After my first psychiatric hospital admission I tried to re-establish a normal life. I went to Vancouver for a few weeks to reconnect with some dear friends. I returned to Ottawa, went on Ontario Works (Ontario’s version of welfare) and moved in with my son at my brother’s place. I enrolled my son at a daycare facility and during the day I studied for the National Exam in my allied health care profession. In the security of a routine my son and I had a good life. In November I passed the exam. My psychiatrist determined that I seemed stable and I was removed from all medication. The consensus was that I had experienced Post-Partum Depression and a resulting psychotic break. Taking life by the horns, I began my job search in earnest. Off medications, I was pleased to effortlessly return to my old self within mere months, approximately fifty pounds lighter than my medicated self.
Once off medications the “synchronicities” I’ve previously described returned in an overwhelming way. While others may experience synchronicities in the occasional event or chance encounter, my life was full of them. While walking along, pushing my son in his stroller, I would think of something. Immediately the twitter of a bird or the swoop of a seagull would come to me in direct response to my thoughts. Street signs would take on meaning for me and would be read at the exact right time to respond to an inner question.
The first substantive nibble I received for employment came from a Regina hospital. Leaving my son with my brother I flew out to Regina to meet with my prospective employers. Flying over the Saskatchewan river valleys, I was struck by their beauty and the rich tapestry of greens and browns. Approaching my destination, I felt as if I was seeing the region’s topography through another’s eyes and I welcomed the experience. I felt as if I was able to see with a clarity that would otherwise not be my own.
The human resources manager I met with was very hospitable and the position looked promising. Unfortunately, overnight fear returned. At this time my son was approximately 2 and ½ years old. Normally I shared a family bed with him, reading a bedtime story aloud until we would both fall asleep. Spending a night without him so far away, I began to worry that I would never see my son again. Around this time I had begun to toy in my mind with the idea of parallel universes. Having entered Regina I feared that I had somehow left my son behind in another universe. Panicking inside I phoned my brother in Ottawa. I spoke with my son, but the fear wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t bear it.
Also around this time I had begun to think that I was telepathically sensitive to other people’s thoughts. I knew that there was a correctional institution near where I was staying, and in my mind I felt threatened by these people. I couldn’t even see them, yet I thought I could sense their energy.
I didn’t even make it through the night.
As soon as the airline’s desk was open I called to change my plane ticket. I had to go home right away. From the airport I called the puzzled HR manager and told him that I would not be touring the facilities with him. I landed at the airport, got my luggage and took the first city bus back to my brother’s. Exiting the bus the surroundings looked unfamiliar at first. I looked around reaching for the universe that held my son. Everything blurred for a moment and then seeing the environment settle into the recognizable form that is Ottawa, I felt flooded with relief.
At this stage of my illness I did not recognize it as the illness it was. Instead I felt that I was aware of and capable of some little known spiritual truths such as parallel universes and telepathy. I did not have the insight to see it for what it developed into: Schizoaffective Disorder.
About Hazel Green
I am a 50 year old woman who lives in Ottawa with my 15 year old son. I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2003. Prior to my diagnosis I completed two Bachelors’ of Science degrees. The second one was in an allied health care profession. I have been on disability since my diagnosis, but have worked part-time with children with disabilities. I am attempting a return to my profession as I feel greatest fulfillment when helping people. Unfortunately, stigma being what it is, and with the general fear that people have of people with a schizophrenic type diagnosis, I am very guarded as to whom I come “out” to. I long for a career where I can help people and not have to worry about people fearing me should they learn of my diagnosis. I am passionate about helping people, my family and taking care of my son. I knit, crochet and strive to think positively. I yearn for a full recovery that would allow me to work overseas in my chosen profession.