Living with schizophrenia - Living With Schizophrenia

August 9, 2007

Living with schizophrenia

It's been about three years since I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is an organic brain disease that affects all areas of its victim's lives. Dopamine, a brain chemical, overloads the brain with stimuli. I couldn't believe at first, that I had this disease. It was denial at its finest. It has affected me all my life.

It started with delusions of persecution. I really believed I was being picked on and that my parents and all the kids at school were out to get me. My stepfather's abuse and my father's refusal to communicate didn't help matters any. I had depression and would have fits of crying. Anything said to me could be interpreted as an insult. I would lose my temper as a result of paranoia.

I also had delusions of grandeur, although these didn't develop until later. I believed I was a powerful shaman, clairvoyant and an empath with magical abilities. I went on a spiritual quest that involved hitchhiking. I believed God was talking to me inside my head, and I heard Him say He would provide shelter every night I was away. I did manage to find shelter the entire time I was on my spiritual quest which further strengthened the delusion that God was talking to me.

Madness had its benefits. Convinced I could be a powerful healer, I studied herbs and graphology. I studied Buddhism and considered myself enlightened. I learned a lot about religion and herbs. I always have been smart with a gift for speed reading, math and writing. Knowledge led to greater power. I could predict my friends' emotions, and my knowledge of pop psychology allowed me to help friends. I completed four years of college finally quitting in 1995 because of paranoia.

I truly had a split personality. I had the one who played God inside my head and the one who studied healing. I referred to myself in the third person. Paranoid thoughts were often right about men's intentions toward me. I was afraid of getting beaten up and of manufactured drugs. It kept me out of long term abusive relationships where I could have gotten beat up. Sometimes it paid to be paranoid.

The hallucinations began later. They started occuring in 1997. I had just given birth to my second daughter. I believed ghosts or angels were talking to me out loud. Sometimes I thought it was the devil. It felt like there was somebody touching me in private places and sometimes in other places. The physical hallucinations were terrifying; I was being raped by my own mind.

These hallucinations drove me out of my apartment. I started to believe every man I had ever been with raped me. I believed I was being hunted by telepathic vampires. I also believed at some points in time that Satan or demons were raping me. To protect my newborn daughter from vampires, stalkers and her father, a convicted rapist, I took off hitchhiking with her. In Missoula, Montana they took her away from me because I let it be known that I was running away from vampires. They put me in a homeless shelter where I felt so hopeless and depressed I took sixteen sleeping tablets in an attempt to commit suicide. They put me in the mental ward of St. Patrick's hospital where they diagnosed me with psychosis NOS (Not otherwise specified) and treated me with haldol. Haldol is worse then being paranoid. They put my daughter in foster care.

Shortly after this incident I went down to Navajo country on a bus to save the Navajo with my great shamanic powers. They were being relocated from Black Mesa because of a Peabody coal mine to a nuclear dump site. I wrote about it and sent copies of the article to several newspapers and magazines. Nobody published my article.

I was able to stay on my meds for about a year before paranoia about them took over. I heard they caused weight gain, and I didn't want to gain any weight. I went off them and lost my apartment and everything in it, because I gave my daughter up for adoption and subsequently lost my housing. I was too sick to move out after the state took my housing away, so I became homeless. The hallucinations continued.

I was too paranoid to stay in one place very long. I hitchhiked all over the country convinced I could follow ley lines (lines of power) and heal the Earth. I felt safer outside, by myself, rather then being around people. By this time I had distanced myself from family and friends with my accusations and fears, so I had nobody to stay with. On the positive side, I saw quite a bit of California.

I finally got treatment again after I tried to burn down my father's house because I thought God told me to, and I was convinced he was out to get me. That was in July 2002. They sentenced me to twenty years in a mental institution on October 31, 2003. I spent over a year in jail. All of my hallucinations stopped along with all of my delusions after they put me on Abilify. I was on Risperdal for two and a half years, but I gained too much weight and they changed my medication. The benefits of Risperdal outweighed the disadvantages.

All of these thoughts were out of control, which is why they seemed like they were coming from outside of me. I used to believe all the songs I heard on the radio were songs written to me. I really thought someone was trying to communicate with me. I felt like my thoughts were being broadcast, because I could hear voices responding to them. I felt like unrelated conversations had something to do with me. I was using marijuana for the years 1995 to 2002, but it really only made me more paranoid. I'm glad I got treatment that works now.

I plan to go back to college in the future. All of my knowledge and intelligence as well as my history of helping others as a housekeeper and tutor has been a boon to my self esteem. It has been a long, scary battle with schizophrenia, homelessness, depression, and abuse from stepparents, but I've made it. I finally am finding that all that good advice from self-help books is working.

October 14, 2006

August 9, 2007

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This page contains a single entry by posted on August 9, 2007 8:40 AM.

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