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!):
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: