I have said it over and over again, that when I am experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, the only person I truly trust is my husband.
The first time I was psychotic, I trusted my brother, but it has been a long time since we have lived in the same city so I don’t know if that would be true today.
I have found that being able to trust someone when I am experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia is crucial to being able to live with those symptoms, or even better, to overcome those symptoms.
Trust is difficult for someone with paranoid schizophrenia though.
I learned the hard way that telling people about my symptoms is not always in my best interest, in fact, it can be used against me.
I was once in an abusive relationship, and I would tell my boyfriend things about my illness. He used those details against me. If I was afraid someone was following me, he would go to the window and look out, and say, “I think I saw that car pass by before.”
If I was worried about someone getting into my files on my computer, he would change a setting or something on my computer to make me feel like someone indeed had been viewing my files.
He did things like that to increase my fear and increase my dependence on him. The more frightened I was, the more I needed him.
It was sick. He was sick.
Although I wish that everyone with fears, anxiety, or paranoia could trust someone with their thoughts so the thoughts would have less power over them, it isn’t always a good idea.
The mentally ill can be vulnerable. They are more likely than the general population to be taken advantage of and to be victims of crime.
It may be that the only person someone with a mental illness can trust is a psychiatrist, a therapist, or a social worker.
If you are a provider to the mentally ill, know that your role may be sacred. You may be the only person that a client can reach out to. You may be the sole source of their safety and comfort.
If you are that person, practice patience. Practice compassion. Practice balance. Practice wisdom. Practice peace.
If you can’t be a receiver of the sacred (trust) on a given day (we all have days like that) then don’t put yourself in that role. Take a day off, cancel your appointments. Put some space between yourself and your clients.
Don’t think that one day doesn’t matter, and that you’ll be in a better place to respond to their need tomorrow. One day where you don’t listen, or one day where you are impatient can break that trust forever and leave someone spinning in this world with no one.
Imagine suffering alone in a world that can be scary, dark and terrifying.