An Overview of a Story that’s Still Being Written: 20 Years of Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder, a Narcissistic Sibling, and my Own Personal Growth

(Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.) Where Have I Been these Past 20 Years? Mostly scared, mostly alone, and (some of the time) dealing with a narcissistic sibling. Well, for starters, my life has indeed taken a sharp turn within the past 5 years especially, and life has only gotten better! I still struggle. Every day in fact. And, there’s much to discuss about where I’m at today vs. where I was 5 years ago vs. where I was at at the time of my schizoaffective disorder diagnosis (and the time between years 20 and 5). So, 20 years ago, I was dealt a heavy blow—that I have a serious mental illness. I was an ambitious guy (and have returned to that), trying to get through in the months and years leading up to my diagnosis. The time between 20 years ago and 5 years ago, seems like a bit of a blur. I was just holding on and one of my main support people was a narcissist. Today, I am married, have productive pursuits, have schizoaffective disorder, and have to (with as much grace as I can muster up) manage my energy. And, I experience anxiety, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts (many of these symptoms on a daily basis). But, I “deal” and I live with all of the above. My symptoms are in partial remission, as evidenced by my ability to do the things I do. As the case was, in those years, I didn’t know that my progress was being undermined by a formerly trusted sibling. I couldn’t have known, for I saw the world through rose-colored glasses. There were a lot of things happening that I feel I could have had better control of, had I known what I know now. But, that is life and much of what I have learned has come from the back and forth between mental health professionals and I. 1) Mental health professionals are people too, and their advice is based off of their training/experience. In other words, they’re not always right. 2) Mental health professionals are oftentimes right. 3) It is my goal to better understand, accept, and cope with schizoaffective disorder. That is their goal too, but they have to be removed from the outcome. 4) I can share and give back—on my terms. And, it’s always been that way (whether I was dialed into that or not). I go to mental health professionals for how they can help me, and knowing that I am functional (in some ways), might make me an anomaly in the eyes of some mental health professionals. However, I press on, because I have no other choice in the matter. I have to get help for myself, share my story with others, and give back to the mental health community. That’s the plan. So, if you’re able, what do you do to give back?