“If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.” -Thomas S. Szasz

Schizophrenia.

The word in itself is terrifying. Its long, hard to say, and leaves a taste of fear on your tongue. But it’s FASCINATING. Go into any psych class and look at the students–some will be interested in the lecture, some won’t…but look into a psych class during a lecture on schizophrenia and you have practically everyone’s undivided attention. The mystery of the disorder is what sets it apart from the rest–schizophrenia is a psychological and biological enigma. Neither side has more answers than the other, and neither side can come to a consensus on the cause of this disorder. The only thing they can agree on is this: schizophrenia is seriously difficult to treat, or even to understand.

Just imagine for a second that someone is whispering into your ear that your worst fears are true. Imagine someone is yelling in your other ear that you are worthless and no one cares about you. On top of that, imagine you are terrified by the cat sitting in the corner-it’s teeth barred in razor sharp 3 inch fangs dripping with blood and its eyes focusing on you, looking like it’s ready to pounce. It has only been a second. All of this information is flooding your brain–only ONE second. Imagine what this would be like if it consumed EVERY second of your life. Completely inescapable. Completely paralyzing. Completely terrifying.

Having schizophrenia would be very difficult for anyone to deal with-especially if you have lived your entire life as a ‘normal’ individual and suddenly, out of nowhere, you begin spiraling into the depths of your brain; unable to distinguish reality from delusion. But what would such a disorder be like for a child who cannot remember life being any different from the mixed up pseudo-reality of schizophrenia? Yes, childhood-onset of schizophrenia is incredibly rare, but it does occur. My question is HOW can it occur? Especially considering all of the different hypotheses that incorporate both environmental and biological predispositions, and that clearly show onset almost exclusively in young adulthood. What is different in children who are diagnosed with schizophrenia? Based on the reading, it is easy to believe that these children may not actually have schizophrenia–but something very similar—-but WHAT? It doesn’t make sense for a child to have this disorder, especially considering the time frame so often associated with the onset of this disorder. I have included a link to an article and there are a bunch of  video clips at the end of the article (you should DEFINITELY check them out–wicked interesting!) of a young girl who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia (it played on Oprah!):

http://www.oprah.com/relationships/The-7-Year-Old-Schizophrenic

My question is: what is this girl seeing? How can she believe this is reality? Furthermore, if we really pan out and examine what’s going on–how are we saying that her view of reality is wrong? In the realm of ‘normal’ she is certainly unable to process reality like you or I….but what if reality in itself is incredibly subjective? Clearly, we are able to see things as we want to–but how far does this actually go? Are we actually just creating everything around us in our heads? Is everything a mental construction? What role does our perception of reality play in our understanding of schizophrenia?

Stepping away from these very abstract questions–I also wonder about how schizophrenia is precipitated. It seems like you need to have a very precise ‘recipe’ to have this illness–and it amazes me that, as advanced as we are scientifically, we are still unable to answer the most basic question of HOW?

More interesting schizophrenia clips–really shows disorganization:

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6 thoughts on ““If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.” -Thomas S. Szasz

  1. For the record, I think Schizophrenia is really hard to spell too! I’ve seen that Oprah article and I wonder what these anti-psychotics do to the developing brain. It just seems so unfair to them not to have a chance to live without these delusions. The two girls said they didn’t want to give up their voices because “they love them” even though sometimes the voices tell them to do mean things. I also wonder about how Schizophrenia manifests itself differently in a child who never experienced a normal world. Children must be able to better function in their world because they’ve never known anything else. Also, are the animals a part of her hallucinations because she’s a child?

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  2. Hi,
    Very interesting post. I enjoyed reading it. And the title is great too! I like the questions you pose about reality and pointing out how little we know about the big hard to spell word, schizophrenia.

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  3. As I was researching for my book project, I learned that autism was intially thought to be schizophrenia manifesting intself in children. Today we acknowledge autism as a distinct disorder, but there are similarities. Both disorders jumble the language and almost isolate the individual due to social awkwardness.

    As I was watching the video Jenn posted, I couldn’t help but to think of “Crazy Like Us.” No wonder developed countries foster more severe cases of schizophrenia! Our ‘hospitals’ are institutions analogous to prisons! Not only does an individual with schizophrenia have to deal with those symptoms, but also the confined, melancholic atmosphere of psychiatric institutions.

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  4. Those videos and articles are so sad! Never having experienced a normal world could also make it hard for children to function if they don’t fully understand that the hallucinations and delusions aren’t real. I wasn’t sure about Jani’s position ont hat, because she seemed to kind of switch back and forth between saying she knew she had schizophrenia and that’s why she had hallucinations, but simultaneously saying that the animals and numbers are there but most people just can’t see them.

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  5. On second thought, people who develop schizophrenia as young adults seem just as confident that their delusions and hallucinations are real- like Nash who said they came to him the same way his mathematical logic did.

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  6. I’m a paranoid schitsophanic and I’m on 9mgs
    Of invega an anti scycotic drug with out it I’d be
    Curled in a corner grabbing my head going out of my mind. But the one thing is is that I can still hear lord sheva and lord krishna and I see them and all I have to do is invoke them and thay are there well there allways waching but thay comfort me and thay sayed even with meds I still have a gift to see and hear them I opened my eye chakra my 3rd eye and thay share there secrets wich are bizare to me. If you would like to talk to me about what I go through my wifes email is ninakukwa_85@yahoo.com ill also be getting a cb radio in march 2012 and hopfuly a ham radio my call sign is( night hawk) on the cb I’m in monroe county michigan. Hail me if you’re in the area channels 19, 26, 36 on the cb ill be listening ps iv also seen and heard demons I don’t advise it, its terrifying.

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