I follow blogs by caregivers and other people who have schizophrenia. Yesterday, I read a caregivers blog and it was so sad. The blog is written by a mother who cares for her son who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia five years ago. She wrote about recognizing less and less of the boy she once knew, and how it was breaking her heart. Her son has a difficult time caring for his daily needs (like a shower, or changing clothes, taking medication, etc.), he also gets confused easily and is in a distant state much of the time.
The only experience I have with schizophrenia is my own, and it doesn’t always look like other people’s experience with schizophrenia. Many of the doctors I have worked with believe that my first episode of psychosis was brought on by extreme trauma (I will write about that some time), and that I may not have ever developed full blown schizophrenia without that incident. I don’t know if this is true or not, and the doctors of course can’t prove it, but I had a very late onset of schizophrenia, I was around twenty-eight.
Even though my symptoms, at this moment, don’t look as extensive as some others with schizophrenia, I have been there. I have spent months in a private world that no one else could enter into. I have spent months only communicating with the voice, or voices inside my head. I have spent months believing, and experiencing things that no one else around me believed or experienced. I have been trapped inside my mind, locked there with no way to tell anyone to come in and find me.
Tomorrow, I could be in that world again. It is for me, the woman who has to fear being shut off from reality, and all those who live in that state constantly, that I write. In the small corner of the world where I exist, and with what little influence and power I have been given, I want to be a voice for those of us who can’t tell others what it is like to have the most feared of all the mental illnesses.
I can’t know the experience of all the other people who suffer from this illness, but hopefully I can bring attention to the fact that the stereotypes are inaccurate, the stigma needs to be eliminated, we need more public attention on the facts, and more money needs to be put into treatment.
There is so much to say about schizophrenia, and what it is like to be isolated by your own mind. This blog is for all those who are currently suffering. It breaks my heart to know you have to experience that. Why does it break my heart? Because I know for certain what it is like, I’ve been to that world too, and if I could get you a ticket back, I would. I write for you.