Episode 6 – Intro to Schizophrenia (Part 3)

To continue from my last post, I will describe my personal experiences with schizophrenia symptoms. As my family was in the process to move, it was easy for me to isolate myself as a self-defense mechanism in response to the voices. They told me that I couldn’t trust anyone and that everyone was against me. And, again, once I was alone, they turned on me.

These voices grew in power. They started to tell me who I was as a person, what value I had, all of that. It could be compared to relentless bullying. I don’t have much experience with being bullied, thankfully, but from my understanding, these voices could be thought of as severe bullying, no escape, no safe space, no breaks, and by things that would know me better than anyone else would. They knew me, because how could they not? They were always there.

Cruel. Selfish. Unlovable. Manipulative. Cold. Useless. Worthless. Heartless. Pathetic. Weak. These are some of the words I can remember them telling me, almost seven years after all of that. They never stopped. At home, at school, at night, during the day. If I was awake, I heard them, and if I was asleep, I had endless nightmares. This went on, quickly worsening, over the course of about 6 or 7 months, before I was able to receive treatment.

During this time, after moving to this new town, I stayed home from school probably 2 days a week, and spent most of the rest of the week in the nurse’s office, trying to quiet panic attacks and psychotic episodes. The principal of this school called in my mom one day and told her that unless my attendance improved, I wouldn’t graduate.

When I was finally able to see a psychiatrist and get evaluated, he immediately diagnosed me with schizophrenia and panic disorder with agoraphobia, reaffirming my diagnosis of clinical depression as well. He put me on a variety of medications right away due to the severity of it all. It was too little, too late. A lot of damage had been done.

Before that bad psychotic / depressive episode, during which I rarely found myself able to get out of bed, I had been a confident and headstrong, capable girl. I was strong, always able to face what came at me. I’d headed into brain surgery with absolutely no fear, never shied away from a challenge. Afterwards… I changed a lot.

I developed panic disorder as a result. I felt weak, I sought comfort and protection from others. I felt small. I was vulnerable. I was scared of everything. That confidence vanished, yet to be found again still.

The person I should have been and the life I should have had were both stolen from me by my own mind. I couldn’t complete traditional high school and had to finish through an independent online program. I managed to graduate with a 3.8 GPA still, but all that does is support what I could have done if I wasn’t plagued by this mental illness. I grieve for the life I lost before it even started.

I didn’t get a high school graduation. I didn’t get my senior prom, I didn’t have friends in high school, I didn’t get to experience all of those things I would have if I’d been able to stay in school. I was too busy going to see doctors, figuring out medication cocktails to cope, finding a good therapist, attending constant appointments. I was too busy figuring out how to get on Medicaid just so I could afford the medications I need to avoid episodes like the one that destroyed my life. I lost soccer. I lost volleyball. I lost band. I lost choir. I lost a social life. I lost my academic achievements. It was all taken from me in a single year by something that no one could have predicted or changed.

I haven’t heard the voices since being medicated, but I still hear their echoes as intrusive thoughts and paranoia. I find it very difficult to trust people, and I am still trying to see myself as more than they told me I was. It’s been almost 7 years now. I’ve never been able to hold a job for longer than a month, and I am constantly changing medications and dosages because my conditions are a difficult combination to treat effectively. It took me 10 years to finish the single book I’ve had published, and that hasn’t yielded much quite yet.

Schizophrenia is painted to be violent and dangerous by the media. I have experience that it more commonly has internal damage to a person’s mind, self-image, ability to form relationships, trust their own thoughts, recognize rational thoughts versus irrational. I didn’t experience many visual hallucinations thankfully, but I still often question reality. I have issues following complex trains of thoughts, including my own.

In the future, I will go more in-depth about my thoughts on schizophrenia. But next, I will define the differences between panic disorder and general anxiety, and go more into that.

Published by Rawry

I'm just a writer and gamer living in the middle of nowhere..

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