01 Sep My experience with schizophrenia – part one
I guess schizophrenia is not the easiest thing to talk about publicly. It is pretty taboo, I guess, but for the most part I am not in the least bit embarrassed about suffering from it. It is not my fault!
People have all sorts of ideas about schizophrenia though, perhaps some people think that those who suffer from this disease are dangerous and violent. My experience has been very different. I want to explain in words the first stage of my experience with this illness. I thought you might be interested!
Way back when, I was a young woman living in Sydney and hanging out with some pretty hip and cool people in Surry Hills. Unfortunately for me there was a drug culture in our group and one evening after months of taking a variety of drugs with no ill effects some friends and I went to my university at the time and picked some magic mushrooms. WORST mistake of my life!
After that evening my world became all light and colours and I became quite unwell. All sorts of AWFUL things happened as a result, but it was all really stressful and after being in this psychosis for a while, my brain did something interesting to try and protect me from further harm perhaps.
It started talking to me. I remember the day I first noticed that we were developing a language when I went to the bank and I felt a ‘pop’ in my left butt cheek. Other parts of my body came to mean different things. My index finger was my brother, my middle finger my friends, my thumb was myself and so on and so forth. My elbow meant music, my heel was ‘goodbye’ etc etc.
Over the space of a few months we developed this whole language of body signals that voicey as I call her would use to narrate my thoughts and my life.
I am not sure it is typical schizophrenia, so much as a protective mechanism in my brain, but what else could I possibly call it really?
These days it is generally pretty quiet, but my psychologist said that it will always be there on some level. It just gets louder and more noticeable when I get really stressed out and at that point I have to choose whether or not to hook up on it.
I have found in the past that it is the first stage of a progression of my illness, which can escalate into deeper psychosis, more typical of schizophrenia, which is why I need to nip it in the bud (writing about it on my blog is probably not the BEST idea), and to do that I need to do everything I have learnt so far. Stay out of my head, stress reduction tactics, lots of grounding activities like work and sleep and regular meals and of course medication.
I just think it is interesting how supportive my inner voice is when I get stressed out. It does not challenge me as such, or try to frighten me but narrates my thoughts and actions with supportive dialogue in my body.
It is almost as though I have a different part of my mind, separate to my conscious mind that is watching my life and my thoughts and trying to keep me safe. It is a good friend, but I will be happy when I am not noticing it any more. I don’t want to get sick again. Not now and not ever!