There Is So Much Beauty In The World

This content is for mature audiences and may contain triggers involving, but not limited to, self-harm and suicide.

My name is R.G. Tanner, and I am a schizophrenic. 

Some people descend into madness, I was born into it. I have never known a life without schizophrenia. When I was a kid I saw purple aliens and my best friend was a fourteen year old girl who was a heroin addict from Florida, both of which were hallucinations. None of these things are “normal” but it’s the only life I knew. Around that time my large spider friend showed up named Humphry. He’s three foot by three foot and blue and yellow.

Living with schizophrenia can be incredibly intimidating. There are voices constantly screaming at you, telling you how hideous you are and that you need to die. I often think of my voices as their own conscious being that has one objective, for me to die by suicide. I fight each and every day so that I don’t give into their twisted desires for me to plummet to the pits of despair and take my own life. Life with schizophrenia is constantly out thinking the voices so that you don’t die by your own hand, or at least that’s how it is for me. 

For me, some of my biggest struggles is that I think of myself as the most hideous creature to have ever lived. The voices drill that into me on a constant basis, and I even see a disgusting creature that barely resembles a human in the mirror. Another thing the voices love to harp on me about is that I am absolutely and utterly unloved. The voices try to isolate me so that I will want to give into their desire.

 

For me, rock bottom was when I was in an abusive marriage and I thought there was no way out so I became determined to kill myself. I attempted suicide three times. Once by trying to jump off a balcony, once by trying to take all my pills and once by trying to stab myself in the heart. I ended up in the psych ward and I remember thinking “If I don’t change how I’m living, I am going to die.” 

At rock bottom I was so medicated that I got excessive bed sores and my hip slightly dislocated and I had to walk with a cane. Still, I got out of the abusive marriage, got my medications straightened out and started rebuilding my life. I didn’t want to die, I still don’t want to die even though my voices want me to. If I didn’t change my life, I wasn’t going to survive.

I have been so mentally ill that I honestly couldn’t tell you who I was. I lost all sense of identity at a certain time. I was my schizophrenia and nothing else. When I was in high school I became so sick that I had no idea who I was or where I was. It was at that time that I decided I needed to get more intensive help and I entered a day treatment facility. It was during this time that I started to discover that I can be both mentally ill and myself. My illness does not define me — yet at the same time it is the battle I fight day in and day out. I can’t deny that my schizophrenia has shaped me into the person I am today. Who knows who I would be without it? 

My journey with schizophrenia has given me strength that I couldn’t have possibly imagined.  It has caused my flesh to stiffen to marble where many things simply cannot penetrate. I have learned to be a warrior against the war that rages from within the confines of my warped mind.  The voices still scream at me, but I refuse to let them tell me that I need to die.  Sometimes, I still think I’m as hideous as the voices say I am.  Maybe I’ll never win that battle.  That condition is called Body Dysmorphic Disorder.  It when you see yourself as something that you absolutely are not.  For me it’s amplified by the fact that I have visual and auditory hallucinations.  

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I have overcome a great many delusions such as believing that the Russian mafia was out to get me, that I was demonically possessed and that I was a living, breathing vampire. When I have a delusion, it is all encompassing and very difficult to think my way out of. It’s a daily battle, but no matter what I will never give up.

If I could give any advice to those struggling with mental illness of any variety is to never give up the fight.  For them to know that every day you wake up and fight the battle, and no matter how defeated you feel — you are winning the war.  Life can beat you down but the human spirit is incredibly resilient and shines in even the darkest of times.  Focus on that light and let it lead you into happy times.  There is so much beauty in the world and one should never give up because there are so many amazing memories left to be made.  I know that it can feel like you are drowning in the depths of horrific despair but no matter how dark times are, there is still beauty left to be found!  Keep up the fight no matter how dim the light!

 

I wish people knew that schizophrenia is not a death sentence. That people with schizophrenia are just like everyone else with a little extra going on in their lives. That’s true of anyone with mental health conditions. I wish people would look beyond the diagnosis and see that I am a whole, well rounded person with depth, imagination, personality and more. I just happen to have schizophrenia. I am a warrior, and my mental illness is not the end of the world, but rather the foundation of my amazing strength.

R.G. Tanner

R.G Tanner showing the world that having a mental illness does not define who she is.
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