It started at 32 — my scattered life. I joined Debtors Anonymous to deal with a problem of spending too much and not being able to make ends meet. I felt a lot of shame about my financial situation and I never talked to anyone about it, though all my friends new I was the one with chronic money problems. I kept my membership in the followship a secret from friends and family.
At 37 schizophrenia found me, took my job and whatever semblance of sanity I had built around finances and added a host of new problems. Delusions, hallucinations — the hallmarks of the illness — I kept to myself for as long as possible, in part because I didn’t really understand what was happening to me. I sought help in secret. My trips to doctors, to the hospital, until I finally had to be admitted long-term and I had to tell my family (who already knew something was wrong, though they didn’t feel it was their place to intervene).
As time progressed, I kept my diagnosis a secret when I volunteered and as I started working, though my symptoms were then and are sometimes now, noticeable. I have one friend with whom I am frank and open, and all others, including my family know little about what goes on in my life, let alone my mind.
Thus began my Twitter account, where I tweet my auditory hallucinations, what I hear. I started writing about my experience and about my life as a means of rebuilding my skills that supported my career so that I could continue working as long as possible. Getting serious, I found there are three other writers with my full name, so I found a pen name, a name that will allow me to publish without my family or friends or coworkers knowing, which leads me to today.
I’ve got my family, which knows the worst of my sz experience, though they chose to dismiss it as eccentricity. I’ve got my co-workers, who know I’m a bit off. I’ve got DA, whom know I have a spending problem and health problems, but not the nature or extent. I have all my friends on Facebook, whom know nothing other than I post weird things now and then and that I disappeared for a while. I’ve got my writing work, which is separate from it all, and one single friend with whom I speak about trying to bring it all together, perhaps in one fail swoop, this new me.
My life shattered with experience and I am trying to find ways to bring it all back together again at 42 because I want, at the very least, some people to know who I am, to know what has happened to me, and to know where I am going. It’s a bit much to manage each as separate lives.