My diagnosis is schizoaffective disorder. My dad, a psychiatrist, once told me that a big problem I have personally had is that care providers such as doctors have continually underestimated the amount of care that I needed. I had problems getting medications that were both effective and that I could tolerate for the first three years after my initial diagnosis, for example. I spent too much time sick with psychosis in early 1995, in my opinion.
Which leads to my topic today: what does anyone out there expect of me? I am about as well integrated into the community as anyone could expect. What do I expect of myself? If I take into account my ability to function at a pretty high level, where should I be at this stage in my life? That brings to mind something an art teacher at School of Visual Arts would say when presented with such a question, "By whose standards are we judging?" The question, as presented to Brett De Palma, had to do with navigating the art world, but it applies to me as well.
In the past month I've talked about how a significant part of me has come to believe that I may have an internet presence that I'm not privy to. This idea had added an extra dimension to how I navigate my way through my world. Since I put this idea out there, there've been some women at these businesses i regularly patronize who no longer work in the same jobs they did. They may work in jobs where they interact less with the public, or maybe they no longer work at those businesses at all. I could chalk it up to coincidence. I don't know. Again. What does anyone really have the right to expect of me?
I'm compliant with medication, I quit cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol, I manage my money pretty well, I fulfill my part-time work responsibilities well, I make the effort to get along with everyone in my world, and I do pay as much attention to all aspects of my living skills as I'm able. I'm always seeking to improve. The great experiment to have someone such as myself live in the community instead of in a more institutional setting can count at least myself and quite a few others as examples of success.
If this internet presence stuff is true, it has to do with stuff from a long time ago. Again, maybe someone could just reach out to me via my contact page if they have issues with me. I have a lot of trouble with dissociative thinking as I navigate my world- I can't "just know" when an interaction I have in some day to day setting has to do with larger issues- so in my mind, I don't expect myself to discern what the aggrieved parties expect of me in the way of making amends if they refuse to open up some more overt, but socially acceptable, lines of communication to me.
Be specific. Okay, Wednesday night I played the Songwriter's Circle at Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos. A young woman traveling the country playing music on the streets for money came up and talked to me right before the show. She was quite attractive. I said at one point, "You're on quite an adventure... nowadays, my adventures are mainly in my mind." She replied, "Well yeah, it's about doing whatever you want. Right?" I tried to interact with her a little more that night, but she didn't seem to want to. After she finished her two songs, she left with a handsome young man who'd also performed that night, and whom she'd been talking to, outside, during the show. I performed several slots later, and left before the event ended.
Last night I was in the grocery store (Thursday). I get my groceries checked out, and I proceed to leave. About fifteen feet in front of me, I see a male manager interact with two female cashiers. Something seemed to strike them all as funny, and I thought I heard this male manager say, "And he'd left before she (or they) got back. Hah, hah, hah!" The connection my more dissociative side made with these two disparate events on two successive evenings points out a prime example of my dilemma. Did they, the manger and/or employees, read on some site where this young woman who was traveling related the story? Did I inadvertently trick anyone by leaving earlier than they expected? Did she return to the club just to mess with me? Was she trying to teach me a lesson about something that happened in my life thirty years ago? Do people now see what I mean when I say that this tendency to make such seemingly unrelated connections really complicates things for me?
Look, the introduction of effective psychiatric medications to treat people such as myself, and the effort to integrate people such as myself into a larger, "real world" setting, amounts to a great experiment that has everything to do with this country's stated aim of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," for its people. If anyone finds my efforts coming up short, please say something.