Dave's Progress. Chapter 85: Feeling Great, So Something Has Got to be Wrong.

I can, today, say that unequivocally, without any shadow of a doubt, I am feeling pretty good. After changing my diet and beginning to exercise I have lost something in the region of 2 stones, 9 lbs. That feeling of sluggishness has gone and I can now at least walk some distance without getting out of breath. It is refreshing just to be able to walk up stairs without undue exertion. My clothes are beginning to get baggier and I can, finally, face the world without being too embarrassed about my weight.
Indeed, many people, mostly staff members at my local residential unit, have remarked on how "well" I look. Even my blogging and now 3D friend, Gary aka klahanie, remarked that really, I was "quite a good looking guy", who had something of a Robin Hood look about him. I was not wearing green tights and brandishing a bow and arrow when Gary made this remark, but I found it flattering all the same. And, as someone once said, "flattery will get you everywhere". Not that Gary and I are something more than friends, you understand, but just being average joes who have no hang-ups about wearing pink and the like, we can make such comments to one another without offence. For example, I have no qualms in telling Gary that I find his moustache and hairy back really quite prepossessing. But, I digress.
With all these compliments coming my way, then, I feel I have to keep my feet on the ground and not become appallingly vain or some such. Indeed, I sometimes feel as if I'm feeling so great, then something has got to be wrong.
After years of illness it is unusual for me to feel so good, and I was reminded of a situation which once occurred with a gentleman from the mental health charity, "Changes", which is based in Stoke-on-Trent.
After meeting with this gentleman, we had a rather long conversation about how I had ended up in mental health services. I told him my diagnosis and also about my weight gain due to taking anti-psychotic medication. He then asked me how I felt now, to which I replied that I was "fine", which, without any shred of dissembling, I could assuredly say I was. Said gentleman, however, was not convinced. "Are you sure?" he said. "Yes", I replied. But the gentleman, I think, remained unsure, and as the conversation continued I felt he was almost fishing around to find problems which didn't really exist. "Yes, but, how do you feeeeel, David?", he would ask. It was as if he would draw out the word, "feel", to emphasise its importance and, in my experience, such people are never interested in what you might think, but rather only in how you feeeeel.
So, with a diagnosis like mine, it is often difficult to convince people that you are, indeed, OK. Even a friend of mine of the opposite sex who now knows my diagnosis cannot seem to get her head around the fact that people like myself can function "normally". "But you are normal", she protests, and has now come to the conclusion that I have not experienced schizophrenic illness at all, but rather have had what is euphemistically called "a break-down".
To some, then, no matter how great I feel myself, there will always have to be something wrong. I put this down to the way, in general, schizophrenia is largely misunderstood by the public. I do not know how many times I would have to explain this to such people, that schizophrenia is an episodic condition, can be controlled with medication and from which many recover, in order for them to understand. Suffice it to say that I doubt any such understanding will be forthcoming unless the stigma surrounding schizophrenia is, once and for all, broken.
In the meantime, I will go on my new, lighter, happier way, trying conscientiously to avoid those who tell me that something has got to be wrong.
That's all for now from your normal, average paranoid and delusional man.


bazza said…
Hi David. Good news to read from you! And very positive too.
I could do with losing a bit of weight so I am inspired by your example; I have begun walking a mile each way to the station every day.
David said…
Dear bazza,
Yes, it is indeed great to have a bit less of me. It is largely through walking and eating healthily that I have managed to shed the pounds, so good luck with your own endeavours.
Yours with Very Best Wishes,
klahanie said…
Dear David aka 'Robin Hood',
You know I can just see you hanging around with a bunch of 'merry men', looking ever so debonair in your green garb. Shall you be riding through the glen with said merry men and some maid named Marian?
You are looking healthier and as we both know, physical and mental health well being, are very much connected.
You know you are feeling right about yourself and there's nothing wrong with that.
Keep going, my friend. I'm often to trim my moustache and comb my back.
With kind wishes, Gary.
David said…
Dear Gary,
Thank you for your support and encouragement, both in cyberspace and 3D land.
My "green garb" is currently hanging in the closet, while the "merry men" are out getting merry. Maid Marian, on the other hand, well...
Hope to see you soon, Gare, and keep up the personal grooming!
Yours with Very Best Wishes,

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