Years ago, there was a movie about a Jewish man in World War 2 who had been caught behind the German lines in World War 2 and was sent to the death camp.
I’d never seen the movie, as I do not enjoy war or war based movies, but the description I got was vivid enough:
The man believes he’s having the time of his life, and while many around the man are calling him delusional and having issues, he just flat out does not seem to see the same world they see.
Hence the title ‘Life is beautiful’. Somehow this Jewish man – despite the ravages of death and war going on around him – he finds beauty in the events which unfold.
The movie is based on the real life events of a man who died in World War 2.
When I grew up, history books wrote about Columbus’s journey across the Atlantic way back in 1492.
When I first read these stories, I had to read over one particular excerpt of Columbus’s arrival which blew me away:
“On arrival, the Indians all asked the explorers from Spain ‘where they came from’. Pointing at the sea, the Indians were mystified, and some even told tales of seeing men walk on water and disappear into the ocean waves. it was as if the concept of a sailing vessel was so foreign to them, their minds simply did not comprehend it nor how to see it. Over time they ‘developed’ the ability to see, but it was always questioned what they actually came to see.”
History has since completely omitted this from the history books.
And this has since been misrepresented on the internet as ‘not ever having happened’ or being an old wive’s tale that was simply untrue.
Now this hadn’t been the first time I’d heard about weirdness in collectively based behaviors of humans.
But by this time, in 6th grade, it had been the most important – because it actually had the credibility of a history book explaining the undiluted first contact with the natives.
I have Schizophrenia And an odd form of Multiple Personality Disorder.
Prior to 2009, I’d been diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 3 years old.
But I was so mortified of admitting that I was different than anyone else. I hid it at first. Then I found a new label for it – Out of Body Experiences. And then it became something altogether different as I grew older.
Schizophrenia and Multiple Personality Disorder.
I’ve had numerous lovers who I now question whether they actually were real. My subconscious mind – beautifully – cleverly – had made it a fact to hide these figments of my imagination from others, and I chose certain actions with these two individuals which avoided introducing them to anyone I might know.
My life’s been a tad lonely as a programmer, spending massive amounts of hours working at home – and long hours – just to keep my universe going.
My mind found a way to compensate for that loneliness.
It wouldn’t actually be until i was 40 that I would get hints that I was schizophrenic, and at 42, I had absolutely no doubt of it when I saw fictional worlds unfold in front of my eyes that led to several suicide attempts.
Now here’s the thing about a schizophrenic’s mind:
We flat out do not see the world as you – those of you who do not have it – do.
And – I can only say this now after getting control of my own mind – this is NOT a bad thing.
I had bouts of depression throughout my life. and as a programmer since I was 11, a profession I chose because it focused the voices in my head and helped guide me and made me feel good about me.
But it’s extraordinarily difficult to describe from ‘within’ the experience of schizophrenia what we do not hear or see.
I NEVER, not once heard anyone say I was suffering from schizophrenia.
Do you know how the mind has a tendency to ‘fill the gaps in’ for things that don’t make sense to it? The mind also has a tendency to create continuity when ‘breaks’ are witnessed. And finally – the mind also has a tendency to HIDE the things that don’t make sense as well. The mind can be an incredible thing, when you’re in a positive relationship with it.
Well that’s what a schizophrenic’s mind does and a person with multiple personality disorder does – our minds literally hide these accusations from us consciously.
But even though we may not HEAR or SEE the diagnosis of schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder, what we DO is feel the effect of the family pressures resulting from our lack of contact with their and your worlds.
So for me – when everyone became so overwhelmingly insistent that there was something wrong with me, my mind couldn’t hide it from me consciously any longer. Those external pressures were effecting my health. So consciously, I had to figure out what was causing the problems that my own mind was hiding from me.
The FIRST part of healing for a schizophrenic is to regard the mind as a separate and distinct entity. This disassociation is critical – believe it or not – the mental health of someone who’s schizophrenic.
Elimination of schizophrenia isn’t entirely possible in my opinion.
Knowing you have schizophrenia is difficult to ascertain at first – in large part – the sensation of finding it difficult to separate our emotions out from others around us is a very confusing aspect of schizophrenia. Most people have an easy time with their black and white labels of reality, but with schizophrenia, it’s not so easy – as the simple process of finding and accepting our own labels of what’s real and what’s not becomes extremely difficult because the lines of real and make believe overlap. This becomes overwhelming, so much so in fact, that it introduces a blurring effect between the lines of what is fact and fiction.
To the schizophrenic. This ‘blur’ is NOT imaginary. I frequently became confused what I was feeling with my ex wives, I have three of them, and the largest part of the problem was I could actually feel their emotional state which I kept dismissing as imaginary. I had numerous relationships – friends and lovers – who I now look back on and don’t know if they even existed.
But I’m fine with that.
How can a person be fine with that?
It’s easy. I have come to rationalize that my perceptions of reality do NOT need a third party validation to be true. I just have to choose them to be true and they are.
Which makes the acceptance of ‘ilusion’, ‘fantasy’, and ‘imaginary things’ that much more interesting.
Yes, I see and hear fun and unusual things regularly. I always have. Before I didn’t have the self-awareness to know the difference.
So here’s my personal conclusion: Schizophrenia is a fundamental change in the way I think. And healing has to actually come through an abundance of self acceptance. By me refusing to accept the labels of ‘having a problem’ and ‘being crazy’, that actually started me down a path of self understanding that has made me realize – I’m just different. And now I like who I am. Is it hard accepting that some of my lovers may have been imaginary? Not really. it makes life that much more magical, mysterious, and goofy which makes me feel good about being here.
The problem with anti-depressants and anti psychotics and drugs in general when dealing with anxiety and dissociative disorders such as this is this:
When dealing with these disorders in a typical environment, you’re dealing with the added complexity of the influence of the family and friends. This makes it HORRIBLY confusing to the schizophrenic what they are experiencing that’s real versus what’s a product of the drug. this intensifies the degraded feelings of self worth because ‘you just don’t fit in’, are not ‘normal’. and even if you’re not consciously hearing people’s diagnosis of you being a schizophrenic – you ‘feel’ they all think you’re crazy which depresses the hell out of you worse.
I felt out of control so much towards the ‘transition’ to self acceptance. But it wasn’t until I got off pharmaceuticals and separated myself from my family and friends until I could find a way to reinvent me and be ok ‘not being like them’. Which also helped me differentiate my emotions from theirs.
The thing to keep in mind about schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder is this:
FROM THE OUTSIDE you may see the problems as plain as day.
But from within the mind of someone who’s experiencing this, you flat out may not even be aware of any irregularities, so much so – that your mind may actively ‘hide’ things from you to lead you to believe you’re societally ‘normal’.
Yes, I still hear voices – but it’s manageable now and I feel like we’re in a partnership and I am FAR more creative than I have ever been, so I consider this condition a gift. Furthermore, yes, I do see things on occasion, but it’s often funny, odd, or puts a smile on my face – sometimes it’s highly abnormal behavior in others – for instance – I frequently see people walking naked in very public places even though no one else seems to be reacting or even aware for instance – sometimes I even see through them which makes it clear they’re not real – and now that i have an ‘open conversation’ with my own mind, I feel like we’re working together in a weird partnership that feels more like fun than it does a combative relationship that we had before.
Seeing things that ‘arent there’ to someone else is NOT a product of a disability or something in error or wrong with a person.
This has happened and been documented throughout history on more than one occasion.
Now how can anyone look at this as a gift?
It’s really difficult to explain: but think about this. If you’re the last person on Earth, you’d never know it.
And you have always got company, so you’re never truly lonely.
For those ‘on the outside’ looking in. I frequently get into debates about ‘its just not real’.
That’s the thing about schizophrenia. I had to learn to develop new labels for what’s real and what’s not,AND accept that what i see others may not which doesn’t make it any less real, and be ok with people who were insistent that I have a problem and disorder that needs cured because their reality and labels had become inconsistent with mine.
Who’s crazy. The person who enjoys being different? Or the person calling you crazy insisting you believe what they do and you’re crazy if you don’t?
Sounds religious to me.
Being different isn’t being bad.