War and Peace – Lindsay’s Story


Everyone experiences mild forms of musicophilia wherein a song is “stuck” in one’s head.  This is the nearest I can get to shape my reality into a digestible form for those who are untouched by a thought disorder.  the constant chattering waves of voices in my head is the song on repeat in yours, but tenfold.

  • On crack.
  • Sleep deprived.
  • Starving.
  • Caffeinated.
  • Dizzy.
  • Nonsensical.
  • Soothing.

Apparitions. Born from trauma. Chance. Circumstance. and maintained by a broken but powerful instinct to protect. The battle began where my memories began. Age four. 48 months of breathing and developing unscathed or unaware.

He’s here again. He’s sitting behind the headboard of my bed. Crouching. Knees to chest. Ringing a bell. It’s small and dainty and shiny tonight. Some nights it’s rusted and clangs rather than rings. This isn’t a vivid recollection of a nightmare. This is the first recollection of a hallucination that is simultaneously auditory, visual, olfactory and seemingly multidimensional.

The channel surfing of the radio, the voices that shriek, whisper, compete, chatter, yell, and moan are what lull me to sleep every night. I slept with them for 15 years before I talked about them and discovered that they are not present in the minds of all humans. They are only present in the minds of those with thought disorders. Schizophrenics.

But not quite. My beautiful and tortured mind is continuing to morph and add layers. Schizoaffective disorder: bipolar type II, is the umbrella. The spokes are comprised of anxiety with panic attacks, PTSD, bulimia, anorexia, self-injurious behavior, suicidal idealization, suicide attempts, substance abuse, history of sexual abuse, and paranoia.

But not quite.  At least to you. To you I’m beautiful but complicated.  I’m unique.  Insightful.  Creative.  Odd.  Not quite normal, but good drive up appeal.  You may have had a suspicion there was more to the story.  But you had no idea the book in your hands was War and Peace.  From the right angle, anything can appear to be something it’s not.

So, what am I?  What am I not? Depends who you ask.  Logical explanation will say I am a woman with mental illness. An artist. A mother. A caregiver. A leader. Resilient. Enduring. Passionate. Inspired. Loving. Curious. Intellectual.

Emotion mind me will say I am a broken, lost, sick, disappointing, hopeless, helpless, destructive, disgusting, unworthy. I am my illness.

Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at peer@cmha.calgary.ab.ca.