In my experience and personal research on schizophrenia it is a complex brain disorder that affects thoughts, judgment, and sense of reality. Now, I will share with you some of my experiences with the illness.
Before I had knowledge of my mental health condition I experienced diverse symptoms of schizophrenia including the following: A belief that I had special abilities to read other people's minds, extreme paranoia in that I believed that other people were trying to harm me by poisoning my food (even family members!). The fear of others trying to kill me, by serving tainted food, encouraged me not to eat- anything. This led me to lose a lot of weight, at one point I weighed under hundred pounds, which is really bad for my height of 5"5- if you can imagine.
In addition to that, I heard multiple mean-spirited, characterized voices that I rationalized by believing they were either coming from my cell phone or from other people around me. I remember one voice said: "You are a dishonor to your family!" This made me feel very sad and confused because I did not understand why the people (voices in my mind) said that.
I saw strange-looking people. One particular recurring hallucination was an elderly man on an antique bicycle following me. This man followed me on several different occasions. On top of that, I thought that people were spying on me. And because my thoughts were so distorted I remember thinking to myself if I can smoke a cigarette- which I hate- I could confuse them into thinking I am someone else and they may leave me alone. But that's not where it stops, I removed my eye glasses (which I need to see) to further disguise myself. Finally, I ditched my cell phone and Bible which I carried with me everywhere. I left the cell phone at a restaurant because I thought it was bugged and had a tracking device in it. I thought the Bible would give me away so I got rid of my most prized piece and left that too. I could go on and on about my symptoms, but I won't because I don't want to lose you to the fact that it can be so discouraging.
Therefore, I will say that my treatment (medication, therapy, and support) does wonders, which is a blessing from God. Despite my mental illness, I am able to perform like everyone else because of my treatment. After three of my diagnosis, I am now attending college again, facilitating support groups, and living on my own.
While I accept the fact that I need medication to cope, because my illness was so severe, I do not agree that everybody who has mental illness needs to take medication. I feel this way because there are various levels of severity in mental illness depending on the individual. And nowadays, there are alternative forms of treatment.
Did this entry give you insight into schizophrenia? Did you learn something new?
Thank you for you for studying this topic, which is so important to me. If you want to learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind, Inc. (EMM), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).