When Mental Illness Robs Your Sanity
Mental illness affects everyone differently. While some people with schizophrenia remain functional in society, others end up in a state hospital for even years at a time. There are many factors at play when it comes to how a person handles their psychotic symptoms: it depends on their personality, the severity of their symptoms, the duration of their illness, their support system, their compliance with medications and whether they abuse any substances.
It’s no surprise that many patients who suffer from psychosis are trapped by schizophrenia. They are so affected by “negative symptoms” such as blunting of affect, poverty of speech and thought, apathy, anhedonia, reduced social drive, loss of motivation, lack of social interest and inattention to social or cognitive input, that they can be talking to you without any facial expressions despite suffering on the inside. They might even complain to you, “I don’t want to feel like this” and look like they are trying to cry, but cannot find the tears to do so, as if they are trapped within their own body.
It’s very sad to witness a patient suffering from psychosis. Keep in mind that not everyone who does is responding to internal stimuli, performing odd and extreme behaviors or are being physically aggressive. For some schizophrenics, if you were to see them on the street, you would never think twice of them having a mental illness. They can present as calm, cooperative and pleasant, but it’s not until you actually observe their behavior that you start to notice the differences in their speech and thought process.
They may even admit to experiencing auditory hallucinations of voices degrading them, “Shut the fuck up, you’re not good for anything! Go kill yourself, why are you still alive? Kill that bitch!” Can you imagine how difficult it must be to hear voices in your head on a daily basis? Schizophrenics are also prone to depression because of these experiences. Some even experience ideas of reference, such as believing that others can place thoughts into their mind or even be able to read their mind.
But medications do work and that’s the beauty of psychiatry; it just takes time, patience and compliance. The other beauty of psychiatry is forming an alliance with a patient and guiding them through their psychiatric experience; you can be there for them from the day they became psychotic to the day that they recognize that it was all a big delusion. It can be quite rewarding to see psychotic patients rebound on the bright side and recover from their illness.
This is a great time to be part of the mental health world and by coming together to share our experiences, we are contributing to the end of mental health stigma and the normalization of mental illness and the suffering that comes with it. Only through an open and honest worldwide community will we be able to achieve the three goals of The DSM Ready Community:
1) End mental health stigma and normalize mental health
2) Provide a safe and nonjudgmental place to share thoughts, feelings and advice about mental health
3) Maximize happiness and well-being 😎
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)