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Mind Over Matter - Catatonic

The mind is so amazing and powerful it is a terrible thing to lose...

Imagine not eating for a week or more. Or even drinking water and being hospitalized several times just to keep you alive. At first, you are hungry, however, as time passes you no longer have an interest in food or drink. You do not even have hunger pains! Eventually you do not have to relieve yourself.

You are confined to your bed, not because you are tied down, but because your mind is not functioning properly. You are frozen in time, you do not move a muscle (literally). Your mind is wasted- all the education, memories, and daily functions are not registering; sometimes you hear those around you sometimes you don't- you are catatonic.

Imagine going to court and having to be strapped down because you refused to wear shoes. Or even, not noticing your own mother, grandfather, and aunt in the courtroom with you. Or, even noticing you were in court sitting before a room full of people that are deciding your future. I was zoned out, not aware of what was happening around me.

To rationalize things I thought I was being poisoned by people supervising me. Before I was catatonic I would intentionally throw my plate on the floor so that I would be given another plate so that I can eat. Later, I was put in the psychiatric ward at the jail. They labeled our plates because of our unique diets. Then I thought I was not eating because I was fasting to worship God. It was confusing and I was losing a lot of weight- I lost about 30 pounds off of my slim frame.

After I was mandated by the judge to comply with a medication regimen I slowly regained consciousness and my sense of reality. I drank protein drinks in addition to the three meals that I was given. I got my mind back! probably can't begin to imagine that! But, I can because it happened to me!

It is interesting how some people can quit street drugs, alcohol, or tobacco cold turkey, but I guess it is mind over matter.

To learn more about schizophrenia visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada), or Embracing My Mind (EMM).


K.C. Jones said…
I can imagine it, although I chose to not eat or drink not for different, although still very sickly, reasons. It was my way of controlling life-if I controlled how much I ate and drank, then everything would be okay, but of course, it was not. That's the seductive nature of an eating disorder. I can understand about gaining back your mind when gaining weight-when I stop eating and drinking, I am hospitalized before I get low enough in weight to be classified as anerexic, because the depression and the schizoid symptoms hit me first.
K.C. Jones said…
Whoops - correction - I chose to not eat or drink for different reasons...
ACDesign said…
Your post reminds me of what my brother goes through with each relapse. During his first break, it was hard for me to imagine that his psychosis caused him not to eat. He lost a LOT of weight and his legs were torn up because he was running from something that was not real. Makes me sad to think of what that might be like for anyone who suffers with psychosis. You are brave to explain your experiences in such detail. Your blog will enlighten others and offer support to those going through the same thing. When my brother first got sick, I was on the message board daily. I had too many questions and fears. There were many people like yourself there to lend support. Thanks:)
Lady_Amanda said…
I know this is late comment on your blog, but I was just reading it now because I haven't been on the computer much lately. First it was my knee, then it was my Mom's, and now it's mine again. But that doesn't matter. What I wanted to say was that you described that beautifully, not that what happened was beautiful. I am saying that I could put myself in your shoes. I almost sort of was because just before I was first diagnosed with a mental illness, I was going through my first schizophernic break! I was like a ghost walking my dorm room floors. I didn't sleep, eat, or bath. And my mind was gone because I was imgaining things (or seeing things). It finally ended when I attempted suicide. I didn't have to go to court like you did. However, in the state of Indiana, if two psychiatrist agree, a judge (over the phone) can court order a person for seventy - two hours to a mental health unit and that's what happened to me. Your road to recovery sounded a bit rougher, though. I can't imagine what it's like to be in that state of mind and in jail at the same time!

Thanks for sharing,
Kyle Reynolds said…
I was catatonic the first episode I had when I was 16. I don't remember but my parents said I stared at the wall for almost a week. This is scary to me I think the fact that I don't remember is scary but maybe remembering would be even scarier
amanda said…

Reading your post makes tears stream down my face. This is what my mom has been going through! It is awful. How did you get your mind back?? What meds were you on or other therapies?? My mom is currently in a hospital and they do not know when she will be better. She has been there for over 3 years and we're trying to find some answers..anything to help her. She desperately wants out, but cannot seem to stabilize for longer than a couple of hours before she lapses again back into psychosis. Please offer any advice you can.

thank you

Valash said…

I am not a doctor to recommend medication, but this is what I tried: Zyprexa, Geodon, and eventually Abilify for psychosis.

Keep hope alive that your mother's doctor will find the right medication that works for her.

Maintain a good relationship with your mother's doctor to learn more about the illness and how to help your mother.

Take care,

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