“Schizophrenia beats dining alone” -Oscar Levant

And that’s really how it should be with the schizophrenia.  Just friendly voices there to help you and guide you along the way.

But sometimes the voices are not friendly and they seek only to command you.  That’s just from my own experience.

But the schizophrenia bleeds out into the world and other voices, real voices can be heard… and those voices say dream like things that sometimes seem to relate to what’s going on in my own head.  Just from my experience.

But you see, you’ll get a lot of my own experience.  The way I see it, that’s what one should be reporting on anyways.  How one sees the world.  And I also think it’s important for one to be continually improving that vantage point.

So on with the improvements.

And I should have been asking myself that question over the last two days, while I was at work on my companies sales calls.  I have repeatedly asked myself the question “How do I improve?” when I was working in the store.  And it worked!  I was focused on improving what I was doing.  And I gained motivation to go the extra mile with things.  To really do them well.

Well, I got out of the habit of asking myself that question “How do I improve?” and now I have a sales job.  And I’ve been getting distracted because one of the ways I improve is to stop smoking and I’ve been putting that off.  I need to get it together and just quit, but that’s for another post.  One that I don’t want to write right now.

This post is about what it’s like in sales when you have schizophrenia.

When I got off and was smoking a cigarette I heard one of the neighbors say (and I don’t know if he said it out loud or if it was just in my head) he said “He’s on fire”.  It felt like he was talking about me.  How I don’t really feel right but I’m still smoking.

Today, when I was just getting started my day, I was at an office and it was a big score because I dropped off lunches to three different places in one building.  Saves a lot of time when you can hit more than one place in the same building.  And on the second one I started shaking a little bit.  By the third I was noticeably shaking and the guy I was talking to seemed a little distracted when he looked at my hand and saw me shaking.  He didn’t say anything though, thank God for that.  It would have made it a little uncomfortable if I would have had to explain myself.  Yeah, all the cigarettes are taking a toll on my life and sales sometimes shakes me up… who knows what I would have said…  I didn’t have to tell him I was fine.

But the whole thing, the shaking, calmed down and I proceeded with my day.  I felt a little nauseated yesterday and today, but I think all that’s telling me is not to drink alcohol. So I’m on with juice.  Minute maid berry punch.  “Put good in, get good out” reads the label and I love that.  I do kinda catch a buzz from drinking the juice too, and it really beats the wine buzz.  Especially when your talking the next day.

And I really shouldn’t be drinking, but parties get me going on drinking for days at a time.  I just need to cut the shit and be myself.  No cigarettes, no alcohol, no drugs.  And a lot of hard work.  Work at my job, in the store, and on sales… work on my life, with reading and journaling, and work on my dream, by writing this blog.  Not to mention working on my family life and my social life.  And I have time enough for everything.  I just have to use my time wisely.  I do need a little more sleep than the average person, I’ve always loved sleeping.  I do think it’s a waste of time though and would like to sleep less.  I’ve heard of successful people who were so driven that they went by on 4 hours a night.  Tony Robbins is one of those people.  I could get a lot more reading done!

But for now my bedtime is 10pm.  And that’s part of what I attribute my success at my job thus far to.  I always get enough rest.  I’m usually up by 7:30… though sometimes I lose motivation and get up at 8:30…. but it’s all changing now because with this sales job I have to drive farther to get to work, so I have to leave earlier.

But I’m up for the challenge and the voices don’t bother me much when I’m doing it either.  If they are talking they are encouraging me to sell.  So like the quote I started this post with, it’s better to sell with something encouraging you.  It’s really kind of nice.  They yell at me to sell, but I’ve had some sales managers in the past who actually screamed at me and they weren’t shy when it came to using profanity.  The voices I have weren’t as bad as some of my bosses have been when I was in credit card processing sales.

And with the schizophrenia, my bosses get in my head.  Different voices for each different manager.  Their mostly good influences though, my bosses voices.  They tell me to work, and sell, and do things that I should be doing as the valued employee that I am.  So when my bosses get in my head, and it usually doesn’t last long, they tell me to do what I’m supposed to do, which is be great!

I realize that I don’t even know I should be considered a schizophrenic when people I know have friends that have been institutionalized for 20 years.  My voices seem to be a blessing in comparison with what they go through.  Being restrained, being forced medication, being locked up and watched and feeling like the people who are supposed to be taken care of you are just finding you crazy with a grim prognosis.  At least that’s my paraphrase of how schizophrenia was described in “The Center Cannot Hold” by Elyn Saks.  I just finished that book a couple days ago and I thought it was a good read written by a well respected person.  Saks went to several colleges and is a teacher with all kinds of prestigious seats being given to her over her life.  I sure never had it as bad as she did, and I can’t expect to help everyone with schizophrenia work a job.  But I think I can try and help some, and at the very least add some value to the people lives who read this.  I’m supposing the value here is that even if your shaking like a leaf on a tree, you can still do your job, and do it well.  (On a side note, I think doing it well would result in sales, so I work in the store well, but have yet to be proven with the sales job…. as I’m not walking the walk with sales yet, although I pray that I have already walked the walk in sales, I would not recommend starting a sales career as a schizophrenic until I have successfully proven that it can be done… although here is proof schizophrenics can sell stuff too, it’s a story about a schizophrenic who works in the lawn and garden section of sears selling on commission and being the best one around.  And I pray that I sell too).

So here’s to working a job and getting promoted to a salesperson.  I will write more when I get my first sale, bonus, and most importantly relationship.  Really, I’m in the business of building relationships and I can tell you, it’s hard work.  I seek to improve and hope the same for you.  Here’s to your good health, wealth, and wisdom.  Thanks for Reading.

Jesse Creel