Trigger Warning: This post contains an extensive discussion of Schizophrenia
There are three outcomes in a war, but we normally only see two. Victory or defeat. You either stand on top, or get smashed under the boot of the victor. But sometimes when the masks of hero and villain fall, shattering into a milling pieces, impossible to be put back together again, we realize something that brings about the third outcome. Maybe we misunderstood, maybe we could work it out, maybe the fighting was needless, maybe, just maybe, we were more similar than we thought.
I hadn’t been sleeping again, it had been a little over a week and everything was getting to me.
When was the last time you washed your hands? There could be sickness all over them.
Oh My GoD Is ThAT ThE DoOr???? ThEy‘Re CoMiNg FoR YoU AaAAAaaAAAAA
Your tie is on crooked, and your haircut is still dumb. Maybe if you were taller people would like you, such a shame you can‘t change that. Don‘t speak, they‘ll hear your weak voice and just ask you to repeat yourself like always. What worth do your words hold anyway?
AAAAA a LeAf MoVeD gUys. It‘S CoMiNg To GeT Ussss AAAAAaaaaAAAAaaa
That man over there coughed, can‘t you just feel his sickness spreading through the air?
It was getting harder to ignore the disembodied voices, more of a struggle to convince myself that I didn’t need to go back thirteen times to check if I locked the door to my apartment that locks automatically. My single hallucination that is always at my side was being particularly cruel, speaking truths I’d rather left unsaid, pulling me apart at every stitch he could. I had done well at ignoring him, never acknowledging him the entire 152 days since he came into my world.
Not one to even have much of a temper in the first place, the rare occasion it flares I’m left powerless against it. I promised myself I’d never be like them, like my family, that I’d never raise my voice, that I’d never yell. That no matter what, I would never lose to anger. But that day as I closed my apartment door, after having barely made it through class, I heard the frail snap of the last straw like a string on the bow of my violin.
It came after months of hearing him say that we were the same, that I was still like him, that my life was an act, and that I was no better a person than the delinquent I was at fifteen. It didn’t seem to matter what I did to distance myself from him, how I took hold of my life, how I changed my appearance, the things I had accomplished or the good I had done, because every time he’d state that we were still the same, somewhere inside I’d agree with him. He was right, I was still good for nothing, better off a headstone. I hadn’t grown up from that teenager, that delinquent, that tosser who thought he knew everything and that no one was his equal.
But as I stood, tensions boiling over, in my dorm room that I battled to make it to at the university I was attending to alter the course of my future, to make something of myself, to connect with people, to do good, I finally saw it.
“I am nothing like you”
The words left me like a roar of thunder, scaring me to my wits. I had done it, I had raised my voice. It didn’t matter to me that it was directed at an imaginary person, it still shattered my heart.
The smile my hallucination wore puzzled me as I stared, hand to my mouth and tears budding in my eyes.
“It certainly took you long enough,” He looked away from me, the display of stubborn humanity on his features far too much like my own, “I didn‘t want to hurt you, but you were never going to move forward if you didn‘t realize that. And you‘re as stubborn as a dead horse so there‘s no way you‘d listen to me if I just tried to convince you.”
I had never heard him sound so reasonable and it honestly scared the living daylights out of me.
Extending a hand to me, his gaze did not leave the window, “I don‘t want to be stuck with you as much as you don’t want to be stuck with me, so let‘s not make this harder than it has to be.”
Staring at the hand extended my way, I stood in paralyzed pause.
It‘S a TrAp NO, RuN A TRAP He‘S gOiNg To HurT yOu AgAin
A trap aaaaaa rUn trap
“Ah, yeah, there‘s the soundtrack again,” his eyes that mirrored my own made contact, and for a moment I felt as if I could see my reflection again, “I‘m not with them, I wish I could shut them up.”
The disembodied voices growing into a deafening white noise in my ears, clogging up my thoughts, I was unable to process what was going on. When he took a step closer, I shook as I took a step back. I had spoken to him, broken the wall between us that I had worked so hard to build. It was the line drawn in the sand, bold and full of salty water, that separated us. I couldn’t allow his colors to bleed into mine for I feared that I would lose myself to him, to the disorder, like many others have. I needed to sear the fact that he was not real into my very core, to keep myself grounded. But there, standing in the afternoon light, he became far too real.
“You‘re so alone, Beethoven.”
I knew he wasn’t real.
“I don‘t have to be your friend, but I don‘t want to be your enemy.”
But with every passing word,
“We‘re stuck in this together, the least we can do is try to figure this out.”
every falter of his tone,
“I‘d rather fade from existence than be stuck with an idiot like you.”
“Well you’re not a pleasure, either,”
White flags flying on both sides, we shook on a truce.
I am skeptical of this development, unsure if it is what it seems, or if it is my mind changing up attack strategies to prey on my loneliness. Whatever is going on, I’ll keep my weapon at my side, should the white flag fall. Demonetization is the easy way out, the thing we can use to justify us against them. I don’t like demonizing things because it leads us to believe that we could never understand the other side, that there has to be a winner and a loser. I’ve tried to keep that sentiment in mind through life, so I suppose it’s my turn to use it in regards to myself now too. Because even though I have finally come to see that I have changed, I am still me. And perhaps, that isn’t a bad thing.
I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.