My Transfer Experience: New School & Mental Illness

As a transfer student, a 24-year-old junior, I can now reflect upon a time when everything around me seemed to be pulling itself apart. I finished my college education and it seemed like an unachievable dream. I had prayed to God on one cold January night, with a shotgun in my mouth, that He would take the pain away, and free me from an appalling, painful and seemingly unjust mortal experience. Drugs and mental illness had utterly sabotaged my life. I believed that people wanted to either kill me or silently judge my every move, because I thought they could read my mind, a delusion that stuck with me for years.

Day in and day out for the first few years of my experience with mental illness, I spent most of my time writing rap songs and playing video games to make the voices go away. When I wasn’t doing something that required my full attention, I talked with the voices, aloud, and in private, leading a dialogue that lasted for over 6,000 hours within the span of a year and a half. These were mostly composed of conversations with characters in my head that I thought were real people, people like Brad Pitt, Kendrick Lamar, Barack Obama, Stan Lee, KRS-One, Pope Francis, Stephen Hawking and about 50 other characters from shows I saw on TV or videos I saw on YouTube.

Now, I stand on the other side of a four-year journey that started from being suicidal and extremely anxious, and I’m sticking my nose to the books for college classes, writing poetry during my spare time, and spending time with friends and family, all while genuinely enjoying my life.

No, the hallucinations and the anxiety haven’t gone away, but I have found a place, a time and a mindset to help me live my life with the voices and the visions, not in counter to them or in spite of them. My experiences with voices and visions have helped me appreciate everything that I have ever received no matter how deafening, abusive and abrasive the hallucinations can be. If I had the opportunity to do life all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am here, I am genuinely happy for the first time in a long time, and I am moving forward. I’m finally doing something I never thought I would do: finishing my college education.

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Troy is a staff writer for The Lorian.

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