My disability has followed me since childhood, but it wasn’t physical to begin with. It was mental, and that’s a hard thing to live with during your formative years. Many different labels were applied to me at different times: hyperactivity, Schizophrenia, and mental illness—which now are often called bipolar and ADHD. These issues caused me many problems, including poor concentration when trying to study, fighting, paranoia of other people, being suspended from school.
How Paranoia Ruined My Life
Like everyone else, I wanted a normal life, or at least what I saw other children have. However, it was out of my grasp. To compensate for the turmoil in my mind and emotions, I started drinking and taking drugs to try and slow down a racing, painful mind, and emotions. The self-medicating only got me into trouble with the law, and I felt destined to be tied to a number of other institutions that I had been visiting for years. Though I am intelligent, I lived homeless for periods of my life. Good jobs were hard to keep because I would become paranoid if other people laughed around me. I would go off into a rage at times, thinking others were putting me down.
Just yesterday I talked to my best friend about how I once thought people were talking about me and laughing at me when I worked for him. So I quit the job—right then and there. Oh, the torment of a mind that runs down that track is hard. I desired to work and do a good job for employers, and they liked my work. My mind and emotions were the problem. Sometimes I wouldn’t take my mental health medicine and took illegal drugs instead, which only made things worse.
My life went on like that for years. Today at 61 I have peace of mind most times. This undoubtedly comes from knowing Jesus, reading the Bible, prayer, and having good Christian friends as a superb support system. My mind has slowed down considerably. Even though I’m on disability, I have accomplished things I never thought were possible, including earning a pastor’s diploma. writing seven books, and being published in several publications. My life is a good life, for someone who thought life was no good and unfair. I’m learning music theory and am working on playing three different instruments, which may be somewhat inherited. My ancestors were famous musicians, poets, composers, and painters.
Disrupted by COVID-19
Life was going good, and then came the plague of Covid-19. A stay-at-home order was issued in many states. Regardless of the staying-at-home order or not, I was staying in. With my health issues, contracting the virus would be bad. I have become a traveler under darkness, which means I only go out before daylight to the grocery store and other places before most of the people arrive. I am grateful for the stores that work to accommodate those of us at high risk.
One thing I have found is that my mind can plays tricks on me. One day a couple of weeks ago I felt symptoms of a fever and weakness and got paranoid that I had contracted the virus. That weighed heavily on my mind as I was thinking I may have it and soon be gone from the earth. That has happened a couple of times, but most of the problem is weather. It is hot during the day and cool at nights so the change in the weather makes me feel symptoms of sickness. Pollen also causes bad symptoms.
I am determined to not let my mind play games with me, and am happy to be able to stay at home and keep busy. My enjoyment comes from writing and playing music, and from being able to study. Covid-19 is serious and dangerous, but I intend, if at all possible, to outrun the “man with the cocked gun.”
James Howard writes from Georgia.© 2002 - 2022, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.