Explaining My Psychotic Self

Anyone familiar with me knows that I was diagnosed with schizophrenia about 10 years ago while finishing my MA degree.

It’s been a tough journey. I went from middle class to extreme poverty, tried a dozen medications, went to therapy, lost friends, mentors, acquaintances, and professional contacts.

I will soon be one year symptom free. This past year I have grown in wisdom and health. I hope my remission lasts. Being psychotic is no fun for anyone.

While I’m in remission, I decided to take the time to reflect upon the times when I am psychotic. I have explained previously that when I am psychotic, I truly am legally insane.

I have done a lot of things while psychotic. I have thought I was married or engaged to someone I don’t know, thought I had jobs I didn’t have, and generally been afraid for my life.

My wise and knowing counselor told me to tell everyone that those things are not me. They are my illness.

Right now, I am on a medication that restores me to health. While schizophrenia may be a fascinating illness for people to look into, the experience of it is heartbreaking. People think I am “unstable,” dangerous and should have my rights taken away from me.

I have been basically told these things–even by philosophers, who ought to know better.

Psychosis sneaks up on me. It makes me believe things that are not true. It makes me paranoid. Even I feel unsure about how long I will be in remission.

If you’re worldview does not take into account the humanity of people like me, you have a crappy worldview. When I am healthy, I’m totally fine. My goal is to stay fine. I don’t want to lose contacts, friendships or esteem in people’s eyes. Anyway, those things–the social isolation–makes my illness worse.

I need people to see what I have finally recognized: Schizophrenia is a brain disorder. It’s not anything I can help (aside from continuing to take my medications, which have a chance of failing). I need you to see that when I have done strange things, it’s not me. It’s my illness. Because, at the end of the day, I’m just a girl in the world who has dreams, loves, hopes and ambitions.

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