I had a yoga teacher who said that everything you do, every action you commit, is stored as an imprint in space, in other words, as part of your personal history. Every action you take - saying hello to someone on the street or even randomly talking to people in crowded places like schizophrenics sometimes do. Sometimes I lie awake at night and a memory will come to me of something I did when I was having an episode. I want to forget these memories, but alas, they are part of my footprint in life.
I remember in the early stages of my illness that my voices were telling me to visit my old co-worker at her office. When I found that she was not there that day, I went ahead and used her computer. Everyone in the office was surprised and annoyed. A couple of days later, I received a call from her, she told me never to come back. I haven’t heard from her since. I was so embarrassed and mad at what my voices made me do, that I could not do anything to mitigate the shame I felt. I know I can never go back there or see those people again. I also know that what I did that day is not at the forefront of anyone’s mind except mine.
With time, as much as I want those memories to disappear, they do not. However, they become part of a past that is no longer significant in my life. After a while I can look back on that painful experience and realize that it was all in my head. But it still lingers. I lie awake at night and remember what a regret. I am sorry to say that there are no magic pills that can wipe away all the memories I want to forget. But I get along by creating better memories and forging new, positive paths so that the negative ones drift away. And, most importantly, I accept and forgive myself.
Acceptance and forgiveness are words of timeless wisdom that I hear over and over again, everywhere (even in fortune cookies). They are as wise as the Dalai Lama. I accept that I have this quirkiness called schizophrenia that can cause abnormal behavior, and I forgive myself for those outbursts. I look back and remember those events as if they were the actions of an entirely different person. I feel compassion for that person that did those things because she was not well. Today, I look around me and I see that I have created a circle of friends, many of whom know my illness, an environment in which I can accept and forgive myself. I do not feel so ashamed.
Now I accept, forgive, and move on. I move on because I cannot return to the time I was five and only knew happiness. I move on because I do not want to return to the time when I was 28 and ruining friendships by showing up unannounced at inappropriate places. I move on because I have learned through acceptance and forgiveness to create a better life.