Schizophrenic Recovery: Fragments


SCHIZOPHRENIA. STIGMA. TRAUMA. PARANOIA. GOALS. CHALLENGES. HEALING.

Mental illnesses affect at least 20-25 percent of the world population, as far as I’ve gathered. Many people feel at ‘dis-ease’ to even talk about it, much less acknowledge that they might actually suffer from depression, anxiety—any diagnosis, for that matter—in fear of stigma, or the negative reactions of others, due largely in part to the effects of prejudice and/or a lack of understanding.

For me, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and I am an ‘un-closeted’ schizophrenic at this point in my adult life because I have kept hidden so many parts of who I am, who I was and who I feared I’d become—and it became a problem. In other words, it caused me discomfort. I wanted and needed to undo it. To ‘come out—’ and to flaunt it, in a way. I feel safe in doing so. There’s nothing for me to really to lose. I can only share with you what I know and experience and ‘help you to help me,’ as they common saying goes.

As it is with trauma, for example, in any form, certain violations of the social sphere are too horrifying to speak about openly, yet even the greatest, and most unspeakable atrocities seem to refuse to be buried, drowned, or ignored. That’s why there is at least knowledge of such ‘crazy notions’ or even ‘lies,’ ‘falsities,’ and whatever is done about them…? I think that depends both on human nature in general, individual people, and, unfortunately, time… Political movements and small steps, seem to shed light, little by little, on mental illness awareness and understanding. Onto treatments and healing… For now, trauma, for example, and even schizophrenia, requires stories that need to be told, in order for the healing process to happen, and in both situations, it’s the stories, the ‘telling,’ that tends in its nature to come out in fragments. Fragments, like shattered stained glass. How is anyone to put shattered stained glass back together?

This morning, my intent is to reach out to those with loved ones with, or those who suffer from schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar, paranoia and/or traumatic stress; and more particularly, those who wish to cope better and perhaps overcome psychiatric symptoms.

As I mentioned, I continue my studies on schizophrenic paranoia and trauma during my free time—free time which I have been allowing myself to enjoy, even if it means I sleep, and ‘waste the day away.’

After all, that’s how this blog post started, at 5 in the morning. See, yesterday, had begun with a sense of boredom. And looking back on it, the boredom was a gift, because it meant that I had finished all my work at hand, mostly computer maintenance, doing my own public relations work with little or no money, and keeping up with current projects such as blogging, podcasting, music, and the like.

This kind of work usually takes up my full day, but it often leaves me feeling either unfulfilled by the end of the day, or completely frustrated.

So having done what I had done, my mind, mostly, no sooner became the enemy. I began to search through my files of old, unfinished writing and film projects, now that they are all labeled and organized—again, that work is done—I wanted to pick back up on at least one of the old projects and follow through with it.

But then, as I began looking around, it became two, then three, then four folders plus one DVD binder I had placed on my desk. I wanted to do it all—publish and bring out to the public—even to those who might not ‘get’ me (understand my work)—then I thought, ‘Gee, what if this office burned down, I’d lose everything—everything.’ I later put the files back, and let it go.

It was my primary caregiver’s day of leaving by noon, and I felt left out by the other two who were present, while later, I realized, ‘Heck, that’s what I would have wanted, anyway.’

As my spiraling downward was worsening, I recalled how my wife’s thyroid medicine had been causing her severe agitation, and while at lunch—out—on Sunday, I mentioned my Christmas plans for all that I was planning to give her, and call me crazy, but I felt, or perceived, likely the wrong way, that she was comparing me to my parents, who… well, that’s a whole different story—and spiraling down, I recalled: that was how the divorce began back in 2009, when I was being compared to my parents.

But my wife and I reconciled in 2010, yet since she has been sick, it has left me feeling distanced from her and my own life, my own self, and then my thoughts brought me to the idea that schizophrenia is a lonely disease—mostly, in my opinion, due to the ‘confusion’ involved—I returned, mentally, to the fragmented trauma, and questioned myself if schizophrenia could also be a form of trauma—‘Perhaps?’ …And then my 20-plus left-undone projects—and that my cats have been fighting here in my office (they’re usually so gentle and sweet as can be) and, just the conclusion that: “This is freaking nuts!”

I tried to meditate—I am usually a total pro at meditation, but for 3 hours I kept trying and trying, until it struck me, ‘no wonder, it’s the trying that is keeping me from meditating’—but at least I am trying to meditate and not refraining from it, altogether.

In addition to the many books I’m reading simultaneously—again, the inability to focus—(and the cats… the cats… the cats… and how they must’ve been picking up on my negative energy—)I have added one more book to the list: Trauma and Recovery by Judith Lewis Herman, M.D.

Rather than writing a book report, at least for right now, since I’m not even through with the reading, I’d like to mention that I want my day to go well—to go better than yesterday. I have devised some goals in belief that the trauma in my life, mostly in my past, is causing a great deal of my paranoid thoughts. I happen to be a believer in thebad mothering causes schizophrenia’ theory that’s since been debunked by modern psychiatry and science. But I think it depends on other factors as well, for example my reaction to the bad mothering whilst my sister, for example, lived in the same childhood home, and has no sign of mental illness.

In a nutshell, this far into my ‘studying’ trauma, psychologically speaking, involves the idea of discrediting of the so-to-speak ‘victim’ and rendering him/her invisible, whether through domestic violence, shell shock, or the old mysterious-at-the-time hysteria, most commonly know to be a psychological disorder in women.

My goals; whether they pan out or not:

• I’d like to enjoy my life more, and my work; to enjoy a sense of consistent peace of mind.
• To have more control over my paranoia and suspiciousness.
• To get better at reality checking if my fears are true or if I’m just assuming they are.
• To understand my thoughts of paranoid nature, and move on with my day-to-day life.
• To relax with people and not simply be paranoid about them.
• To stop avoiding social situations due to paranoid thoughts, and trauma.
• To lessen the distress that paranoia and schizophrenia has on me in general.
• To cope better and better, and have my symptoms occur less and less often…

I think these are well thought out goals, and whether or not I am able to tackle them on my own and/or in therapy, I write them here, if they might be able to help you or a loved one…

I make the day mine, and be the best I can be. I remind myself, and encourage you to do the same; we are all deserving of happiness.

I’m off for a shower and coffee, as I fly away into this day of new opportunities and possibilities. I make it good! I hope you do the same.

Take 2 minutes to relax by imagining a place that is beautiful to you.

Jonathan Harnisch

About Jonathan Harnisch

Author | Mental Health Advocate | Schizophrenia | Artist | Blogger | Podcast Host | Patent Holder | Hedge Fund Manager | Film & TV Producer | Musician
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