For many, the effects of schizophrenia are catastrophic. For others, it is a manageable condition that they can learn to live with.
Whether the disease remains manageable or advances into something more difficult to control, depends on several factors. Some of the variables are internal, but most are externally-driven, such as having a difficult time fitting into society or being labeled an outcast, or even worse, being locked up as a dangerous criminal when all that is needed is a solid treatment plan and a lot of support.
For those who have found a way to live with the condition, there are a few key hurdles that they have had to – or still must – jump over to cope with living in the world. The most difficult is probably the effects of the illness. The disabling brain disease makes it very difficult to separate manufactured experience with reality, and as a result, navigating daily life comes with a whole series of challenges.
Another thing that is incredibly difficult for those with schizophrenia is that they often are not allowed into certain parts of society. It becomes difficult to make friends and lead a social life, in part due to the condition, but also because many people are afraid to become close to someone with the disease. The alienation makes coping with the illness even more difficult for many people and for others, it makes it impossible.
What is it like to live with schizophrenia? Watch this video!
Effects of Schizophrenia
Without proper care, people suffering from schizophrenia experience effects that can completely hinder their ability to function within society in a meaningful way. Some of the symptoms include hearing voices, seeing things that do not exist, and feeling paranoid that someone is “"driving” their thoughts and actions.
These effects generally lead to reactions that come from the fear involved in having an “intruder” that they cannot free themselves from. The defense mechanisms can also lead to the construction of alternate realities in which complex webs are spun to curb perceived threats.
How Thinking is Affected
One of the hardest things about schizophrenia is the way that the disease effects thoughts. The thinking processes of people suffering from schizophrenia are often scattered and disorganized. They have great trouble pinning one thought down long enough to let it flourish into a more complex line of thinking.
Instead, their minds send them on trips from one thought to another, and they are generally completely unrelated. Therefore, others often hear conversations with those living with this disease where there seems to be no coherent line of logic. Having trouble finding thoughts can also be an issue. This is the opposite of the flood of disorganized thinking that often happens and can result in ideas that someone may be taking thoughts away. If you have ever seen an image of a person with schizophrenia wearing a tinfoil hat, it is likely that they are trying to protect themselves from thought meddlers.
All these symptoms can be hugely distressing, and many cannot tolerate the stress of them. That is why many sufferers of this serious mental illness act out in surprising and unexpected ways. They just can’t find any other way to cope with the torment that is coming from their minds. Of course, these effects are made easier to deal with when there is enough support from friends and family, and of course, with the proper course of treatment.
Discover how two families deal with children
who have schizophrenia.
Living with Schizophrenia
Living with schizophrenia can be quite difficult, but under the right conditions and with the proper care and support (it can’t be said enough), people living with schizophrenia can learn to thrive.
Some of the challenges come from fear and inner difficulties that exist, but other problems are related to the disorganized thinking. Maintaining a household can prove to be a very big challenge, keeping oneself clean and tidy is also difficult at times. Other difficulties include getting around on public transport, dealing with bills, buying things like clothes and groceries, and maintaining a job.
Famous People with Schizophrenia
There have been many famous people with schizophrenia. With more than 2 million sufferers in the United States, people living with schizophrenia are everywhere, including on screen, on the stage, behind the mic, and writing books.
Some of the most notable people how were diagnosed with schizophrenia were Jack Kerouac – the great American Beat poet; Bettie Page – the original pin-up girl; Syd Barrett – founder of Pink Floyd; Zelda Fitzgerald – wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald; and Vincent Van Gogh – an amazing impressionist painter. There are many more, but these names alone should be proof enough that living with this disease is definitely something that can be done.
Schizophrenia can lead to immense suffering, but many people are able to overcome at least some of the negative effects. Being able to control symptoms and go through behavioral therapy can lead to a fully-functioning life. It is even possible to do more than just survive. Are you or someone you know suffering from schizophrenia? Remember that there are several ways to continue life in a meaningful and productive way.