I have mental illness that includes schizophrenia, which has seven major symptoms: hallucinations, obsessing, memory loss, paranoia, apathy, delusions, and depression.
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Through no aspiration of my own, I’ve become a speaker, writer and advocate for mental illness victims, myself included. My all-American upbringing did little to prepare me for the silent enemy that would eventually claim my life, destroy my soul, shred my heart, and leaving me frail and vulnerable.
Our son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in the seventh grade. I wrote this Pantoum to capture a snapshot of what he was like before he became ill as well as the initial period of his mental illness. Writing the poem was also therapeutic for me. Thank God, Tim’s mental health has improved.
About a month and a half after our first daughter was born, I started down a long journey of postpartum depression. For a year I went undiagnosed, going to the doctor complaining of extreme tiredness, severe mood swings, and disinterest in daily activities.