I returned to college after a six-month hiatus when I suffered a psychotic break from my symptoms emerging. The psychosis wasn’t as strong as it is now, but I cried and cried wondering what is wrong with me. I did not realize that depression goes hand-in-hand with psychosis and schizophrenia. I went back to college too early but I was determined to finish my degree. My symptoms were different and less catatonic than they are now. I found friends and looking back, I’m surprised that I did considering most of the time I slept throughout much of my time at college. If I didn’t have to shower, I slept. If I didn’t have to attend class, I slept. If I didn’t have to eat, I slept. Depression naps, really: I never knew these things had labels to them in behaviorial health.
I still managed to score good grades and entered a honors program in Washington DC. Throughout I thought people were following me. I would find a seat in a particular place in a room so I can see everything. I have no idea if my behavior was picked up by others, but once or twice I would scream “stop following me!” at random bus passengers or classmates in large lecture halls. Their reactions were bewildering: they’d laugh or they’d yell “so what?” as if they really were following me. I chalk it up to the college environment. I did my best to follow-through challenges. I took aikido, I painted, and I took hikes, listening to the voices in my head throughout and having a conversation with them. The trees would have wires and I would talk to them. I’d scream and moths would emerge from their resting places. I spoke insanity to the woods that surrounded my college. I rested on a cliff wondering why I felt followed, why me? Everything felt like a obstacle course made for me. I would smoke quietly near a bush away from people and cry. I didn’t understand the hold that paranoid schizophrenia had on me.
In class, I would sit quietly, for some reason the voice would subside and felt less anxious as the instructor lectured. I think my hyperviligance attributed to my good grades because I was paying attention to every detail, whether it was the lecture or students or door entrances. I’m glad I made college friends throughout all this and remain friends since, albeit long distant.