Her Message:
“I am different, I am unique but … I want them to understand that I’m still a person, you know. Just because I talk a certain way or because I dress a certain way … I have something wrong with me, but it’s always nice to sit down and know the person and understand what they’re going through. Cause if you don’t, then you’ll never know, and then you’re (pause) uneducated …”

Listen to Jazmine’s message here:

Jazmine Floyd is in her early 20’s, and still struggling to make sense of her life and her illness. Most recently, she lived in Indiana with her family, but she grew up in Atlanta, GA. She felt that she needed to get away from Indiana to see if she could manage better on her own, and she took a bus to Cincinnati, where she knew no one—leaving only a message to say good-bye. At the time of our interview, she had been in Cincinnati for 8 months, and living in her present apartment for three months. She was back in touch with her family, and she was feeling optimistic about her choice to begin in a new place.

I just want a new start. I wanted to go, I wanted to get my G.E.D. like…I’m going to a literacy program down the street, [to] get my G.E.D., and the teacher say you really, you work really hard. Yeah, I mean I have to work hard, because I really want to get it. Everyone’s telling me oh, you know you’re not gonna get it right away, and when they kept on saying negative things, I believed it. When people say something negative, I’m like oh I guess I can’t do it, you know. But when I do it on my own, my own time, and just take my time and do it, I can do it. When I took that G.E.D. practice pre-test, I passed every subject. But, before when I stayed in Indiana, I couldn’t pass none of it.

Listen here to what Jazmine likes to do for fun:

Jazmine also likes to write in her spare time, and she is working on a book to try to tell others what the struggle with schizophrenia has been for her.

In the front page, in the front of my book’s going to be a picture of me. It’s going to say, “Do I look normal?” and people would think, oh yeah, she’s normal, you know, automatically, from [the] outside they think I’m normal, but inside it’s a lot going on, you know. And I want everybody to know that just ‘cause someone’s, you know, gorgeous on the outside doesn’t mean they’re right on the inside. I love to write. Poetry especially. The most basic thing I like right now. I like to draw too, but it’s mostly painting.

Listen to an expanded version of the above excerpt here:

Through her teen-age years, Jazmine felt anger towards her family and others, and as she mentions below, toward herself and her situation.

I feel like well, you know, I’m angry. I have so much hate towards everybody. And it’s not actually even towards everybody, it’s really toward myself sometimes. I wish I were not like that as a person. I didn’t know how to handle that…I felt rejected. You know they see oh, on your resume, I put I have a disability. “Oh, well, we can’t hire you.” And, and, friends, they judge before they know. I’m really a good person. I’m just, you know, sometimes quick to react.

As with many persons who are adjusting to schizophrenia, Jazmine has (in the past) resisted the idea that she needs medication. Recently, however, she is coming to believe that mediation does help.

Medication. I’m off that now. I’m off my Haldol. When I was in Indiana, I had Haldol shots. It helped put that brain imbalance correct, you know. I felt when I stopped seeing the things I was seeing I was like..[better]. And they stopped that [the medication.] And now I need it. I realize, I think that it was helping me more than hurting me.

Still, even without the medication, Jazmine’s answer to what she likes best about her life suggests both how debilitating schizophrenia can be, and that she is grateful for the little things. It also indicates that she is learning the importance of persisting.

But the fact that I can get up, cook myself some food, and wash my body every day, and go to school. That’s like the best thing. I never could do that. When I was back in Atlanta or Indiana I quit. I always gave up.