Phil Wickham When My Heart is Torn Asunder

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pretence?... or Pathology?

Yesterday a post was placed on a site I frequent for people with schizophrenia.  The post asked the question as to whether any of us also accused ourselves of lying or of putting on  a big hoax in regard to our symptoms and diagnosis.  I was stunned as person after person acknowledged that they too harbored these doubts and the associated guilt.

This is something I have struggled with from the earliest days of my illness.  And it is so real and so troubling that even now, knowing that it is common among many other sufferers, I still feel like a  farce.  I accuse myself of play acting.  I tell myself "If you really wanted to,  you could control this illness and stop these symptoms."

The only thing that gives me pause is that there have been times when I have attempted to initiate an episode....and have been unable to.  I cannot carry out the symptoms on command.  I cannot prompt a hallucination or an attack of paranoia. I cannot talk word salad.  I am not creative enough to describe the things that go on in my head when I am sick--when there really is nothing to describe.

What conclusions must I draw?
  1. I am really sick.  I am not pretending to be ill.
  2. I am not alone in this troublesome symptom...and that is what it is: a symptom.
  3. I can stop tormenting myself and feeling false guilt.
This problem goes hand in glove with denying that we are ill.  As long as I can convince myself that this is all a hoax, then I am in control of the illness; it does not control me.  As long as I can believe that I was diagnosed mistakenly---because of pseudo-symptoms--then I can be assured that I am NOT sick. This is all a charade or a puppet show and the doctors and mental health professionals are the puppets.  And who is the puppeteer?  YOURS TRULY.

Arrogant? Maybe.
Desperate? Definitely

Just recently, I was feeling immense guilt and shame over what we all thought was a physical illness--a FATAL disease--and it had embarrassing symptoms. It cost us a lot of money in doctor bills and worry.  And I found out it was ALL caused by my believing in an auditory hallucination I had when "the Voice of God" told me that I would not live out the year.  I attacked myself and plummeted into oceans of guilt, embarrassment and shame.  But now, I have to tell myself mercifully, "You were just as fooled as anyone else. You did not deliberately set up a scene to deceive everyone.  You were not a pretender.  You were a VICTIM of this mental illness.

It is hard for me to  believe that. And it is interesting to me that I would rather believe that I lied and made up that illness - than I would want to believe that I really was that ill.  Even though the latter option is the most merciful...and the most true.
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