Dear Other August,
Please don’t stop taking your medications. You do this every few weeks. It always ends badly. You have a good life, and you want that life “authentically,” without the fogginess of the meds, without the crutch. You want to be strong like everyone else who doesn’t need seven pills a day. You think “schizophrenia” is a made-up term used to brainwash people who question the status-quo. You think it’s all a scam, that the government is putting drugs in the water and maybe if you just get off the grid and drink clean water, you wouldn’t need the pills anymore.
But please, listen to me. Thoughts like that will only lead to irrational decisions that you’ll regret. You can’t renounce all your material possessions and go “live off the land.” You can barely leave the house most days. Your delusions and bad judgements will get you killed. I’m serious, and I’m scared for you. I’m scared of you. Of you and our illness. I know some days you think you’re just special. Some days you stop taking one pill and then another and then another until you realize you’ve been sitting in the same place for four hours staring into space unable to move because the world in your head has become more important than the world outside your head, the real world.
Every day, you wake up and reset like your batteries went dead. You ask yourself all the questions again:
Am I real?
Is the world real?
Are they all puppets?
Am I the star of a TV show?
Am I sick or am I special?
And always, three times a day… Should I take my meds?
Today, I know we are sick. I know we have schizoaffective disorder, that we experience symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I know that our brain lies to us. I know that if we don’t take our medication, we might go off and get lost, get hurt. Suddenly, we’ve got this great idea to dig a hole and stay there forever because we’re ready to move on to the next “realm.” I can’t convince you that the world is real every day. I can’t convince you that you are sick every day. I can’t make you take your pills every day because the logical version of us comes and goes. We are unstable and inconsistent, unreliable in every sense of the word. You…me…we exhaust me.
But I offer you this: If the government is poisoning you, there’s nothing you can do, anyway. If the world isn’t real, what good does knowing that do for you? Live your life in this world, even if it’s fake, even if you’re being poisoned, even if, well, it’s a TV show and everyone you know is just an actor. Because it is better not to know the truth sometimes.
Today, I know that the world is real, and I need to take my medication so that I don’t start having delusional thoughts that lead to bad decisions. Tomorrow, I might change my mind again. But if tomorrow, our life is fake, our friends are puppets, and the sky is a blue sheet masking us from seeing the truth, who really cares? Our life is good. Our life is great. Why mess with it? Why look into it too much? Sure, maybe someone controls us, pushing the buttons for “eat,” “drink” and “laugh.” Why is that such a bad thing? I like the buttons they are pressing. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t fight the waves. Stop driving yourself insane with questions that will never be answered and just be happy.
Me and you, us tomorrow and our split mind, the one thing we can agree on is that we don’t know anything for sure. So give in. Live a materialistic life, care about money, success, and respect. Because it’s better to give in to this “evil capitalistic society” you’re so obsessed with than to be miserable eating dirt and wandering around in the desert. I know…how will you sleep at night knowing you’re a clone, a robot? The meds. Just take your meds… I can’t convince you of the truth completely. But isn’t life much better on the meds?
Tomorrow, you will wake up and have to mentally work through all these questions again. You reset, every single time and wake up with some much curiosity and wonder. You may come to new conclusions. That’s fine. Just stop pulling the thread in the sky. The world will unravel if you look close enough, and then so will you. Is the “truth” worth destroying yourself and sacrificing your happiness, your life?
We may figure it out one day, but not now. We’re not ready. We get sidetracked by delusions and paranoia. We start digging a hole in the completely wrong direction. We get lost in our own ideas, curious about the water only to drown in it. Be patient. The answers will come. And if they don’t, it is better not to know. I promise.
With love, anxiety, and a side of delusion…
You, me, and we,
August Pfizenmayer is the founder of Survival is a Talent. She is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media manager. Her biggest passion is being a mental illness advocate. She loves reading, sweets, and warm weather. She writes primarily about her life. One of her current projects is a collection of prose poetry available on Wattpad. A story about her life with schizophrenia has been published in the next volume of The i’Mpossible Project. It is available for pre-order and will be in stores November 2017. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and her personal blog.