch your back if you watch mine and together let’s defeat them, one at a time.