Preface: For context, this post was written in the summer of 2015. Since writing this post, I have found ways of more effectively managing the challenges described.
Today I'll talk about one of the negative symptoms that have been a huge problem for me, a symptom that, like my delusions about aliens, is extremely pervasive throughout my daily living. This symptom is the lack of drive or initiative.
As I wrote this, I lacked the drive or initiative to keep talking about it! Okay, okay, let me buckle down and get through this. I think my biggest problem with this lack of drive is when there are days where it doesn't exist. I have incredible energy, I'm able to do things, take initiative, work towards the next steps. As a result, I sort of bite off more than I can chew, because, in the following days or weeks, the lack of drive hits, and hits hard. I can't express how frustrating and embarrassing it is to start something and be completely drained of any motivation when the time comes to finish it. Sometimes I'm able to push myself incredibly hard and get through this symptom, but by the end of it, it seems to do more harm than good. When I try and force myself into doing things, it takes me an incredible amount of time to finish it, sort of like procrastinating, except the whole time I'm consumed by the thoughts of finishing what I want to do. It ends up stressing me out so much that it results in more schizophrenic symptoms cropping up, making things all the worse for my overall situation.
I wish I could elaborate more on how this affects me because I really feel like this symptom is the number one reason my quality of life has suffered as a schizophrenic person. This symptom has had significant effects on how I view how my life should be lived, on how I'm able to live it. I think it has psychologically damaged me in fairly fundamental ways.
I always say I'm open about my schizophrenia, but this is one thing I have a tough time talking about. I'm still not sure if what I'm experiencing is my illness affecting me, or if there's something fundamentally flawed with how I approach my way of life and how I establish relationships with others.
I suppose an example I could talk about is how I have a tough time in school. Very often, the only reason I didn't fail high school outright was that I was held accountable if I didn't show up to my classes. As a result, I almost always showed up. When I show up, I have nothing better to do than to listen to the teacher. So if the majority of the course was graded by testing my knowledge, I did exceptionally well. However, as soon as I had to do homework or projects, my performance was considerably lacking. Whenever I did poorly in a class, chances are it was because the grades were scaled more heavily toward homework and projects.
I barely graduated high school, and to go to college, I would have had to take online high school upgrade classes. When everything is online, everything is homework. As such, I never got anywhere with it. So because I cannot be admitted to college, I sort of coasted by in life working in entry-level retail positions. Occasionally I would be promoted to management positions, but I never had my heart in it.
Eventually, my complacency in a string of minimum wage jobs led me to convince myself that I can be happy living like that. Perhaps I can. Maybe living paycheck to paycheck (and hoping that the safety nets where I live will still be there when I get too old to work) is something I can accept as a way to live. And I don't mean this as a slight to those who do live that way, we all have our reasons, I certainly have mine, but I feel like I can do better. Like I should do better.
With all that said, however, I am pleased with my life. Could things be better? Indeed, things could always be better. That mindset is why mankind has done some fantastic things. So for the time being, I do my best to capitalize on days where this lack of drive doesn't afflict me.
Thumbnail photo by:Randy Jacob