I made a deal with The Dragon. I tried negotiating with schizophrenia.
Out loud I told him before a job interview with Starbucks that if he left me alone for the next hour he could have me for the 90-minute drive home. And it seemed to work. I felt like I had a great interview. All their questions were thoughtfully answered with my experiences leading soldiers and managing projects.
I thought I nailed it. I called my wife, sick with a cold, and told her. Her scratchy throat made me cut the call short. Then, per my deal, I let my guards down and let The Dragon in.
Over the drive home he tore into me. It replayed every part of the interview and told me how stupid I was. It told me that I’m crazy and they could tell. I would fail at this and that I will fail at everything. My family will spiral down because of me and we would soon be bankrupt because I can’t get a job. I missed turns in confusion and ended up taking the long way back. By the time I got home I was wrecked.
My ever-supporting wife was there. I told her what I had done in making the deal. She told me that I can never let The Dragon like that. I can’t succeed negotiating with schizophrenia. Letting him in I had gone from a very high and great feeling to the gutter somewhere during that drive. It probably only took a few minutes.
This stands to show that I can never let my guard down with The Dragon. The struggle with schizophrenia is constant. I can never let loose. I’ll never be able to truly relax. If I let it down for a little bit The Dragon comes in at full strength. He’ll come with his voices, narrative, raw feeling and the Hell that he injects into me.
After all of that I didn’t get the job. Despite two graduate degrees and 14 years of experience as a military officer leading soldiers, I wasn’t hired to manage a Starbucks. Despite the insistence of The Dragon I knew that I interviewed very well. Or maybe I didn’t?
I can never know why they didn’t hire me. Maybe there was an even more qualified applicant. Maybe I offended one of the panelists. Maybe they didn’t like how far away I lived. I’m wondering if it is something else though. I think they could sense the crazy in me. I negotiated with schizophrenia and maybe feeling like The Dragon wasn’t there made me look manic. Maybe I was excited to feel free and talked too fast. Yes, I believe they could tell that there was something off about me.
Starbucks probably just dodged a bullet by not hiring me.
Until I received the rejection I viewed myself as “handicapable” with a few limitations. Now I feel as handicapped as the government says I am. To have a good interview I had to trick myself into feeling like I was in total control. But I wasn’t, I just let The Dragon slither around and pretend to be something else. I’m sure they saw the crazy in my eyes while I held onto the delusion that I was free.
I’ve been thinking of myself in terms of what I’m capable of, now I see myself as how incapable I really am. I tried to get an hour of my old self in. But I got something else. I can never be who I used to be and it is important and healthy to remember that. But I can still try to be the best me even if it is less. But I can never again allow myself the delusion that I can succeed in negotiating with schizophrenia.