Intelligence, Wisdom and Schizophrenia

I’m pretty sure I had a very high IQ before my first episode of psychosis. After all, I taught informal logic. It was my job to reason well, and I was good at my job.

Because of this, it’s always interesting to me to read articles like this one, about how people with schizophrenia tend to have lower IQs than people without that diagnosis, and that there may be a subgroup of people with schizophrenia who have high IQs.

One time, a psychiatrist told me that for each episode, cognitive function decreases, and it’s hard to get it back. That may be true–and I may not be perfect–but I am not only happier but also a better person than I was before my diagnosis due to the wisdom I’ve picked up over the years.

Prior to my diagnosis, I thought intelligence, particularly reasoning ability that IQ tests measure, was the absolute best thing. It was better, to me, to be intelligent than, say, nice.

The years wore on me and due to a variety of circumstances, I now feel that being a good person is better than whatever high reasoning ability one has because, in short, when you’re a good person, you’re almost always right, especially in ways that matter.

Not to mention, there are many ways one can be gifted: with written communication, the visual arts, athletically, and so on. Why don’t they measure these talents when it comes to people with schizophrenia?

At the end of the day, I may have been one of that “select group” who had a relatively high IQ and schizophrenia, but these studies mean nothing to me, and they tell us very little about people with schizophrenia.

When will they end? I don’t know. Maybe when we start seeing people with schizophrenia as, well, people.

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