I am always learning new things about schizophrenia.
Yesterday, I read on the Mayo Clinic site, that full blown schizophrenia often develops in women in their late twenties. I always thought that my schizophrenia showed up late, but I was wrong. I became psychotic for the first time at twenty eight and that is common for women who develop the illness.
Finding out this piece of information shifts everything that I knew, or thought that I knew.
I thought that I started to show symptoms of schizophrenia in high school and college. I would go through months where I know I was depressed. I didn’t get treated for it at the time, but I am certain I was experiencing it.
When we lived in Denver, during my early high school years, I used to lie on the floor, close my eyes, and wish myself away. I would do this for hours.
When we moved to Cairo Egypt, after my brothers flew back to the United States for college, I stayed in my room for over a month and read many of the books on a list that my new school said that I should have read as a junior. (I went to a college prep school and they actually held me back a year because my previous school record was so pathetic).
To say my adolescent years were turbulent would be an understatement. I was an unhappy kid. I ran away from home. I dated much older men. I didn’t play sports. I didn’t have a hobby. I didn’t have much in terms of success at that age. I didn’t even think or dream of college. I never once had a dream of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I always thought I would be dead by thirty.
The first year of college, I never hung up my clothes. I had so many clothes and I just left them in a pile on my floor. They were like a massive piece of furniture.
My second year of college, I moved in to an apartment by myself. I never unpacked anything. I lived around boxes.
I dropped out of school and ran away from college. I ended up in California. Eventually, the young man I had been dating in college (he had since graduated) drove to California to move me back to Washington.
We lived happily for a number of years. I went back to college, got married, got a degree, and eventually depression hit again. We ended up divorced. I lived on my own, and eventually I broke completely with reality.
Off medication, I have a history of terrible choices. I get depressed easily. I am impulsive. I drink to excess. Honestly, I don’t know where I would be if I never had that first episode of psychosis and received psychiatric treatment and antipsychotics.
It is strange to say, what has almost killed me again and again, may have saved me when it first showed up.