From The Independent on Sunday (17 May):
‘What does it feel like to have schizophrenia?’
“It depends. In my case, when I’m experiencing positive symptoms, I feel like I’m the main protagonist of a good novel, a novel you should read without any critical thinking.
For instance, once, I woke up during the night, I couldn’t move, I was in the same position as Christ on the cross and I was convinced that I was talking with God. And I was experiencing a lot of sensations: warmth, cold, pleasure (a LOT; I’ve never lived such a thing again). I thought I was the first to discover the solution to the ‘riddle’ created by God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. And I was so pissed off because I was the fourth one to solve a riddle. The first one being God. The second one Jesus Christ. And the third one, women in general (the Holy Spirit).
Another time, I would just walk in a wood during the night totally amazed by the beauty of the lake, the trees or the sound of the wind. I would get rid of my shoes and put my feet in the mud. Then, seeing a rabbit, I would run after him, convinced I was in some kind of Alice in Wonderland. Then I would sit on a bench and a hedgehog would come toward me and I would touch it. Then I would go back home with my filthy shoes.
Another time, I left the house convinced that I was a spy for Google, so I threw away all my credit cards and I left with only my android phone, aiming for their headquarters in Paris. During my walk, I changed my mind when Google Maps showed me a map of the UK. My attention went to some city in Scotland and I remembered a PhD offer about optogenetics tools (I was recently awarded a Master of Engineering degree) I had seen on the web a few days earlier. So I walked, following the highway. Then a heavy rain began to fall. And I decided to moonwalk until I reached my goal. I’ve never moonwalked that good.
I have a few more of these anecdotes but most of them I would never share because they are too humiliating.
Now, the negative symptoms. A lot less funny. It’s quite simple actually: I lose all motivation. Imagine having to take a shower and feeling as if you have to climb Mount Everest or learn by heart the Bible – this is what it feels like. I’m currently experiencing this phase. It’s been months since the last time I wanted to see friends, to learn things, to find a job. My life is empty, I do nothing and I just hope that one day my brain will find its balance. I found the motivation to write this because I think society is very rude to people having psychiatric issues. We aren’t all violent psychopaths. It’s a small minority. I’m not lazy either, I have a disease. And no, unfortunately, drugs aren’t the quick-fix everybody thinks they are”.
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