The time following the work test was difficult. I was feeling markedly worse, and I didn’t feel I could manage anything anymore. I couldn’t even do a job a 5-year-old could carry out. What had happened to me? Was this how my life was going to be? T had to do all the grocery shopping by himself, it wasn’t possible for me to go with him. The mere thought gave me anxiety. Only OPUS could get me to leave my apartment. They were my lifeline and my only hope of getting better. I said yes to everything they had to offer. And even though I didn’t want to be anywhere but my bed, I agreed to join a new group that autumn. I needed to get to know everything about the disease to conquer it.
The Commune called me in for a meeting. Again. I couldn’t deal with it, and I was so afraid of what they were going to say since I didn’t complete the work test. I felt so bad about that and about myself. How could I explain why I couldn’t fold those f***ing rubber bands, when I didn’t understand it myself. I called the commune to postpone the meeting. LA wasn’t available that day, and I simply wouldn’t go alone. I was put through to a case worker. I explained why I was calling. ”One moment”, she said, ”yes, I can see in your file that you have developed schizophrenia”. ”No”, I said overbearing, it’s called schizo affective disorder. It’s a milder form … ”. She cut me off, ”Well, it says here in your papers from OPUS that you are schizophrenic, so that must be true”, she said. I was speechless. What was going on? I finished the conversation and hung up. I needed to get a hold of LA. She didn’t answer her phone.
I was going to OPUS for a group session, but I couldn’t concentrate. Why did the woman say I had schizophrenia? It was probably a mistake, but she sounded so convinced. During the break, LA came in to give the teacher a message. I jumped up and ran to her. I told her what the woman at the commune had said. The blood drained from her face, and I could tell by the look in her eyes that the woman was right. ”Do I have schizophrenia ?” I asked. ”Yes”, LA said. ”We were going to tell you tomorrow at you appointment with the psychiatrist.” The Commune had demanded an update, so OPUS had been forced to give them my new diagnosis before giving it to me. I could feel that LA was upset I had found out about it that way. So was I.
The next day I went to see my psychiatrist, JH. She explained that because I was so tormented by daily psychoses, and because they had increased in number, they had to diagnose it as schizophrenia. I was so upset. I had had trouble acknowledging and accepting having schizo affective disorder. This was a much more heavy diagnosis that I knew very little about. I had used all my energy learning about schizo affective disorder. I knew this was going to demand something from me. I needed to learn EVERYTHING that I could about schizophrenia. I neither could or would let the schizophrenia win. I WANTED to get better. For that to happen I needed to be left alone from the commune. I couldn’t let them run my life any longer. I needed that early retirement and now was the time to start fighting for it.