So, if you follow this blog, you know I have schizophrenia. Which is, in the end, a disease that kills people. I am very aware of that. But I am also a young woman, attempting to get a diploma, trying to gain independence from her parental home, struggling to define myself in the world just as much as any person my age.
I have dreams, and they aren’t that ridiculous in my opinion. I want to have a place of my own one day. I want to finish university, get a diploma, and find a job that I like and that I can support myself with. I want to be independent. I want to travel, even though it’s an incredible strain on my health. I’d like to get married one day, even though I don’t want children. Are these things such impossibilities?
My current partner, Experiment No.7… He doesn’t like to think on the future. He explained me that when he starts thinking of the future I have, he loses his joy in the present. Which means that we never talk about getting an apartment, we never talk about getting married, not even jokingly, we never talk about what we’ll do after university… It’s “living in the now” in the most jarring sense. Because I love him, and his silence tells me more about his opinion than a thousand words ever could.
It tells me that I have no future.
It tells me that all my dreams are as illusory as my hallucinations, that they are simply things that I hold on to cope with reality, until reality loses meaning for my decaying mind.
Now I am not someone who lets others decide for me, and certainly not Experiment No.7, who is painfully immature at times and suffers from a bad case of “Peter Pan Syndrome”. He seems to postpone “grown-up” decisions and life choices as much as he can, and not only in matters that concern me. I can see how that mentality would influence his opinion on a future with me, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt.
How much future do I really have?
I doubt things are as dire as they appear. Much of what kills schizophrenics isn’t among your faults. Even so, the negative burden on life expectancy is merely 10-25 years, so if everybody around you expects to die at 75 years or so, you can count on 50-65. Seems to me you’re only missing the rougher “old person” years. Marriage and – gasp – kids is totally do-able.
Thanks. That’s really a hopeful thought 🙂
They never really tell you how the illness and the medication will affect your lifespan and quality of life, and all psychiatrists that I’ve outright asked just skirted around the issue…
The trick, I think, is to find that sweet spot where you’re taking just enough medication to approach sanity, but not so much that you actually become completely sane.
For me, that means just enough alcohol to relax after work, but not so much that work seems easy.
I suppose the condition of my liver also matters…
I took your question mean will you have a full and fulfilling future. I think the answer is totally within your power to be yes. You’re already at university, you’ve done some travel (and survived). You have and are actively thinking about the rest of your goals, which all seem quite reasonable to me. All this portends a life that will be full.
What doesn’t sound so good is your relationship. An inability to talk about the future is a serious problem. It sounds to me as if he only wants, or is willing to commit, to you in the present. It also sounds as if you are unfulfilled by this void. I’ll hazard a guess and say you want more out of the relationship than he does. The question then comes down to accepting what he will provide vs finding someone who wants to be connected with you in the present and the future.
I hope I’m not coming across as an ass. I think you’re a wonderfully unique person.
Thank you very much for your answer.
My partner is mentally ill, just as I am (we met in the institution), so I am willing to accept just that bit more from him because he does the same to me. Nevertheless, you are right that the void where future plans should be is jarring and unfulfilling. I know my partner though, and his reluctance to consider these things isn’t the cliché male fear of commitment.
He is someone who worries endlessly, pathologically even, and he is also… let’s call if a little stinted in the growth of his maturity. It’s a long story, which I know and therefor respect, but as I said, that doesn’t make it less painful.
I have talked about it with him, and I notice he now does conscious effort to talk about certain things more… but I also see it costs him a lot of effort. If it were up to him, he would live his life literally day to day, I think.
You certainly don’t come across as an ass, I think you are right. Perhaps there will come a day that I find trying to cope with both my own and his illness too difficult, and that it the moment I will leave. For now I still have hope, however.
So glad to hear back from you. I’m even more convinced you have a good future.
I hope your partner finds the strength to grow beyond day to day living. He’s lucky to have you.
Thank you very much 🙂
I hope the same, and I hope we’ll be able to grow together.
I think in my earlier post my emotions got the best of me. He might be willing to engage with you about the future if you let him know how important it is to you.
You have, in my darkest opinion, the same chance we all have what with the way the shape of the world is in. Cheer up! We are all going to die together! But I might, if you are not careful, sip the martini first!!!!!