I can only remember once or twice… the one I remember well was my sister giving me a brief summary of what schizophrenia was, and me thinking of violent psychos with messy hair… the word even sounded kind of scary. I didn’t even care back then what the moral or accurate thing to think about schizophrenics was, I was too busy “living my life”. Now that I know you all, I feel ashamed of my ignorance.
I don’t have schizophrenia but psychotic depression with depersonalization isn’t a cake walk. I can sympathize with a lot of people on this board. I can no longer relate to anyone very well outside of it.Not even my best friend.
I thought of Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye. My image of schizophrenia was of walking down a city street, knowing that you’d keep walking down down down into the pavement. I don’t know why this was my image of schizophrenia, but it was very vivid and very frightening.
Later, when the book Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell came out, there were passages that described characters hearing bells and music no one else could hear, of being kidnapped into a world that overlaid their own and not being able to talk about it, about walking through London and the people and horses and lampposts around them turning into trees and the city into a forest. That was schizophrenia to me.
[quote]The stout gentleman opened his eyes wide in fright, anger and indignation. He opened his mouth wide to begin accusing Stephen but in that moment he began to change. His body became the trunk of a tree; he suddenly sprouted arms in all directions and all the arms became branches; his face became a bole and he shot up twenty feet ; where his hat and umbrella had been there was a thick crown of ivy.
“An oak tree in Piccadilly,” thought Stephen, not much interested. “That is unusual.”
Piccadilly was changing too. A carriage happened to be passing. It clearly belonged to someone of importance for as well as the coachman upon his box, two footmen rode behind; there was a coat of arms upon the door and it was drawn by four matched greys. As Stephen watched the horses grew taller and thinner until they seemed about to disappear entirely and at that point they were suddenly transformed into a grove of delicate silver birches. The carriage became a holly bush and the coachman and the footmen became an owl and two nightingales which promptly flew away. A lady and gentleman walking along together suddenly sprouted twigs in every direction and became an elder-bush, a dog became a shaggy clump of dry bracken. The gas lamps that hung above the street were sucked up into the sky and became stars in a fretwork of winter trees and Piccadilly itself dwindled to a barely discernible path through a dark winter wood.
But just as in a dream where the most extraordinary events arrive complete with their own explanation and become reasonable in an instant, Stephen found nothing to be surprized at. Rather, it seemed to him that he had always known that Piccadilly stood in close proximity to a magical wood.
That’s always been my favorite book of all time because I always felt like I could relate to Holden, but I never knew why I felt such a strong connection to him. Then after I got my diagnosis, I was reading the book again for about the hundredth time, and all of a sudden it made sense. It’s still my favorite book; I’m even thinking about getting a quote from the book as a tattoo
I never really heard or understood schizophrenia in like high school. There was a time where i even thought depression didn’t exist. Just thought the crazy people who talk to themselves on the street and normals never thinking i could have anything near to what they had like it was some other world to me at the time. Then i hit 17 and my views on everything changed. First hand experience with depression and psychosis. Then someone told me after an episode which i didnt realize what it was everything still felt clear to me that she thought i had schizophrenia and that her sister had it and makes it really hard to keep relationships. It was almost a shock someone would use that word to describe me and I was in complete denial and even the word sounded scary. Now when i look back i see that the whole time it was developing ever since my first social contacts with kids my age. Its weird how ur understanding of things change based on experience.
Well, to be honest, I guess I thought: schizophrenia=Crazy.
But I actually did have a brush with it before I got sick myself. A young friend of our family named John was a hippie well into the seventies and he hung around with other hippies and lived out of an old Station Wagon or stayed at communes which were really popular back then. He drove around California and Oregon and Washington State, eating out of of orchards of fruits and nuts.
While I was growing up he would visit my family sporadically and stay for a week or two, sometimes alone, some time with friends. He was a friendly guy and he liked us kids and we liked him. When I was in high school he surprised everyone and got married when he was about 23 or so and eventually had a kid. His family and my family assumed he would stop his traveling and settle down, which he did for a awhile.
But then things started going wrong with him. He left his wife and kid. He hitchhiked up to Washingington State by himself with no money. he started sending odd cryptic letters in the mail… He started getting in trouble with the police and got arrested for stealing a car. Finally I guess it was his parents who came and told us that he had been hospitalized and diagnosed with schizophrenia.
When my parents told me I knew that it was a mental illness and it was serious and bad. I knew it was really bad.
I didn’t know much about it but growing up I had heard about it and had general impression of it. Well, the end of this is depressing. One night we received a letter from his parents. It was winter and John had been found up in Washington State in an orchard by himself frozen to death. Like I said he was a nice guy and it makes me sad just to think about it right now. Anyway, R.I.P. Schizophrenia claimed the life of a nice kid.
I knew people heard voices with it, but not much else. I was ignorant about psychosis, I thought it was something else, close to psychopathy. Feel so dumb now. But I get why people are ignorant, there is no info out there to reach.
I thought of Mark Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut’s son, and his book, “The Eden Express”. Mark wrote about how he tried to form a commune with some friends back in the late sixties, and how he was brought down by schizophrenia. He was a pretty drastic case, but he pulled out of it. His experience wasn’t typical of most schizophrenics, but the image he presented of it in his book was how I thought of it. Now, with the benefit of experience, I have a more accurate view.
my very first friend, when I was one years old, was a young adult from my father’s synagogue who was schizophrenic. he was so kind and nice to me – I just loved him. then, one day his father called up and I answered the phone, also when I was just a toddler and he said his son committed suicide. he was so distraught he told me, that. I told my dad (a Rabbi) and I saw what a severe disappointment that was.
the friend was a genius. to this day I sometimes think of him.