Talk about horrific
This is an alternate reality story, which means I have put some real elements into a fictional story. Those of you who know me may find some elements similar to real life. However, some events are purely made0while others have a hint of truth in them. I aim to make this story as authentic as possible and hence have put in some of my real experiences into it. That said, any coincidences are purely unintentional.
Schizophrenia and anxiety has been a real ordeal and getting through it has not been easy. I just want to give a shoutout to every single one of you battling any type of mental illness and let you know that you’re not alone. And this is also a tribute to Amias, my real life boyfriend, to thank him for his unyielding support throughout the good and the bad days. I am writing this as an alternate reality partly because he’d asked me to imagine What Ifs. What if we hadn’t met that way? What if something else happened? So it got me thinking and I decided to write this alternate reality, as a tribute to our What Ifs. Enjoy.Listen to me!
No listen to me!
Goddamn no one cares about you!
Will you all please just shut up!
I willed the voices to stop. The whirlwind of arguments were like nonstop phone calls that won’t stop ringing. Worse still, they were in my head, but I could physically hear them. Like they’re talking to me. Except from very far away.
It’s been a while since I learnt the difference between a real voice and a head-voice. I call it a head-voice instead of a fake voice because to me they are as real as the cup of coffee sitting nonchalantly in front of me. I took a sip as though there weren’t about five different head-voices shouting at one another, and sometimes at me, and started on my butter-sugar toast. It was my favourite. I’d been craving it since yesterday. It’s a must-have every week and it’s already friday. I thought about the week I’ve just had.
It was a mess!
A LITERAL MESS!
HORRIFICALLY RIGHT YOU ARE!
You are horrific!
Ugh. To be honest most of what I had to endure was my dad who had passed out from high blood pressure when he saw the newly inked tiger tattoo on my brother’s forearm. Talk about traditional.
No, her father’s horrific!
No, her brother’s horrific!
For getting a tattoo?!
Will you all please just shut up!
I silently thanked the girl who just shut everyone up momentarily. I call her Rosette. Rosette is the voice in me who shuts everyone up at the end of an argument. Most of the time I forget what the argument is about because all the other characters in my head get sidetracked and don’t know what they’re talking about half the time. But I figured that’s all part and parcel of having schizophrenia. A doctor had told me I was having “thought echoes”. Which means I hear whatever I think. Sometimes there’s a lag between when I think it and when I hear it. Either way it is no less disturbing since everything is doubled. I think it and I hear it. It’s like having a sibling next to you repeating everything you’ve just said but in an angry, yelling voice. And sometimes, this sibling has a mind of its own, yelling random things that I don’t think I was thinking about, but somehow emerged anyway. I don’t understand it. Neither do the scientists.
OH DAMN THE SCIENTISTS!
See? Does that make sense to you? It doesn’t to me. And I’m fine academically. I know how much the scientists have done for the community. I just wish someone had a cure for schizophrenia. Or any other mental illnesses in fact. But the brain is complicated and everyone’s brain is wired a little differently. So I don’t blame the scientists for not having come up with a solution yet.
Who are you blaming?!
Blame the scientists!
No wait I don’t blame the scientists!
Blame the scientists!
Sometimes I try to interject my head-voices with a little truth about myself, like the fact that I don’t blame the scientists. But there are always voices that like to go against me. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I actually have an internal conflict within myself. Did I really blame the scientists? Or maybe I blame the doctors for having prescribed a medication that caused so much side effects I couldn’t even eat properly, I thought to myself as I chewed on the last bits of my toast.
HORRIFIC SIDE EFFECTS!
I COULDN’T EAT!
Yes I know you couldn’t eat stop complaining!
Of course you know I couldn’t eat you are the voice in my head!
Technically, I could eat. Just with a crazy amount of difficulty. The side effects of the medication interfered with normal muscle functioning so I couldn’t move my jaw properly. Neither could I move my tongue properly. Which meant it took eons for me to finish one spoonful of food. And food would sometimes dribble down the corners of my mouth. It was truly horrific. More than that, I couldn’t remove my clothes properly either. My t-shirt would be halfway up before I got stuck. But I found a surprising way around it. Apparently if I did something else like walking while trying to take off my clothes, I would be able to do it better.
So I would pace around the room (or the toilet, for showering), before I managed to get my t-shirt off. It was the same with brushing my teeth. I had to walk around before I could coordinate the left-right motions my hand had to make with the toothbrush. It had been quite a traumatic time, not being able to do things that a normal, functional 19-year-old would be able to do. But it was over. The episode was over and I am alive. I felt the tears in my eyes again. Every time I think about how far I’ve come I start to want to cry. It was in gratitude, of course, but it would overcome me and I would cry and crying in public is not a very nice thing to have to do. I gently dabbed the tears off with a finger. I took another sip of coffee. Here I am, having overcome those destructive voices and drinking coffee as any normal, functional 19-year-old.
The head-voices didn’t used to be just like this. They used to give me commands. They were small commands. Like “do this” or “do that” or not to do something. They used to ask me not to eat food because it was poisonous. But that was a long time ago. Or it felt like a long time ago anyway. Then one day the voices changed. From commanding voices they changed to thought echoes. I thought it might be because of the change in medication. But I doubt no one really knows why. I sipped more coffee.
I began breathing harder. Involuntarily. Shit. I knew what this meant.