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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Living with Schizophrenia

I came across a blog written by someone who suffers from schizophrenia and is taking great efforts to fight it, according to what he writes. (

Living with Schizophrenia.
It took me a long time,
to want to write about
this affliction of mine
that I've been living with
for 7 years now.
As in virtually all mental illness,
I doubt schizophrenia
is fully understood
by medical science.
My own experiences
made me derive my own prognosis
which maybe radically different
from those of mainstream psychiatry.
It started 7 years ago
24th June 2000,
when my ex-wife left me,
and I came back
to an empty house.
The initial shock
led to severe depression
and led me to drink,
the weed killer
from the garden.
I suspect
the combination
of poison and depression,
permanently altered
the chemical balance
in my head
and I started hearing
and seeing delusions
I said permanently
because unfortunately
brain cells do not regenerate
unlike other cells
of the body.
it is the result
of an overactive mind
in unoccupied circumstances
that often lead
to delusionary attacks.
The starting point,
is almost always,
a disturbed state of mind
in emotional turmoil.
I've learnt,
that human emotions
are impossible
to suppress.
They always resurface
in another form,
almost always
more destructive.
In my case,
my subconsciousness
created a parallel universe
for me to escape
reality of living.
In my murky world
of subconsciousness,
my mind somehow distilled,
my two alter egos,
good and evil.
Before I learnt,
that it was schizophrenia,
that I was dealing with,
I entertained those delusions.
I had hours of conversations,
with my two alter egos.
The good, I called Daniel,
the voice of my conscience.
The evil, I called Lu,
short of Lucifer.
I used to sit down,
and had wonderfully intellectual debates,
with the two of them,
until I totally exhausted myself.
They will reappear
everytime I was alone
and I actually welcomed
their presence
as though I was meeting
old friends.
Together, we would
analyse, hypothesize,
Life in itself.
Later on, at the advise
of my psychiatrist,
I was told to avoid
these delusions.
The danger is,
at one point,
in severe cases
of Schizophrenia,
I may lose the ability
to differentiate
between delusions
and reality,
and remain
in the world of delusions.
I was administered
this horrible medication
called Risperdal.
My own unfortunate experiences
with Risperdal
were two fold.
It does indeed instill
mental calm,
and nothing can ever upset me
in that state of peacefulness
and calm.
Risperdal's life cycle
is 24 hours,
and I was supposed to take
ONE tablet a day.
But the problem is,
the body gets accustomed
very quickly,
and that life cycle
gets shorter
every single day.
The nightmare is
when Risperdal's life cycle
wears off.
The delusions come back
a hundred times worse.
I would be seized,
in a state
of utter fear
and paranoia.
A constant state of anxiety
and panic attacks.
The delusions,
by now Daniel is gone,
and Lu plus a thousand others,
will mock and laugh at me,
hurl insults,
asking me to jump off
the 11th floor
of my apartment.
There were times,
I wanted to jump off,
just to silence them.
My medication went from
ONE tablet of Risperdal
to FOUR tablets a day.
I knew,
I was getting hopelessly addicted
to Risperdal.
I locked myself,
in a hotel room,
in Batam,
for 3 days
to totally wean myself off
from my addiction.
For 3 days,
I battled with my delusions,
till the after effects of Risperdal,
disappeared from my system
Now, having learnt
that chemically induced calmness
dispels my delusions,
if follows that
if I can self induce
my own calmness,
it will dispel delusions too.
I learnt that,
the moral support
of loved ones,
family and friends
help better than any
available medication.
In the absence of that,
I suppose religion
is a great healer too.
I often lacked the faith
to believe in
any organised religion
wholeheartedly at least.
I don't think this affliction
will ever go away
I've learnt to cope,
by being focussed
or physically,
such that my mind
will not have a chance
to allow delusions back in.
It is presumptous
to expect
that I will not face any form
of adversity
in life's paths
to cause a recurrance
of my chemical imbalances.
It helps to take life
with equanimity
and a stoic outlook.
I've learnt that for me,
the delusionary trigger
is almost always
Fear of failure, fear of betrayal.
I am generally successful
in most aspects of life,
my biggest failures
have been my relationship
with women.
And these days,
the delusions will mock, gloat
and laugh hysterically,
at my relationship failures,
my own perception
of myself,
devastating all
my confidence.
But I've learnt
to exhaust myself physically
by constant activity,
or keep my mind distracted
by reading or any other
activity that demands
total concentration.
But if you have friends
or family,
with this affliction
of Schizophrenia,
and they lack
the capacity or ability
to help themselves,
I would say,
nothing beats
the reassuring environment
that love from friends
and family
can provide.

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