What’s It Like To Be Schizophrenic?

From “I Should Be Included in the Census,” by Amy Johnson.

This is the catch-22, the double bind. Schizophrenia happens to 1% of the population. We speak our own language. We speak a language you do not understand. We are defenseless and rendered helpless because we, me, and the world can’t understand each other. The more I try to speak, the less you understand me. This is why we stop trying to communicate. It’s like quicksand. It’s an inevitable and slow death. Not being able to communicate my basic feelings, not identifying with another human being, and feeling completely alone in my experience are killing me.

I sit at home alone, and I physically hurt from just loneliness. I curl up in the fetal position and hold my head. I stare at the wall and barely breathe. That’s my loneliness. My loneliness is dead silence. It is pitch black. It stretches on and one endlessly. I am not trying to be poetic. I am not trying to dream up a new and dramatic way to express loneliness. My true experience is exactly as I  have described. I am not embellishing; I’m not adding to the facts. My emotions, the facts, I tell with objetivism. You think I am being dramatic, building fluff when there isn’t any. I think I am telling a normal experience because I talk calmly and normally about my emotions. I watch you get angry and snap at me as I talk, and I have no idea what’s made you so mad. You stomp off and never speak to me again. I am left feeling like a heel, like yesterday’s garbage. I felt like you spit on me and I have no idea I could  have possibly done to warrant such indignities.

Little is more maddening, more annihilating, than complete social isolation.

Please read the rest via PDF. Kudos to Schizophrenia Bulletin for running this, and JonesNev, a new and already powerful presence on Twitter, for drawing my attention to it.


Cited:  Johnson, Amy. 2012. “I Should Be Included in the Census.” Schizophrenia Bulletin 38 (2) (March): 207–8. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbq170. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21355034.

Photo by watersoluble. Some rights reserved

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