Having schizophrenia means that the things you find to do are therapy for you whereas they are hobbies, jobs and pastimes for everyone else. People with mental disorders are sometimes referred to as survivors. I suppose that this is, at least in part, because so many of the non-survivors have committed suicide. I guess I'm a survivor although I have never attempted suicide. I did, however, ride a motorcycle for a while.
Having a mental illness means that it is a challenge at times to give the ongoing impression of being sane or okay. At other times it is a challenge to convince people that you have a genuine illness. Much of what you do is to maintain the sanity that you do have and to try to be functional to an extent. The idea of improving your condition seems to not be an option from a medical point of view. You can only realistically expect to get worse. Your life expectancy is greatly reduced primarily because people with mental illnesses are more prone to commit suicide or have fatal accidents.
People are afraid of schizophrenics. They think they are dangerous. The fact is that schizophrenics are no more prone to violence than normal people. They resort to violence generally when they are threatened or attacked just like others do. The greatest threat that a schizophrenic poses is to commit suicide or to hurt himself. This generally happens when the circumstances seem hopelessly unjust—a condition often aggravated needlessly by evildoers, antagonists.
I don't know that there is a reason why people develop schizophrenia. I tend to think that it is in the genes and that it cannot be prevented except through divine intervention. If it were a matter of a chemical imbalance, as is generally medically accepted and professed today, we might find a cure, and that is what the experts would have you believe is happening. It's good for business. I think it is rather a physical flaw that medicine cannot alter. The medication that is prescribed only reduces the symptoms, like plugging the hole in the bottom of a boat with a piece of chewing gum that needs to be replaced regularly. I highly suspect that, like the chewing gum, medicine collects in your system and in your brain. Perhaps the boat will complete its journey before it becomes an issue. Medicine does not cure the condition, as the chewing gum doesn't mend the boat. Medicine is a rather crude science and is still in its infancy as far as I'm concerned. The realm of medicine is filled with lofty egos, which think they have the best solution for schizophrenics, just because they have found something that seems to help. They often are not convincing to schizophrenics though.
One of the greatest struggles in deciding whether or not to go along with the psychiatrist's decision to put me on medication was, is this okay with God? Does the field of medicine have enough wisdom to recommend something that is actually good for me? Or is this branch of medicine on the same fatal path as antibiotics are? The use of antibiotics has promoted the growth of resistant strands of bacteria. God has dietary laws that are a matter of life and death for believers and adherents to Christianity. Do drugs meet the criteria of clean foods? If they do not, then I should not consume them. Is the medical industry fit to make that decision for me? They certainly believe they are, without a doubt. My hesitation was looked upon as a symptom of my illness; I was perceived to be in denial, one of their pet assumptions. Although the changes might not be as dramatic, I thought that developing a better relationship with God would be more beneficial in the long run than taking drugs, a quick fix. Absolutely no discussion of the matter was encouraged, an insult to my intelligence and to my religious beliefs and good reason to doubt the medical profession all the more.
I went through therapy. Overall I would say it was beneficial but not nearly as much as it could have been. The clinic was run like a business. I was looked at as a file, a case or a client rather than a human being with unique needs. The objective was to get me to fit into a predefined mold. The first thing they taught us was to avoid discussions of a personal nature. On the other hand, they asked us all kinds of personal questions, a blatant double standard. They certainly did not practice what they preached in this regard. The prevailing attitude was that they knew best what was good for me. Of course they were following the pattern set out for them in their job training and education. I surfed the net a bit and found that the word compassion is not used in conjunction with psychotherapy in the English language, only in other languages. Empathy is found to be a new tool used by a few, but is far from being in widespread use. To those who do use it, it is found to be very effective and beneficial. It is a real shame that the second greatest commandment, "love your neighbor as yourself," is not deeply observed by the psychiatric and medical industry.
"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6, NASB). This is an example of the love of God for His creation. No matter what your situation is, if God has chosen you, He is in the process of perfecting you. This is not a physical perfecting, for we know that we get old and decrepit, but a spiritual perfecting. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB). The development of these characteristics is spiritual growth. This development can start with any human being and continue until death do you part or Christ's return. In my way of thinking, if this development is encouraged, then even the mentally ill will get better. This is what the therapists should be concerned with instead of having us fit into some worldly social idealism.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). This verse comes to mind. It occurs to me that a sound mind is not a flawless mind, just as a healthy body is not a flawless body. There is no such thing as a flawless body or a flawless mind. Just look at Lance Armstrong, for example. He is a world class athlete and has cancer. A sound mind is one that can reason and chooses to obey God's commandments.
Since writing this article I have come across an explanation of schizophrenia at this Web site: www.medicinenet.com. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about schizophrenia. It is a comprehensive Web site by the authors of Webster's New World Medical Dictionary. I would have benefited from having this insight when I was being diagnosed or when I was going through therapy, but it may not have been available at the time. I would have written a different article. Knowledge is increasing.
For a well-informed, broader view of psychiatry, see the following article by Maureen B. Roberts at http://www.jungcircle.com/exile.html, "Soul in Exile. It is an excerpt from her book Divine Madness: Schizophrenia, Cultural Healing & Psychiatry's Loss of Soul, 2001, Darknight Publications. Though she points out a real problem quite well, she does not present a convincing solution. Personally, I believe that all healing comes from God through His Son Jesus. Without this admission there is no lasting healing.
This article appears in the following topics: Mental Disorders