Venturing into deeper water

There are several areas that are very important to me: my faith, family, friends, fishing and football. I love watching football, so much in fact that I am sure others would say I am even a football addict. On Saturdays during the college season you will find me dressed in the colors of my team, usually yelling at the TV when my team isnít performing like I believe they should. This year my team was ranked high but fell in the rankings due to losing several games. At the end of the season they were projected to go into a bowl game, but not the one they had planned on at the beginning of the season. In some ways I feel like my team. I have a winning record but have fallen short of the goals I have set for myself.

Schizophrenia is the game I play, and it will be a lifelong game of tugs and battles. My medicine, which works wonders, will always be my coach in keeping me grounded to the basics I need to follow. I believe that I have beat schizophrenia so far because my symptoms are so well managed. In that word ó ďmanagedĒ is where so much of my schizophrenia battles are fought. The medicine keeps my hallucinations and delusions away. It even helps fight my other not-so-noticeable symptoms of loss of pleasure and cognitive thinking skills. If you didnít know I had a mental illness before you met me, you may never suspect it.

Like everyone else, I have set, in my mind, goals and aspirations that I wanted to have accomplished in my life at certain life stages. Sometimes when those goals are not completed, I feel like I am not performing to my highest potential. I have so ingrained myself with the drive to succeed that I have not realized that the learning is not in the destination, but in the journey. I have in this column talked about recovery and what recovery is to me and now I am learning to change.

Most information about schizophrenia will end with the phrase, ďA person with schizophrenia can live a fulfilling life.Ē For so long I have been content with what I had and where I was at in life with my schizophrenia. I got so full of trying to fulfill my life that I became complacent with myself. Like my football team, I was winning the games I was supposed to but never winning by a definite margin. When the big games came up, I always didnít show up either because I was not ready or mostly because I was afraid of succeeding. At times this bubble of a mental illness allows me to hide in the shadows of existing.

I can stay in the kiddy pool and watch everyone else playing in the deep water and want to be there with them but be too scared to swim the distance to reach the deep water. Sometimes we are not the person we want to be. Failures, letdowns, skeletons in the closet ó we all have those items we would prefer not to reveal.

Schizophrenia ... oh how comfortable I have become with you, I have reached the point where the kiddy pool is safe and no longer a challenge and yet I must move on. Like all the battles of the mind, I must come to grips with the fact that it is I and I only that I am facing. Putting medicine, therapy, and support aside, the battle to face is the battle of my own mind. When and where those battles are in life, we all must find out ourselves.

Mindfulness is brought to you by NAMI Montelores, your local NAMI affiliate. NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nationís largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI recognizes that the key concepts of recovery, resiliency and support are essential to improving the wellness and quality of life of all persons affected by mental illness. NAMI provides support, education, and advocacy for individuals and families through community classes, in-service trainings, support groups, and more. For more information please contact Geri Sanders at (970) 759-2416.

Randy Davis is a member of NAMI Montelores . He can be reached at

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