Schizophrenia is a strange kind of fun. On the one hand your lapses into crippling paranoia and delusional thinking will give you the edge you need to be sharp and cutthroat in social and business interactions, after all if you think everybody’s out to get you, you don’t have to make friends which opens up a lot of room for focusing on your specific goals. On the other hand, these same lapses into crippling paranoia and delusional thinking will make you so lonely and fearful of the world around you that you won’t even want to interact and will therefore have endless amounts of free time as you sit huddled in the corner of your dark studio apartment with a loaded glock ready to strike at even the most subtle sound emanating from your neighbor’s apartment.
This article is of course satire and attempting to make light of a horrible situation the subject of which I’m allowed to joke about because I’ve had schizophrenia for eight years. In it, I’ll guide you through the steps of accepting your tragic fate and fighting to overcome it and one day having a semblance of functioning normally in society.
- The diagnosis
This will be a shock to your system. The knowledge that you have an incurable brain disorder and must take powerful antipsychotic medication everyday for the rest of your life will seem like some insurmountable obstacle that shatters not only your dreams but your relationships with your friends and family.
The most important thing to remember here is that the quickest way to get out of the hospital is to comply and take your meds and go to your therapy groups. If the doctors see that you’re compliant and are willing to accept your diagnosis as a sickness and not some divine ordination from the mouth of God you will get to go home sooner.
- Delusions and Paranoia
When you get out of the hospital you will still be dangerously psychotic and you will still think that the whole operation was a set up or a ruse to keep you from discovering the secrets of the corrupt new world order. You will also be on constant guard from perceived threats like the way that one guy looked at you or that inflection in your friend’s voice that signaled something that you are sure was an accusation.
Hopefully, the fact that all of this paranoia and these delusions you have about you being the second coming of Jesus Christ will seem, at the very least, a bit far fetched, even for you. The hope is that this realization will spark the realization that you actually are dangerously ill. That or the paranoia will be so invasive that you’ll do anything to get it to go away. This is when you should think that maybe, if you keep taking your pills you might feel a bit better.
- The Side Effects
You will get fat, you will have the feeling that you want to tear your skin off and that you can’t sit still. You will feel extremely sedated and you will feel like taking your own life but don’t fret, all of this is par for the course. Sometimes it takes years to get the right cocktail of meds and life will be hell in these areas for some time but on the plus side, your paranoia will lessen, your delusions will disappear and you will stop thinking that you’re receiving secret messages from the television and radio.
Eventually, you will get on the right meds and get used to the side effects and accept them as part of your life.
- Interacting With People Without Seeming Crazy
At some point along the way, you’ll start to feel OK. You will never feel awesome but you will feel at least a bit better. This is called stability and once you reach that point you will want to improve even more. Part of improving is learning to interact with society without seeming crazy.
This takes several years to master and you must always be watching, evaluating, and analyzing your and other people’s social interactions. If something didn’t quite feel smooth or fluid and normal keep trying until it does, keep experimenting with different forms of eye contact, word inflection, and laughter until it becomes second nature. It will be hard but if you keep a sense of humor about it there’s nothing stopping you.
- How to get by without alienating your loved ones
During your recovery you will feel impulses to say and do things that are not normal. This is partly a result of feeling frustration that you are not acting normal, getting laid or getting anywhere personally and professionally, and that you are taking cues from an unreal and inflated view of the world that comes to you through television and movies. It’s important to know that people don’t actually act like you see them acting in the media.
The best thing to do in these situations is to try to learn to relax and interact in a sort of flow, or how it seems easiest to interact. If you force it, it won’t feel normal. If you sit back and just let it happen naturally, you will have less of a learning curve and will already be better at interacting than most.
- Being a normal human being
Once you have become stable, and have mastered the art of social interaction you can start to think about actually living a normal life. You can start thinking about getting a job or finding a relationship, this will be hard at first but just use what you’ve learned and expound on it in whatever way you can to get to a place you want to be.
Be warned, your diagnosis will be a detriment that you will have to live with and it may cause you to miss opportunities because of ignorance on society’s part. You will have to deal with the stigma that people think you’re going to shoot up a school or do something equally horrible but if you demonstrate in every facet of your life that you are still a good, nice, humble person and that your diagnosis isn’t any different than having cancer or AIDS people will treat you with dignity and respect.
At least that’s how it worked with me. Good luck and Godspeed!
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