Fiction and Fact

Ten o’clock. I just had my phone appointment with Rebecca, my worker in Salem. We talked a bit about disclosure of my diagnosis through the process of hiring a personal care attendant. She said it’s up to me. There’s still a lot of ignorance and stigma regarding schizophrenia. People don’t know what is involved in the illness, and they often get the wrong idea from the media. Even my brother believes the television before he believes the real thing. I used to think he was a smart guy. Why is it that we can be immersed in a real situation and still refute it because we saw a certain movie or tv show? The real evidence is right in front of us, but we judge it based on the media… Funny but I feel like such a vampire, a nonhuman phantom on the fringe of reality, only because of a poem I read the other day. There are a thousand ways to dramatize an ordinary phenomenon like mental illness, to glorify it or execrate it. Either way would be inaccurate. My blood is red just like yours, and my figure casts a shadow on the wall and a reflection in the mirror. The sun shines on me as it does on everybody.

At midnight last night I spent an hour listening to Tchaikovsky’s ballet suites. I love the way he throws a chromatic step into a sweeping melody in the strings. If these pieces were not so famous, the jarring effect would be a surprise. The waltz scene in Sleeping Beauty provides an example.

Eleven thirty. It’s another clear day. This afternoon I might return to the store for a second Snapple. Maybe I’ll get two of them. 



Near eleven o’clock. I was just thinking about how my siblings and I are decent to everybody but each other. There’s probably something wrong with that. I know that James Joyce would have something to say; or maybe he’d agree that that’s the way of things. That is, all humanity is related like one big family, yet we don’t treat each other like it. Family is supposed to be a support, and more; from family we are supposed to feel that we are loved and needed. I don’t know why my siblings and I hate each other with such a passion. It defies all logic and sense of what’s right. My thoughts were occasioned by the way I treat other people with disabilities with kindness. I can’t believe that my sister would do any differently, though my brother is questionable. But why is my own disability an exception to both of them? They always willfully believed that I faked schizophrenia in order to shirk work. But my illness is not one that shows outwardly, and that seems to be the confusion. If I don’t look sick, then I must not be sick. And it’s true that mental illness may never be regarded with the same compassion as a physical disease like cancer. This is because nobody likes the stigma of madness, and because people can’t discriminate the clinical from the moral. It’s inconceivable to them that the moral and psychological, the human, should be marred by disease. It’s the worst thing that could happen to a person. Therefore people deny it totally. So I guess that’s the situation with my family, so unfortunate for me but even more so for them to remain so ignorant.