Someone just made a comment to me on Schiz.com that he wondered if I really do have schizophrenia because I seem too normal for their website. My first response was to bristle…to go and get all records from 30+ hospitals (or I would if I could just recall the names and places of them all. lol) and to get affidavits from the probably hundreds of doctors who have treated and diagnosed me as “Chronic Paranoid Schizophrenic” or as “Schizoaffective, –depressive type, heavy on the SZ, and lighter on the Bipolar Disorder which is the other half that diagnosis (henceforth: Dx) At first I wanted to tell him of the years spent in psych hospitals and of the months spent in restraints….of abject poverty and hopelessness….Just to SHOW him and to defend my right to use the forum at Sz.com….
I know that people have their doubts about my Dx….I am, when I’m not sick, very high functioning–I can write well and know ‘big” words. So once I ‘d regained overt stability after the birth of my daughter, I’d pretty much convinced myself that the previous 15 years were an aberrant bad dream. Then four years ago, at the age of 44, the bottom fell out of my world….and I catapulted into three of the most bizarre years, filled with physical and mental illness so severe that I spent large portions of those three years, in the hospital. Somewhere during that time, I began to wonder if maybe something WAS wrong after all. (ya think?)… And wasn’t until I’d taken a picture of myself….dirty t-shirt, unwashed hair, 220 pounds, with the deadest, most psychotic eyes I’d ever seen…and realized that I’d not left my room, except to go to the bathroom, once in several weeks, that I began to realize that, “shoot–maybe I do have sz!” I’d just sat in my recliner, often in the dark, staring at nothing…being so unmotivated and listless and with my head full of crazy thoughts. ..or just filled with nothing. I then realized that I was having severe problems with what are called “negative symptoms”….symptoms like anhendonia (an inability to take pleasure in anything) and lack of motivation, poverty of speech and thought, reduction in creativity and the weight gain was due to the psychotropic drugs I’d been “encouraged” to take. And in fact my years and years of denial were, in themselves, a symptom of SZ.
I won’t bore you with the story of my illness…any more than that. As I told the “doubter” on Sz.com, I don’t have to or care to defend my diagnosis to him. From his mouth to God’s ear actually. I wish I WEREN’T sick with the dream sucking disease that has destroyed my life which once held such promise…and left me sitting here in this cursed room…wearing the same clothes I wore yesterday and slept in last night. And I was just thinking: WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD PRETEND TO HAVE SZ?? Who would even pretend to be mentally ill?? If I were going to live a life of pretense; I’d pretend to be someone famous or important…not some smelly, person with SZ sitting here for weeks on end.
And yet, I know there ARE pretenders….people who take a mixed bag of dramatic symptoms and get OFF on the attention it brings them. My daughter has a friend like this….and my husband says that it is in itself, a psychiatric disorder “Histrionic Personality Type. I don’t understand the possible gains of that. I mean, maybe if you’re in High School and needing lots of negative attention…but really NOT as an adult. I had an IQ in the 160 range, back in the days prior to SZ. And I think this has allowed me to stay “ahead of the game, at least as far as where the people at SZ.com find themselves. It helps me to outsmart some of my symptoms and it masks the increasing deficit of cognitive ability with which I am struggling.
Also I tend not to express myself in writing when I’m not feeling well–(other than an occasional journal entry…which, more often than not, is so incoherent it’s unreadable). If I KNOW I’m not doing well, then, I get embarrassed and don’t post. If I DON’T realize I’m sick; then I’m off doing other things…like driving cross country on some adventure….or lying on my bed in a dark room, staring at the ceiling and conversing with the voices in my head.
I don’t have a great love for pretenders. And as I said, I have better things to pretend to be than schizophrenic.