For years I battled my mental illness and went through years of never feeling happy. I thought for the longest time video games or comic books, etc… Just interests were what made me happy. About a year ago I decided to volunteer at a senior home just to try it out cause the autism foundation I go to told me they see me as very caring I just don’t know it so I tried. Of course the first day was difficult cause I was just meeting the seniors, but I was instantly accepted by them and all I was doing was bringing water to them in their room and asking how their day was going. I realized quickly in those homes just me going in and doing that can make some of their days cause as sad as it is that’s all the socialization some of them get. I would go through the halls and see people in pain constantly but still smile and treat you with respect. I only planned on going once a week but I ended up going 3 times a week for almost a year. I began by just bringing them water and by the end of it I knew where all their rooms were, what their names and stories were, and I even started to do trivia for them which meant standing in front of a crowd of 50 people. For some reason in those places I just feel so confident and happy to help them. It’s something that almost comes natural to me, when I was working in a home for my course I befriended the most difficult resident on our wing. He always threatened people and would always be cranky. The first day I heard of him he wanted to shoot up the home. My classmates were terrified of him and one day a nurse asked if I could take him out for a smoke. I admit I was a little nervous so I took him out and we didn’t speak much. Over the course of a couple weeks I’d be taking him out and he’d ask about the weather or small things. He wasn’t aloud to carry his lighter with him cause he threatened to burn the place down, but when he was with me I let him carry it the whole time and took it when I dropped him off at his room and he never argued with me. Then one day I took him out for a smoke and he started asking me questions about me which he never does with anyone. I guess that moment was just an eye opener for me, because he hated the rest of my classmates and would yell at them but he would see me and call me over.
I also feel really happy when I see my closest friend at the autism foundation. He is non verbal and isn’t understood by the other clients from day one I always talked to him and joked with him. I guess his worker noticed cause one day she asked if I would like to spend a day a week with him so he could have social time. So I offered to do it 3 times and for almost a year I would see him 3 days a week with him and his worker. I had to stop hanging out with him though cause of school and such, but I still see him at the foundation when I go there and he just lights up. He can speak select words but not much so he would usually talk to me in hand gestures that I learned over the year with him. I would always ask what he did that day or ask how he’s doing, I know he can’t tell me directly but honestly he just loves when people don’t treat him like a child. He trusts me so much now he will take me to his room to watch tv with him and he’s very private with his room. He also likes to hug me and shake my hand, to him it is his way of showing he cares and that he trusts you. He does that to a select few people and I really cherish that, I like that he’s not afraid to hug another man, not because he wants to be sexual or anything he’s doing it to show he trusts and cares, he has a lot of unique ways of seeing and doing things. I’ll be honest when I went into the RCW program I learned a lot more life lessons from him then I did anyone else.
I am curious what makes you happy? Sorry about writing all of that I sometimes like to remind myself of all the good I did do and that I’m not a monster like the voices say I am. I’ll be honest I do like some peoples shock on their face when I tell them I do this kind of stuff and I have autism and schizophrenia. It makes me feel like I don’t let my mental illness control me even when I feel it is I can think back to these times and know I am in control.