http://schizophrenia.com/suicide.html This is a testament to the severity of the illness. Many go on to lead productive lives, many do not. So far, I am of the latter. I am a 25-year-old schizophrenic (schizoaffective) living with my surviving grandparent. I have no job, have not worked much because of stress, and have gone through thousands upon thousands of dollars trying to get degrees in fields I had thought I would probably like. Nearly three years have passed since my psychotic break. I have not had one since, so I am one of the more fortunate cases. I have gone through episodes of suicidal ideation but have made no suicide attempts. I have severe paranoid anxiety issues which threaten develop into psychosis at any given time, with at least three close calls this summer. Insight into symptoms is critical, yet can be damning at the same. I am fragmented. Some days and some parts of days, I am functioning at 100%. I can read, write, speak, even socialize and feel in complete control. I even know of the other thoughts and frames of mind that can cause me distress and dismiss them. The sum total of cognitive strategies and positive thinking habits are coalesced in this frame of mind, I can agglomerate my fragmented personality together, cognizant of both the negative and positive, and I am well. This I call my high-functioning, true self, because it is the most ego-syntonic frame of mind I can be in. It is a polished glimmering of my former self that probably goes way back into my childhood. I have a very weak sense of self, though. Every time I experience a strong emotion, another fragmented persona dominates. The feeling of being overcome by a persona is like being isolated from the world by a thick pane of bullet-proof glass, where the alternate persona is on the other side. This is especially stressful when I am interacting with close family and friends, as I have great difficulty expressing the thoughts and feelings I want, leaving me to helplessly watch myself think and say things in ways I really don't want to. I have, a nervous self, a paranoid self, an irritable self, a depressed self, a grandiose self, and even a suicidal self. These are almost like separate personalities, but only one time, deep in my psychotic break, did I completely lose control with total amnesia. Each one has their own regular trains of thought and knowledge. Though, I must take ownership of them, because they are just as real as my ideal self. However, because of the severity of the fragmentation, I can't really identify a core "self"; I've never really had a stable self that I can remember. Believing that I had a permanent brain disease was, ironically, a relief. Sure, at first I felt purposeless and destined to dependency on others, but my research indicates and my intuition tells me that my brain is perfectly fine. On a more or less psychoanalytic level, I did have temperaments and oddities that made me "different" and perhaps susceptible to this particular psychopathology; however, nothing has caused my fragmentation more than the trauma I faced growing up. I do not point my finger and make myself a victim, though. I am in search for solutions to my enduring psychic pain, to know why I am still fragmented and fail to integrate what I already know. I can say that fear is the main emotion that causes me problems. The time I have taken off college to pursue private study and redirect my energies to psychology has proved to be the most trying time of my life. Over the last two months, I have felt a considerable measure of fear and an even more palpable fragmentation than in my psychotic break. The monumental effort I have put into keeping my wit about me is very taxing; I am vexed by the complexities of my internally-inconsistent self. I come here today because the bitter sting of death seems so sweet. I have thought about it in periods of my life, first out of grief, then out of bitterness, now out of euphoria. My self-contention that my suicide may be necessary to be free has steadily waned to contentment. Perhaps I am entitled to a death of dignity, as many of my predecessors have done, martyrs of the inhospitable world that shapes us and throws us under the bus with a label and a pill. We have been with humanity since religion existed, once as leaders, visionaries, philosophers, prophets and shamans. Now it seems that the world needs us no more but for profiteering. So, it seems that I have every right to leave earth if I become incapacitated, rather than suffer in psychic agony alone in an institution, or worse, while my loved ones watch in horror. I have been educated on the horrors of the effects of suicide, both by my family and by reading, yet I still hold suicide in reserve as an emergency exit. I feel that I am becoming the proverbial insect attracted to the light, the warmth I experience from contemplating feeling like the embrace of the Sun, but just as deadly. Should I choose to do what can never be undone, it will be with a gleeful smile and flowing tears on my face, because it is a given that dying is easier than living. Though I have a mental illness, life is tough on everyone, perhaps even more than it ought to be, because overall the world is becoming a less desirable place to live (http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/06/15/us-happiness-usa-idUSL1550309820070615). Suicide may be a way out, but I'd much rather take the way through and uncover a path of happiness and fulfillment for others. I don't want to leave here, even if it kinda sucks; I want to make a contribution and leave on an honorable discharge . So, there are two general directions in my life: either I move past my pain and become the courageous, independent, free man that is of strong will and sound mind, or I never move past the stage of challenges of the intrapersonal realm. Either I leave the earth a better place than I found it, or I submit to be trodden underfoot by it. Though I have a mental illness, life is tough on everyone, probably more so than ideal anyway.