Original SDMB thread - What does it feel like to have schizophrenia?


I can't tell you what it feels like to genuinely, actually HAVE schizophrenia, because it doesn't really exist. It's just a convenient label + excuse for locking us up without a trial or charges and then poisoning our minds so we can't think or feel. They make examples of us to instill fear in the rest of you of becoming other than normal.

Or perhaps not, but it has seemed that way to me, incontrovertibly, without room for other grey areas. To believe that is to harbor a set of beliefs not shared by most others; it is, in fact, to harbor a set of beliefs that would be dismissed by many others as "crazy". What that means, in practice, is that, at some point, you choose to dismiss other folks' evaluations of your beliefs, having more faith in your own ability to differentiate between crazy nonsensical belief-content and content that is simply different from what the rest of the world believes.

That can make you feel a bit "paranoid", not so much that folks are out to get you, but that they are, en masse, harboring a shared set of values and beliefs that you have discounted as wrong. Maybe dangerously so. Heck, if they believe schizophrenia exists, they might believe they should lock you up, thinking you "have" it! In particular, when they find out you've been diagnosed as schizophrenic and that the doctor thinks you should be taking antipsychotic medication, they may believe they are doing you a big favor by doing whatever it takes--pressuring you, having you locked up, tricking you--to poison your brain (get you to "take your meds").

One thing you learn is the art of diplomacy. Here's the first paragraph, reworded just a bit:

I can't necessarily tell you what it feels like to genuinely, actually HAVE schizophrenia, because it doesn't necessarily exist, at least not as they've described it. Even if it does exist as the biomedical phenomenon they allude to, it is also true that in practice people who are disruptive may receive the diagnosis (as I did), there is no test for schizophrenia other than a psychiatrist's subjective evaluation of a person's behavior and affect, and the psychiatric medications are still pretty much blunt assaults on CNS functions, i.e., they dampen out the mind's ability to think and feel. This lessens symptoms, and may help badly distressed people cope, but it is also true that those who receive it involuntarily experience it as an assault on their ability to think and feel, and their reactions to that, such as describing attempts to treat them as attempts to poison them, are viewed as delusions, proof of how badly they need their medications.


See my next post on this same thread


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