My Schizophrenia Diagnosis: I'm Schizophrenic, Not Weak
I was not surprised by my schizophrenia diagnosis. I realized that I was likely suffering from psychosis six weeks prior to my schizophrenia diagnosis when the symptoms of a patient alerted me to the nature of my own illness ("Complete List of Schizophrenia Symptoms"). I engaged in a bit of quick research on the subject and inadvertently ensnared myself in a psychotic delusion: I could not tell anyone that I was suffering from psychosis. In my mind, my employer and the government were closely monitoring my Internet history and would determine that I was a fraud. That was the first time I felt like a fraud. It wouldn't be the last.
The Reality of Psychosis Came Before My Schizophrenia Diagnosis
My schizophrenia diagnosis came after I first realized I experienced psychosis. Despite paranoia and auditory hallucinations, I have a very strong rational side. I've experienced a number of psychotic episodes, but have never completely lost my grasp on reality. I've sunk to depths at which I did not care about reality and points at which I lacked the strength to embrace reality, but reality has always been there waiting for me.
When I first realized I was psychotic, I knew deep down that it was unlikely I was being monitored. Yet, I did not have the strength to suppress the delusion or to embrace reality. Reality told me that the psychosis I was experiencing meshed poorly with my career and required medications that I loathed on every level. Delusions whispered that others were conspiring against me because they knew that I was weak, fraudulent and desperate to escape. I was afraid of being psychotic, but I was terrified of being weak. The genuine reality of my situation was miserable; the deluded reality was unspeakable.
Existence Is Worth the Struggle
I chose to shun both forms of reality and sought to create an alternative reality in which I was neither psychotic nor fraudulent. Unfortunately, every alternative reality I conceived of represented yet another psychotic delusion. I ultimately chose to admit, rather than to embrace, psychosis. It was the right decision, but it came at a terrible price. I lost my job, my self-confidence and a significant portion of my identity.
Every day I wonder if my illness is simply profound weakness masquerading as psychosis despite my diagnosis of schizophrenia. I fight to embrace the reality that I confronted severe suicidal ideation and wrestled with appalling hallucinations that beckoned like a desert oasis. Yet, in the midst of my endless struggle, the evidence lies before my eyes: I am alive. I remain as a husband to my wife, as a father to my children, and as a voice of reason to those besieged by voices of madness. I remain petrified of the unknown that lies deep within my mind. Yet, the reality of my existence is worth the struggle.
Law, R. (2019, January 21). My Schizophrenia Diagnosis: I'm Schizophrenic, Not Weak, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, December 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2019/1/my-schizophrenia-diagnosis-im-schizophrenic-not-weak
Author: Randall Law
As your first cousin once removed, I can tell you that there is a strong family history with this problem. My mother struggles with this, but has controlled it with medication. Her father also struggled with it for years without the benefit of medicine.
It's not your fault. You can't control this through will power.
Thank you for sharing your story. It feels good to know that I'm not alone. I definitely feel weak but day by day, I carry on and I know its making me stronger.
Thank you for reading and for your kind comments Ashley. I firmly believe that carrying on will certainly make you stronger. However, I hope you also recognize that even though you may feel weak, you are not. The fact that you push on despite feeling weak is ample evidence that you are already strong.
What I really like about this post and the man behind it is that it helps dispell the common perception that people who have schizophrenia or other mental illnesses are just the "crazy homeless guy" yelling in the streets. Because of this stereotype there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and this leads to people not seeking treatment or support. Thank you Randall for this blog and helping others find the support we all need.
Thank you so much for reading and for your friendship Dan. I appreciate that this is helping dispell common perceptions of schizophrenia for you. I hope everything is going well for you and I really appreciate your support.
Thank you for sharing this journey with us. I especially liked your title Diagnosis: I'm Schizophrenic, Not Weak. You definitely are not weak. It takes a strong man to admit his fears. I love the fact that you are doing things that are outside of your comfort zone. That takes courage and it encourages each of us to take that step. Each time I read your blog I find something that I can apply to myself. I am also reminded of the words of our Savior when asked about life. He replied "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it. " As we go through this life, we all are faced with obstacles. You have shown me by your example that I can overcome my own demons.
Thank you Randall. I'm cheering for you every day!
Thank you so much for reading and for your kind comments. I am glad to hear that my blog is applicable to you and that you are encouraged by my example. I am encouraged my your example as well and am cheering for you too!
Beautifully written. You have a gift Randall! Thank you for sharing your story!
Thank you for reading and for your support Christine!
This is such a powerful read. I know that I, and so many others, thank you for bravely sharing your story. It's amazingly impactful to read the stories of those in positions we admire and look up to. Conversations like these help to break stigma and open up new lines of communication.
Thank you for reading and for your kind comments Lizanne! I am glad to hear that you found my words to be powerful. I never really know what to expect when I sit down to write, but I always hope that the result will make a difference for someone. I agree with your sentiments on ending stigma and opening up lines of communication. New lines of communication are desperately needed in so many areas of our society.
Bless your heart. I have not had psychosis, but have struggled, mightily with debilitating depression and anxiety. I have been on medication, and doing well now for the last 15 years. I am of the opinion that no one who has not experienced mental illness can understand or be expected to understand what you have gone through. Keep up the good fight.
Thank you for your kind comments Yolanda. I am sorry to hear of your struggles with depression and anxiety but am glad to hear of your sustained success. I agree that it is difficult to understand mental illness without experiencing it. Yet, my wife recently reminded me that it is difficult to understand what it is like to care for a family member suffering from mental illness as well. I was certainly dealt an interesting hand, but there are many others who struggle in ways I can’t begin to comprehend. Thank you again for reading. I hope you keep up the good fight as well!
Randall, it would be great if your wife would create a blog from her perspective. It is just as important to hear from those who are the support system and at times, care givers, to those of us who need them. Having a supportive community of everyone involved would be just one amazing outcome from what youve started. I know she’s a busy woman, but even the occasional writing from her would be great and perhaps even therapeutic for her. Just my thoughts.
Heavy stuff. I would characterize your perceived weakness as profound bravery. You're also an excellent writer.
Thank you for reading and for your comments Rebekah. It is certainly a heavy topic to write about. Hopefully I’ll start filling my personal blog with lighter material. Thank you for your compliment on my writing as well. I never knew how many rules of grammar there were until I started proofreading my articles and comments for this blog.
Thank you for sharing your insights and personal experience on this topic. You are awesome! Keep it up.
Thank you for reading Becca!