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What You Should Know About Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia — it is like being in a crowd sometimes and everyone is making you turn turn turn around to listen to them but you are too busy driving the bus.

Here are some questions to ask yourself or a person living with schizophrenia:

  • Do you believe someone is stealing something from you?
  • Are you getting messages from the TV or radio that no one else can hear?
  • Do you hear voices in your head no one else can hear?
  • Do you believe a person or persons can inject you with their thoughts or take your thoughts away?
  • Do you believe people are against you?
  • Do you see things or smell things that aren’t there?

Forget thinking you are a superhero with special powers, because that is a delusion. Thinking that you are special enough to get messages from the TV is also wrong. Schizophrenia trades rational thinking with irrational thinking. It can have you staring at a wall for long periods of time or pacing up and down a hallway. It can only be treated with medication, and still your senses can be jumping around.

Sensory Hallucination

Seeing — Just now a person who was in the same restaurant my mom and I were having breakfast in, threw my notebook on the floor. My notebook didn’t actually end up on the floor, but I faintly saw him standing up frustrated. He was frustrated because I saw him as a delusion, and not as a real vision.

Smelling — You may be at a fish place and smell hamburgers.

Hearing — Could hear voices that can be insulting or uplifting. Sometimes you think people are listening in to your conversation or can know your thoughts.

Sometimes it can be a feeling not necessarily in touch, but kind of like feeling someone else’s presence. One time I thought Bill Murray (comedian, actor) helped me to write a poem. He thought of the line Chasing windmills.

The man inside your head
Holds his laughter
While you hold your breath
At oncoming cars
And pedestrians
He chases windmills
And belongs with
Friends inside his head
Streaming on the page
No punctuations
From the chaos of conversing
Taking a lower dose of sleep meds
But no vitamins
In the crowd in his head
He is often called upon
But outside his own mind he is no one

It isn’t the best poem; I guess that is Bill Murray’s fault. I didn’t believe it at first but then I got swept up in it.

What Should You Do?

Sometimes medication stops working, and sometimes it takes about 10 years to be put on the right medication. Remember, the pressure in finding the right medication doesn’t fall on your shoulders. All that stuff is hard to understand, so it is better to leave it to a professional. You should be compliant. I have taken pills and have gotten injections. Some have worked a little; some haven’t worked at all. I am trying a new medication as I write this.

Whatever happens, make sure you hang in there. Listen to your doctor, attend group or one-to-one therapy, and remember you are not alone unless you choose to have a pity party or something. I personally have stopped drinking because alcohol can affect your meds negatively. Sometimes you just have to play by the rules.

This piece originally appeared on The Schizophrenia Bulletin, Volume 43, Issue 4, July 2017, Page 683.

Getty image by SanneBerg

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