Monthly Archives: January 2010

An Insider’s View of Schizophrenia

The technical aspects of schizophrenia are very important, but these are usually observed by an outsider. Caregivers may observe their loved ones withdrawing into a reclusive state. The word solipsism is the philosophical term for this. Caregivers may also experience their loved one getting very angry, agitated, or exhibiting the quietude of suspiciousness. Oftentimes, these behaviors and attitudes are puzzling to the caregiver. In their quest to help their loved one, they become the target of the anger, agitation, or suspiciousness of the afflicted. Their loved one seems to be extremely resistant to all help offered by his caregivers. Why is this? I have my personal experiences, personal research, and the aid of the advice and information from mental health professionals to answer this to the best of my ability.

I think an analogy might be appropriate. Imagine being trapped in a country where no one speaks your language and no one dresses the same as you. On top of this, everyone in this country is out to get you — out to harm you through ridicule, intimidation, conspiracy, and even (especially) physical harm. Not only do you stick out in this country, but you know that these people are going to harm you. You know this with a certainty that is exponentially greater than most people’s belief that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. Exponentially greater.

You’d be pretty scared, wouldn’t you? In fact, you would be terrified, not for a few days or a few weeks or even for a few months but likely for years. This daily grind would wear away at your ability to associate and interact with others, and chances are pretty good that you would want EVERYONE in this country to leave you alone. Those who did not leave you alone (i.e. those who were trying the hardest to help you) would be viewed with the utmost suspicion, mistrust, and paranoia. You would feel cornered and you would feel the overwhelming urge to strike back at your perpetrators. From verbally attacking them to being unusually quiet around them and even to plotting their demise, you would begin to devise ways of “defending” yourself.

If you don’t believe that the previous scenario would occur, try helping someone who has paranoid schizophrenia. If the above outcomes do not occur and you are able, with little or no resistance, to help that person, please let me know. There are many people out there who would like to hear your advice. On second thought, please do not try to help someone who has paranoid schizophrenia. That would potentially put you in a very dangerous situation. If you know of someone who is exhibiting bizarre attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors, please contact a mental health professional as soon as you can. These professionals are trained to interact and deal with someone who may have paranoid schizophrenia. [The truth is many of us do not ever seek help for our disorder. Those of us who do get help do so because we are either desperately aware that something is wrong or we are involuntarily treated.]

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