Schizophrenia is one of the most debilitating forms of mental illness and contrary to popular belief, we discovered that it is NOT a split personality. Rather, A SPLIT WITH REALITY.
While our son was ill I did not have access to much information at all. I wish that information of this kind explaining the symptoms of this illness had been available then.
Imagine that your brain is a video-camera that is not working well so that some of the images it captures are distorted. You videotape a truck making an ordinary delivery to your supermarket, but, when the tape is played back, the truck seems to be driven by a CIA agent who is coming to get you.
Or, imagine that you are driving down a regular highway, one you know well, and suddenly, the camera of your mind sees that a car coming toward you has your name written on it in BIG, BOLD LETTERS on the windscreen. The camera’s sound is defective too. You hear everyone saying that they hate you even though what they are really talking about is girls, school and last night’s basketball game.
- The above shows that schizophrenia is a thought disorder. We had personal experience with this and found it hard to believe that someone like our son, suddenly thought so illogically and had such a false perception of reality.
- He heard voices but was rarely commanded by those voices to do things. Our son’s doctor called them ‘auditory hallucinations.’
- We believe that our son suffered from visual hallucinations as well.
- Paranoia is difficult both for the patient and for his/her family. He believed that outside forces were trying to control him and his thoughts.
- He was out of touch with reality but could be rational part of the time. He knew what was written in the newspapers and was fine until someone asked him; “How are you today?”
- We were told that schizophrenia usually strikes between the ages of 16 to 25.
- We know that it occurs equally in all social classes but sometimes I wonder whether psychiatrists always remember that.
I have to admit that I often wondered whether my son’s tragedy would have been worse if he had lived for years and years with only the voices in his head for company