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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder


I don't like what I have become.

Michael David Crawford, Baritone,

October 2, 2006

Copyright © 2006 Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

It is early Monday morning as I write this, about 5:30 AM. Friday morning I was discharged from the Two-North Mental Health Unit at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. I had been a patient there for about three weeks. I was brought there after I asked a security guard to call me an ambulance.

Everyone seemed to agree that I was better and was ready to be discharged, but I'm beginning to think that if what I'm experiencing is mental health, then I want no part of it.

I knew well before I came to Vancouver that my success here would be determined mostly by my ability to make friends in my new home. Before I was admitted to the hospital I struck up conversations with everyone I could. Being a very shy man by nature, I was surprised at how easy that was.

I'm not that way since leaving the hospital. I have hardly said a word to anyone that hasn't been necessary somehow.

Further, I find that being in the hospital has hardened my heart. While I wouldn't give money to Vancouver's many panhandlers, I responded to most by asking their names, shaking their hands and wishing them luck. I could easily tell that I made more of a difference to them than I would have with any money I could offer. I even bought supper for a couple.

But the hospital has hardened my heart. Now I just walk on by.

My psychiatrist in the hospital seemed to think I was hypomanic when I was admitted. Possibly, I don't know. It was not like other hypomanic times I have known. But it is quite apparent now that my mood is far more subdued than it was then.

I was writing a great deal before I was in the hospital, and even during my stay there. After my first few days they let me out each day on passes, and I would check my laptop out of the lockup, then sit in cafes and write.

I couldn't sleep tonight, so I rode the bus downtown - the SkyTrain had stopped for the night - with the intention of writing all night at a cafe. Instead I've mostly been staring into space for hours.

I am uninspired. I have not a word to say.

I don't like it. I don't like it one damn bit.

It would seem that my crackup brought The Vancouver Diaries to an abrupt halt. But I don't think they were the product of a fevered imagination. Not most of them anyway. I think that what I must do is force myself to write, even when I don't feel like it.

The other side of every single manic episode I have ever experienced is depression, lasting sometimes for years. I cannot let that happen. I will not let that happen.

Depression is the easy way out. It would be all too easy to sink into it, and then I would be doomed.

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