I feel more comfortable writing about my struggles and successes when my name is Jane. The name provides a little protection; it is my turtle shell. My name is not Jane. It is my grandmother’s name and my middle. I was named after my dad, Samuel. My name is Samantha. Most people call me “Sam.” It is an honor to be named after one of the coolest people I know.
I am ready now to own my truth and to step out of Jane’s shadow. I have a psychiatric disorder and a label stamped on my head, but I do not let it define me. I lead a stable life, and I have schizoaffective disorder. This psychiatric disorder is like a mixed salad that you did not make for yourself. Imagine that you went to a dinner party, and the host brought out the salad as the first course. There is so much going on in this bowl that you cannot distinguish all of the ingredients even after you have tasted it. Schizoaffective disorder is full of indistinguishable ingredients. Not all cases are the same, but many people struggle with one or more of these illnesses: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, etc. with a dash of salt and pepper on top. My illness is a mix of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. From my perspective, it is so complicated that even after tasting it I cannot decipher everything within this salad.
*Shifts in mood/demeanor
*Unexplained dread in the pit of your stomach
*Sadness for no discernible reason
*Shopping sprees and accruing debt
*Too much sleep
*Lack of motivation
Unknown Ingredients: ???
As a writer, it is important to write what you know. This is what I know. As I embrace the complexity of my illness and the aspects I cannot fully understand, I must confess that I rarely eat salad.