Schizophrenia And Empathy
Last year, a small ill kitten showed up at my front steps without a home in the middle of winter. Being allergic to cats I tried to chase him off of my porch, but he persisted to visit. The more often he visited, the more he reminded me of the homelessness that I had experienced years ago as a result of my illness, Schizoaffective Disorder.
Twice in my life I was homeless for extensive periods and in need of help. I am aware of the suffering and humiliation that this can cause, therefore I felt it would not be right to allow him to suffer. Eventually, I took him in and gave him the name “Mr. Giggles”.
The Effect of Schizoaffective Disorder
Schizoaffective disorder can rob you of many things in life. It can cause pain, homelessness and disability. There is one thing however that Schizoaffective disorder has never robbed me of, and that is the ability to feel empathy for others. Now when I see him everyday, it helps me to realize that having Schizoaffective disorder does not make me inhumane.
Fear of the Mentally Ill
There are many people who wrongly believe that people with thought disorders, such as Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective disorder are destined for a life of crime and violence. People undergoing psychosis are not predatory by nature, and should not be confused with a “Psychopath”. I doubt there is one psychopath on the planet that would help a kitten in need. Having a thought disorder does not take your compassion away, and given the right treatment there should be no need to fear us.
Since taking him in, Mr. Giggles and I have become very good friends. He has helped me through difficult times in my life. His health has improved vastly and his happiness, in turn, has made me happy.
If you have schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia, I have shared the embarrassment that the disorder can bring. It is a disease that must be fought with every weapon and method that we can devise, so that we may have better control over our lives and behavior. Remember that Schizophrenia does not make you evil or inhumane. If anyone tells you otherwise, then they are just ignorant.
Hoeweler, D. (2012, February 5). Schizophrenia And Empathy, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2012/02/schizophrenia-and-empathy
Author: Dan Hoeweler
I never forgot it when other people treated me with kindness and respect even though I was hostile, suspicious, agitated, angry,at everyone in the world. I felt that the Government had a plot to get me and that ordinary reality was threat to my life. I heard voices saying "that guy is crazy" when I was in public but I didn't realize until much later that the voices were not coming from other people but instead were my own in my own. Today 25 years later I don't hear voices anymore except my own. I feel that I am not so different from anyone else. I am not special and have no need for delusions such as I had before. I want to thank my psychiatrist who got me on medication early and who listened tirelessly to me when I was talking about my "voices".
I used to take my kids for walks in not the best area of town. Many homeless people treated me with such kindness over the years.
You are a great man.
By the way, I like your youtube videos.
I was kind of insulted by the study I've seen recently because apathy is something natural to feel during depression or after much loss, s I don't think it's a defining characteristic to associate with just people predisposed to schizophrenia. I would like to know what kind of pictures they displayed on the cards they showed patients to measure empathy because death becomes different for schizophrenics because many of them become suicidal realizing they're not going to have a basic life and live among people with a stigma about them. If I saw a picture of a peacefully dying woman, I'd wish I was dead but get sad thinking I'm not going to have loved ones surrounded by me or die with a peaceful mind that I wish had been preserved. I d feel guilty thinking these things. I just get a different perspective about it, whishing I died before I lost myself. If I feel apathy around someone who has nothing to d with my situation or state, and even if they do, I check myself feeling guilty hoping they don't feel the distance thinking of how unnoticed they must feel.