Coming to terms with our own mortal existence can be very daunting. I’ve elaborated on experiences that deal with being faced with such. My hope is that people can relate.

When I was five, I experienced my first brush with death. My sisters and I were riding in a car, going down a steep hill. The driver suddenly lost consciousness. The car smashed into a bakery at the bottom of the hill.

In 6th grade I developed a very painful lump on my neck, around the lymph node. Several biopsies and doctor visits later, I was diagnosed with a cancer called Burkitt Lymphoma. I was told that the tumor weighed about a pound, and grew by 10% each day.

The survival rate is continuing to improve for this disease. However, ten years ago, it was not so high. Such was the second time I was confronted with my own mortality.

We see here above approximately how I looked.

Fast-forward to the summer after junior year of high school. There was an opportunity for me to try mushrooms, which I had wanted for a while. I proceeded to take massive amounts. The bad trips I endured were extremely disturbing. To this day, I still don’t know if, during one of my terrifying experiences, I was having seizures or not. Nonetheless, such certainly felt like my next consultation.

Just about a year later, in Fall 2011, whatever mental illness I have swiftly altered my fundamental tenets of reality without me even knowing it. I remember looking out of my dorm window, but I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, do it. The fourth time.

The following instance was the worst. I had been isolating more than ever. For three whole weeks I stayed in my room, save a few minutes at the end of the day to eat something from the fridge. I was finally taken to the hospital. It was there that I first learned the true nature of my illness. It wasn’t depression, probably wasn’t bipolar (but this can be disputed), but was schizophrenia. How I felt when the doctor told me that, I can only imagine might be similar to someone who’s being sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit. Figuratively, I was an astronaut who had tragically become disconnected form their ship, floating in space without a hope of ever being brought back, condemned to a cold, lifeless void. No, I wasn’t about to die. I was going drift ever farther from that ship, unable to convey my terror to those inside it. Unable to be recognized as a victim.

That was in Summer 2012. It was in Fall 2013 that I was hospitalized again, then again, then again.

Just about right after I left the ward, my symptoms would come back furiously. I may have been able to recover just as well in the group home I’d started living in, but I was fed up with the whole thing. I resolved to either end it or go to a longer-term hospital. Of course, it was the latter, one of the best choices I’d made in years.

The last time it happened, I had gone off of a medication too quickly. I have very little memory of what happened afterwards. I had apparently called my mother over 25 times throughout one day. This instance is unique because I didn’t feel like I was in danger, but I was very psychotic. So, I went to Greater Binghamton Health Center.