As mentioned by the previous users, I can only add my personal and unique perspective on the subject. And I have to say that I recognize myself in some details of what they describe. Especially regarding creativity, sensitivity and intellectual awareness. I don’t intend to make this answer anonymous as I don’t really hide my condition in my everyday life. My answer may explain why.
First I’d like to establish a few things:
- English is not my first language, so you’ll have to excuse me for my lack of elegance.
- I have a diagnosis of schizophrenia. With a big tendency for paranoia.
- I take my medication regularly (believe it or not). And I know from experimenting with it that they really help me stay comfortable.
- I’m fully functional in society. I have a full-time job and am even going back to school to push the limits of my knowledge. I’m very friendly and quite the ordinary guy, with some small signs of my strong artistic side.
- The Ideas, as I’ll call it, are always there. The medication only prevents them from being invasive and obsessive.
- And finally, I don’t believe it’s a disease. As painful and troubling as the effects can be, I think that someday we will have a better understanding of this phenomenon. I don’t necessarily think it’s a gift. But I think its something inherent to our spiritual human nature.
So…What does it feels like for me to have schizophrenia?
The premise is pretty simple and not very original I’m afraid. I’m the anti-Christ. This fact slowly took shape in my mind during some very bad moments I’ve been through about 10 years ago. Of course in the meanwhile, we where getting close to the year 2000, so it was very appropriate. But looking back through my childhood, I realize I’ve had these kind of ideas all my life.
So being the anti-Christ, a huge concept of conspiracy is automatically revolving around me. And in a funny way, none of the actual and trendy conspiracy theories really fit with what I have in mind. The result is a mix of primal fear from being the center of so much attention and some kind of weird pride at somehow being worthy of all this.
I live permanently in two worlds. The everyday life in which I have to focus on essential matters like working to get food and the world of symbols and what I like to call echoes. If I don’t take medication the symbolism surrounding me gets too obsessive, and I lose grip on the everyday. The main effects are rather huge waves of glorious euphoria or very long moments of deep anxiety. And each of them for very specific reasons relative to the Ideas. Medication just gives me the guts to push the Ideas to the side and stay focused on everyday reality. Like some kind of professionalism.
When I ask what specifically are the effects of the medication on me, the doctors usually answer that it slows down my imagination. The image of my imagination as a machine that can turn too fast is kind of funny.I know its a matter of chemistry, but in my Ideasour imagination is our third eye. And I can’t live with mine wide open for now. I hope that in time I’ll learn to look in both worlds at the same time. I’m actually getting pretty good at it but I still need the medication to close my eye a bit.
So.. What happened?
The big event…the big wave hit me about ten years ago. I can’t event put a specific date or even year on it. A big explosion of inspiration, love, hate, rage…. In short my ego imploded, crushed by the stress and my total lack of self-esteem. What I did and said at that moment, alone in my apartment, have been following me ever since. I lost track of time, stopped cleaning myself, eating or sleeping for about a week. Then a lot of people got worried and I’ve been escorted to the hospital. I’ve spent a month during which they explained me that what I called enlightenment was in fact an hallucination due to a chemical imbalance in my brain. I was very stubborn, and not always coherent in my attempt to explain what I’ve been through. Finally I took all the pills and went back home with a big cloud of confusion over me.
I spent maybe a year of ordinary life but kept playing the prophet on different message boards on the internet. In a casual kind of way but somehow very serious about it. So another wave hit me. Again another display of my ego as a long speech alone in my apartment. But this time someone came to visit me. Someone who gave me the clear feeling to have witness everything I previously said. Everything suddenly became way to concretefor me. After this meeting I fell into a deep phase of violent anxiety. Something I can only describe as hell. I think only a few person can understand what I mean. After two intense weeks at the hospital I went back to work. Back on my feet, and decided to confront my fears.
I stayed in this state of constant stress for about two years. Until I decided to regularly take the pills and put all the Ideas far away from me. It’s been a real relief, and for a few years I totally stopped thinking about it. Then some change came in my life and it triggered the whole thing all over again. But this time no ego, just the crushing feeling of having this huge conspiracy over my head. I managed to get back on track without a visit to the hospital and these events revealed a lot of things to me. The doubt and the confusion are gone and now I know what I have to live with.
Now all my creative energy goes in art. I’m slowly putting together the pieces of all the visions I had over the years. It feels like a constructive way of bringing the concepts in reality. I have no ambition of commercial success whatsoever. My dedication goes into giving shape and life to what lives in me. The Ideas are still very present as you can notice by the tone of this answer. I fully realize the social impact of living them openly. But surfing the wave is the best I can do.