How Schizophrenia Affects My Writing

I know I’ve mentioned I’m schizo-affective before. For those of you who want a little more information on that, my earlier blog post is here.

But I wanted to talk specifically about how schizophrenia affects my writing. In my last blog post, Distortion, I mentioned how I am embarrassed about what I read and write (romance and young adult novels). This is partially due to how my voices treat me whenever I sit down to write.

I usually write things that are close to my heart. Things I feel vulnerable about. That’s partially why I have a pen name. Connecting things to my real name is too vulnerable for me. I feel too exposed. I am embarrassed and even scared about how it will be received by people and hope that it will never see the light of day.

But I also want to be an author, and that is one of the many conflicting things I have to deal with. A fear of being vulnerable and exposed and the thrill of having something published and having people read it; whether they react badly or not. But my fears tend to override the want to be published and that is why I have stuck to being quite anonymous.

And the voices feed on my fears. Anything I am remotely insecure about they will bring up and feed back to me, commenting my fears and insecurities in a judgmental, hateful way that makes me feel like a bug. It makes me feel squashed and insignificant, and makes me want to hide away from the world in a place where I won’t have to interact with anyone. At least that way, they would have less of a chance to criticize me, right?

But every time I am in isolation (how I like to write) they make an appearance. They say my thoughts back to me as if they are snubbing their noses at me and laugh at my fears and insecurities, while picking on them, making the fears that much worse.

Just to clarify the voices don’t sound like they are coming from inside my head, they sound like other people, real people, who watch and comment on every little thing I think or do and who always are looking for a slip up. No wonder I can’t give myself some self-compassion when what I’m hearing all day are things meant to belittle and crush me.

So when I write, they laugh at all of the cheesy things I put into it and how “cliche” my writing is. They make fun of my writing by saying I’m no good and all I can write is cliche crappy romances with no substance. And no matter how hard I try to keep them at bay, they always come back to haunt me and belittle me a little more.

I didn’t write for years because of them. My symptoms started showing when I was 15 years old. After I had finished my first romance novella, and was looking forward to writing more and editing it and making it a lot better. I had hopes to be an author, and I seemed well on my way to being there.

When I first started being criticized by the voices, I didn’t know how to deal with it. So I just stopped writing anything for fun. All of my fiction writing stopped. All of my journaling stopped as well. I didn’t know how to cope with feeling so vulnerable and then having the worst things I could imagine people would say reverberating throughout my head, sounding a lot like a real person who was actually reading and critiquing my writing.

I stopped writing for four years. This year, in March, was when I started again. At first it was slow going. I didn’t know how to ignore what they were saying, to tune them out. I could only write for a minute at a time.

Now I am writing a blog, and yes, I am hearing them as I am writing this. They never really go away, I’ve just learned to tune them out. It gets easier as I keep going. I’m learning that playing music while I write helps, as long as I tune the music out and it’s something I’m fairly unfamiliar with. I have learned a lot, even though I still struggle. But what keeps me going is my attitude. I am determined not to let the voices take away all the enjoyment out if the things I do for fun.

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