Updated: Jun 22, 2021
By James Howard
With shelter in place orders and the multitudes of people infected with the Coronavirus and even some dying, the disabled must take extra precautions. I, for one, have had to deal with this plague. I have health issues that put me at high risk. I tell people that getting out and mixing with people is like going somewhere, and a person with a cocked and loaded gun is waiting for me. I have had a heart attack, mini-stroke, and have lung issues.
My disability has followed me since I was a child; it wasn’t physical, to begin with. It was mental, and that is a hard situation to live with to try and develop in the formative years. I had many different labels given for the illness of the mind. Hyperactivity, Schizophrenia, mental illness, and what would be called bipolar and ADHD today. These issues caused me many problems, low concentration on studies, fighting, the paranoia of other people, and being suspended from school.
I wanted a normal life or at least what I saw other children have, but it seemed out of my grasp. To compensate for the turmoil in my mind and emotions, I took to drinking and drugs. I was seeking to slow down a racing, painful mind, and emotions. The self-medicating got me into trouble with the police. Jail and other institutions seemed to be my lot in life for years. I lived homeless for periods in my life. I am intelligent, but I would lose good jobs because I would become paranoid if other people laughed while they were around me. I would go off into a rage at times, thinking others were putting me down.
Recently, I talked to my best friend about how I once thought people were talking about me and laughing at me when I worked for him. I quit a good job right then and there. Oh, the torment of a mind that runs down that track is hard. I desired to work and do an excellent job for employers, and the issue wasn’t my work, but my mind and emotions. I wouldn’t take medicine for my mental problems. The medicines doctors prescribed made me more paranoid. I decided to take street drugs instead.
My life went on like that for years. Today at 60, I have peace of mind most times. I know Jesus, read the Bible, pray, and have good Christian friends as a superb support system. My mind has slowed down considerably. I am on disability and have accomplished things I never thought possible. I have a Pastor’s diploma. I have written seven books, and I have been published in several publications. I have a good life for someone who thought life was no good and unfair. I have started learning music theory and am working on playing three different instruments. That desire comes hereditary. My ancestors were famous musicians, poets, composers, and painters.
Life was going good, and now came the plague of COVID-19. A shelter in place order was issued in many states. Regardless of shelter in place or not, I was staying in. With my health issues contracting the virus would be bad. I have become a traveler under darkness. I only go out before daylight to the grocery market, and other places before other people get to shopping. I am grateful for the stores that work to accommodate those of us at high risk.
One thing I have found is that my mind, at times, plays tricks on me. A couple of weeks ago, I felt fever and weakness symptoms and got paranoid that I had contracted the virus. That weighed heavily on my mind as I thought I may soon be gone from the earth. That has happened a couple of times, but most of the problem is the weather. It is hot during the day and cools at night, so the change in the weather makes me feel symptoms of sickness. Pollen also causes terrible symptoms.
I am determined to not let my mind play games on me, and I intend to stay at home and stay busy. I am writing and playing music and having a great time studying. COVID-19 is serious and dangerous, but I intend if at all possible, to outrun the person with the cocked and loaded gun.
James Howard has been published in several magazines and likes to uplift marginalized children.