The Author

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
I am overcoming schizophrenia, and I believe others can too. Here is how I am managing my condition...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What is Schizophrenia to Me

This is what schizophrenia is like when untreated...

It is a nightmare that you cannot wake up from. The illness causes you to believe that everything is about you; a television program, a song on the radio, a stranger's glare. The illness makes you feel trapped, as if everybody is watching you and trying to harm you, but you can't escape- you're outnumbered.

You can't eat food because someone is trying to poison you. You can't take a shower, because someone has tampered with the soap and it will burn your skin. You can't tell your family what's going on because they have been replaced too, they're impostures! You can't trust your friends because they will run and tell someone your secrets. You know they are gossiping about you and they are out to get you, you can feel it, God has blessed you with special powers that enables you to feel menacing and positive spirits in people; you are sensitive to people's emotions.

Everything is a sign, that truck making a U-turn means you should go back, that taxi cab driver saying, 'stay out of trouble,' means he's watching you too, and is in on it. The voices discouraging you are people around you, they know everything and are using information against you.

What is schizophrenia? Schizophrenia is a mental illness that corrupts the mind. It makes you believe bizarre things and causes you to act strange as a result of the delusions and hallucinations. The illness alters your thoughts and personality causing you to be distant and secretive, not trusting anyone or letting your guard down, for me at least.

Schizophrenia is a highly misunderstood, complicated mental illness that many people do not want to talk about and many do not understand. It is disturbing, media portrays it as a characteristic prone to violence. People are afraid of what the person with schizophrenia will do, they don't have any idea what the illness is about except it is associated with violence. Even church members are confused about the illness, some believe that people with schizophrenia have demonic spirits in them that need to be expelled. Others flat out discriminate against persons with schizophrenia in the workplace, within families, and in housing because they simply do not understand the illness.

THIS IS NOT TRUE: people with schizophrenia are upright citizens! They are not proned to violence unless they have a history of violence prior to the onset, which is a very small minority of people with schizophrenia, like the general population. People with schizophrenia are entitled to have live just like everybody else, they are not filled with demonic spirits. And they deserve to get work and get a home without the hassles. (I have been discriminated against in housing. The potential landlord thought my potential roommate would cause too much stress and suggested that I should not rent a room there).

However, when treated, you can think clearly and be more conscious to what is going on around you. You are not afraid of the people around you. You can openly voice your thoughts and opinions. You can eat your food in peace and shower with no concern. You can form meaningful relationships again.

To learn more about schizophrenia or to get support visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness or Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada).

10 comments:

As Lovers Go said...

I'm so glad you write.

Valash said...

As Lovers Go,

That really makes me feel good- thank you!

Ashley

BellaBeauty said...

You should be an advocate for people with Schizophrenia. There's a lot you know, a lot only you could know.

Chris said...

Ashley,
You have a wonderful gift of communication and certainly are a unique peer advocate...And you don't leave out the 'wider' network (parents, friends carers) but connect accross and include them in... Tremendous.
In your spirit of reaching out, would you mind if I post a link to your site to a group in UK that includes professional therapists, consumers and carers all committed to humane interpersonal approach and education about SZ and related disorders.Your blog needs a wider audience.
In particular I love the way you manage to update and make each new entry so often seem entirely welcoming and relevant to a worried and scared young newcomer to your site, as well as uplifting to your regular followers. You should feel very proud of what you do. I hope that helps keep your generous energy nourished and replenished and keep you healthy...
Thank you,
warm wishes
Chris UK, family member

earlyriser said...

Your wonderful insight into the mind of what's it's like to have SZ is awesome. Thank you for taking the time to educate people. You have talent and a good heart. People with SZ can and do live a productive life. Getting the word out is barrier that's hard to break. With a good example as you, those barriers can be brought down.

Thank you so much!

Valash said...

Thank you all for your wonderful feedback, you motivate me to keep writing!

BellaBeauty,
I would love to do more for people with schizophrenia such as attend seminars and workshops to share my story and to spread awareness. Thank you so much!

Chris,
I encourage you to post the link to my blog- I would love to reach a larger audience and to get the word out about this highly misunderstood illness to bring about awareness. Thank you for reminding me about other people affected by schizophrenia, and who are in the lives of the person with schizophrenia, I'll keep this in mind when I post more.

earlyriser,
I am glad I was able to organize a post that really shows what schizophrenia is like...I agree that people with schizophrenia do live productive lives, I am one of them!

Thank you again for all your comments and have a blessed day!

Ashley

Nowh3r3m4n said...

Hey again, thanks for taking a look through the cellar door!

I didn't notice this post last night, but I got it after a sentence.

I think I'm following this, but I'm not sure, if you see what I mean? I have a tendency to talk in riddles recently, like everything's a metaphor. I'd love to chat some time about your experiences, preferably without the constricting thought of other people reading what I say!

Keep reading mine, you may find it interesting.

Rob.

PS,

I agree with AsLoversGo, I think it's a great thing that you write this stuff, I have no treatment (I daren't go to the doctors), but this makes me feel.

glidingonice said...

This was a highly helpful and informative blog entry. Thank you :)

Valash said...

Hello Rob,

Thank you for inviting me to your cellar door...Doctors help people, remember that, so if you need treatment-don't hesitate to ask for help from a professional... This blog is not to replace therapy or to find alternative treatments, discuss this with your doctor.

Thank you for reading this blog!

Ashley

beautiful mind, complex life said...

Ashley,

You describe the illness's effects and your own experiences with them very well, with clear examples to help people who have not been there understand what it is like, and to help those who have been there understand that they are not alone. You are creating a positive change in the world every time you write in this blog, and you should be proud of yourself for your work.

Please keep writing! I am really glad to have found your blog, and I will be placing a link on mine to yours - which is something I meant to do a while ago and forgot (sorry about that!).

I hope you are doing well today.

Take care,

Jen