Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I exist, therefore I am?

When I was 5, did I know Schizophrenia is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental disorder characterized by impairments in the perception or expression of reality and/or by significant social or occupational dysfunction? Or that a person experiencing untreated schizophrenia is typically characterized as demonstrating disorganized thinking, and as experiencing delusions or hallucinations of all senses? I am afraid not. All I knew was that my dad saw, heard and felt things I did not. I was constantly under the impression that something was fundementally wrong in my head. So I stopped talking to people much, I stayed away from people I cared about thinking they might get my "disease".

One day, I ran to my dad to tell him about what I did in school. He sat still against the wall and did not respond to my hug like always. I always thought "Dad thinks I am a terrible person. That's why he doesnt hug me back or even smile at me." I continued telling him about my day, suddenly he jumped off his feet. I was startled.

"He is standing right next to you with a huge rock in his hands. Don't move, he'll throw it on us", he said. I looked around, there was no one but us in the room. But I saw deep fear in my dad's eye. "Why would he lie to me?" I thought to myself. I did not want him to know about my "disease" so I told him "he" would disappear if we looked away.

Thirteen years later, I took up psychology and learnt about my dad's condition called "Chronic paranoid schizophrenia". What shattered me more is that the illness could be genetic. I wondered how my dad has lived in his own world for the past 25 years, how no one belived him when he spoke about "them."

Did my childhood beliefs have an impact on me as an adult? Subconsciously, yes, to a great extent.

Is his world better than the "real" world? But then, who are we to say what is "real?" Years later, researchers may prove that the schizophrenic world is what is "real".

Schizophrenia may be a necessary consequence of literacy.

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