Mad Men, Monsters, and Geniuses: Depictions of Schizophrenia in Film

Introduction

If one does an internet search for films about Schizophrenia they will be presented with a countable list, meaning, there are few of them. And of those films are any of them accurate depictions of the disease? Among them, is A Beautiful Mind, which is perhaps the most viewed film about Schizophrenia ever. The Oscar-winning film is about John Nash, a Princeton mathematician diagnosed after a psychotic break toward the end of his education. The film was a romanticized explosion. A secret agent pic mixed with Nash’s mathematician genius. Equally as impressive, there is 2014’s Love and Mercy which depicted Brian Wilson’s experience with the illness. While both of these movies have their place, Love and Mercy succeeded where A Beautiful Mind failed. Instead of becoming a box office hit, Love and Mercy was a quiet indie release which showed the reality of Schizophrenia. The film took the depiction of the disease beyond hallucinations, something that most movies about the illness tend to get hung up on. Love and Mercy highlighted Schizophrenia’s cognitive symptoms and showed what life after treatment could look like.

When considering movies about Schizophrenia there tend to be three categories. The first is horror in which the person with Schizophrenia is a villain or a murderer at the whim of their illness. Then original scripts which too often depict the character with Schizophrenia as someone with little to no touch with reality. And finally biopics typically about how Schizophrenia makes the person in the film a genius. These categories can intersect, and often do. They come together to create inaccurate representations of characters with Schizophrenia. There are villains who are geniuses, residents of institutions who have committed heinous acts of violence, artists and academics who have surpassed any other in their respective fields, and people who are so far out of touch with reality they have created entire fantasy worlds to exist within. All these characters have one thing in common: they all have Schizophrenia. These films go as far as to depict Schizophrenia as a defining factor in a character’s extremeness, with the disease being the part of them that drives them to violence or insanity. Yet many people are able to live with the disease undisturbed.   

Horror

Horror movies are quick to depict evil or detestable main characters as mentally ill, and especially as having Schizophrenia. In this way, films can assert the idea that having Schizophrenia makes a person violent. When in fact, research has found that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it (North Carolina State University). Most violent crimes are actually committed by people without mental illness. While anyone has the potential to be violent, society tends to place the blame for incomprehensible acts of violence on people with mental illnesses. No doubt Schizophrenia can be a scary and uncomfortable disease, but the only thing it makes a person more likely to do is to pass away prematurely, leaving people with Schizophrenia at risk for developing many other illnesses, but it does not increase their chances of being violent(SARDAA).  

Movies like The Fisher King (1991), Psycho (1960), and Halloween (1978) have an incredibly damaging impact on the way people understand Schizophrenia. All films in which the antagonist, a murderer or serial killer, is either directly or indirectly said to have Schizophrenia. For many people, their only understanding of the disease is from what they see in films like these. And based off this knowledge alone they would have good reason to be scared. Horror films paint a scary picture of mental illness, even if it is inaccurate. Media has such a deep and undying impact on how people understand the world. Bias is easy to plant but difficult to uproot. This means that it could take years to undo the stigmatization that exists because of the ways mental illness and Schizophrenia is depicted in the horror genre.

People with Schizophrenia in original script and movies based on books

In original scripts, and sometimes scripts based on novels, people with Schizophrenia are often completely out of touch with reality. They are frequently residents of a hospital or institution and are often victimized. Abuse and trauma is almost always part of the backstory for the main character. These films can also depict characters with Schizophrenia as living in their own, hallucinatory world. Movies like this include Donnie Darko (2001), K-PAX (2001), Spider (2002), Sucker Punch (2011), and Shutter Island (2010).  These movies tend to completely fictionalize the disease, suggesting that having Schizophrenia leaves a person completely disconnected from reality. These movies depict people with Schizophrenia as people lost in a delusion they perceive as real. While delusional thinking and hallucinations are part of the diagnosis, Schizophrenia is rarely so severe that people with it have almost no connection to reality. People with Schizophrenia, while spending time in psychiatric hospitals or even spending extended amounts of time there, very rarely need to live there anymore. With new medications and treatments coming out the all time, people with Schizophrenia have better outlooks than they ever have before.

 

Biopic

Biopics, ones like A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Love and Mercy (2014), exclusively depict the subject as a genius but suggest that this genius is due to Schizophrenia. They place the subject of the biopic on a pedestal and posit, isn’t this weird, aren’t they weird, we don’t understand them but they’re a genius. This is familiar with recalling the plot of either aforementioned movie. Both subjects are at the crux of their careers, one a mathematician at Princeton and the other a singer/songwriter/composer for The Beach Boys, who develop Schizophrenia and nearly lose themselves to the disease.

Of course, it is their Schizophrenia which makes them a genius, not their intellect alone, or their years of studying and practicing, and dedication. It is their disease, which is insinuated to be misunderstood and surreal, that is isolating them from others. In biopic films, people with Schizophrenia are put on high because the general public cannot understand them and therefore people with Schizophrenia are othered. Like an oracle or profit, being this type of misunderstood makes you mystical. Yet, Schizophrenia is prevalent enough to make it a fairly common disease and certainly, most people with Schizophrenia are not John Nash or Brian Wilson.

So why this idea that if you are not violent then you are mystified? Why not just normal, why not just average? Wahl in their article: Impact of a Television Film on Attitudes Toward Mental Illness, explains, “Social scientists have long been interested in the possible impact of mass media images on the public and have given considerable attention to false stereotypes of women, minorities, and the elderly. Mental health advocates have urged that attention be extended to another stereotypes group-mentally ill persons. Preliminary research has indicated that mental illness is a common theme in mass media. Stereotypes as mentally ill persons as different or dangerous have also been documented, and there is a strong belief that such stereotypes help maintain stigma which accompanies mental illness,”(Wahl 522). These examples of people with mental illness further perpetuate the incorrect public view in which people who are different are extreme examples of violence, insanity, or genius.

Discussion

When an entire group of people is boiled down into stereotypes, the resulting concoction breeds discrimination like bacteria. In films, people with Schizophrenia have always been either madmen, monsters, or magicians of intellect. A Schizophrenic is rarely a person; they are sick, violent, and out of touch. Rarely has a diagnosis carried such stigmatization. As time marches on and society distances itself from an era of cruel institutions and lobotomies as a legitimate treatment, mental illness is becoming less stigmatized. However, while the conversation surrounding depression, anxiety, and Bipolar Disorder increases, the same cannot be said about the conversation surrounding Schizophrenia. Mass media, arguably America’s favorite past time, is not helping the cause. In a survey which highlights how people interpret messages about mental illness on television an in film, Borinstein found that, “Americans are more likely to receive information about mental illness from the mass media than from mental health professionals. For example, 87 percent of respondents said that they had seen something about mental illness on television in the past several years. Other sources were newspapers (76 percent), magazines (74 percent), radio (73 percent), family or friends (51 percent), and books (50 percent). Only about three in ten said that they had received information from a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist (31 percent) or a physician (29 percent). Americans may be receiving most of their information about mental illness from the news media, but whether they believe what they hear or see from those sources is another issue,”(Borinstein 189). With so much influence from mass media, and such poor portrayal by the same source of information, the general knowledge about serious mental illness like Schizophrenia is tainted.

Consistent misinformation leads to decades of misunderstanding, especially when the majority of the information sourced is inaccurate. The prevalence of Schizophrenia is about one in one-hundred. This makes the disease fairly common. About 3.5 million people worldwide have Schizophrenia. Which means 3.5 million people suffer stigma that is so severe that they might never seek treatment(SARDDA).

Conclusions

Films about mental illness are designed to entertain. People have always been captivated by madness and violence. For decades we have been combining stereotypes about Schizophrenia and mental illness with blockbuster plots. The damage has been done. In order to halt this type of stigmatization, the grossly inaccurate depiction of people with mental illness must be changed. The influence of mass media can be used to help people make informed opinions or at least can be used to generate compassion through accurate representation. Just as dangerous as racism and sexism, ableism and stigma toward mental illness is taking lives.

One trend that has become visible in the difference between earlier films like A Beautiful Mind and more recent examples like Love and Mercy is the clear shift to a more accurate depiction of mental illness and Schizophrenia. This change brings to mind films like Silver Linings Playbook (2012), about Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. The film gives accurate but difficult images of both illnesses. However, what cannot be dismissed are movies like Split (2016), an atrocious and hurtful suggestion of what Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) looks like. The film Split featured an antagonist, a villain with DID living with twenty-three personalities. Compelled to kidnap and torture three teenage girls, each of his personalities terrifies his captors in different ways.

It is clear that American culture and understanding is beginning to move past our outdated understanding of serious mental illness like Schizophrenia, but old habits die hard and changes do not happen overnight. Split was so contested that it started a petition which garnered a good deal of signatures begging the movie not be released. That did not happen, and no matter how many signatures, it is doubtful the film would have ever been pulled. A sequel is set to be released. After decades of misrepresentation, it is to no one’s surprise that movies like Split are still being produced. But things are changing and more people are becoming fed up with the rehashed mentally ill villain.   


Citations:

 

About Schizophrenia. In: Sardaa. https://sardaa.org/resources/about-schizophrenia/. Accessed

9 Dec 2018

 

Borinstein AB (1992) Public Attitudes Toward Persons With Mental Illness. In: The Physician

Payments Sunshine Act. https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.11.3.186. Accessed 9 Dec 2018
VOL. 11 NO. 3

 

Corrigan P, Watson A, Ottati V (2003) From Whence Comes Mental Illness Stigma?

International Journal of Social Psychiatry 49:142–147. doi: 10.1177/0020764003049002007

 

Fleming MZ, Piedmont R, Hiam CM (1990) Images of Madness: Feature Films in Teaching

Psychology.  Teaching of Psychology 17:185–187. doi: 10.1207/s15328023top1703_12}

 

LIVINGSTON KATHY (2004) VIEWING POPULAR FILMS ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS

THROUGH A SOCIOLOGICAL LENS. Teaching Sociology 32:119–128. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0092055X0403200111

 

North Carolina State University. “Mentally ill more likely to be victims, not perpetrators, of

violence, study shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225101639.htm>.

 

Penn D, Chamberlin C, Mueser T (2003) The Effects of a Documentary Film About

Schizophrenia on Psychiatric Stigma. Schizophrenia Bulletin 29:383–391.

 

Wahl, Otto, and J Yonatan Lefkowits. “Impact of a Television Film on Attitudes Toward Mental

Illness.” American Journal of Community Psychology, vol. 17, no. 4, 1 Aug. 1989, pp. 521–528. Research Gate, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/20546422.


Films Referenced:

A Beautiful Mind. Directed by Ron Howard.

Performances Russell Crowe,

Universal Pictures, 2001

 

Love and Mercy. Directed by Bill Pohlad.

Performances Paul Dano

River Road Entertainment, 2014

 

The Fisher King. Directed by Terry Gilliam.

Performances Jeff Bridges

TriStar Pictures, 1991

 

Psycho. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Performances Anthony Perkins

Shamley Productions, 1960

 

Halloween. Directed by John Carpenter.

Performances Jamie Lee Curtis

Compass International Pictures, 1978

 

Donnie Darko. Directed by Richard Kelly.

Performances Jake Gyllenhaal

Pandora Cinema, 2001

 

K-PAX. Directed by Iain Softley.

Performances by Kevin Spacey

IMF Internationale Medien und Film GmbH & Co. 2. Produktions KG, 2001

 

Spider. Directed by David Cronenberg.

Performances Ralph Fiennes

Odeon Films, 2002

 

Sucker Punch. Directed by Zack Snyder.

Performances Vanessa Hudgens

Warner Bros., 2011

 

Shutter Island. Directed by Martin Scorsese.

Performances Leonardo DiCaprio

Paramount Pictures, 2010

 

Silver Linings Playbook. Directed by David O. Russell.

Performances Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence

The Weinstein Company, 2012

 

Split. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Performances James McAvoy

Blinding Edge Pictures, 2016

 

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Is there an over-association of positive symptoms when considering Schizophrenia Spectrum?

For many young people who develop Schizophrenia goals and aspirations are often neglected or given up on because of the severity and range of symptoms. Often associated with the disease are positive symptoms, auditory and/or visual hallucinations, delusional thinking, and beliefs. These things are most frequently associated with the Schizophrenia Spectrum because they are misunderstood by the general public and are very often exemplified on tv and in films.  But are the negative symptoms (lack of interest and motivation, as well as flat affect and loss of socialization) overlooked and oversimplified?

A recent article in Science Daily, covering research by University of Nevada, Las Vegas, suggests that this may be the case. Positive symptoms are often the first to be treated, and perhaps that is because they are most typically treated with medication. But this same medication may not easily treat negative symptoms. However new treatment protocol may increase emphasis on behavioral interventions and therapies as well as traditional treatments with antipsychotics and other psychiatric medications.

  1. Gregory P. Strauss, Alicia Nuñez, Anthony O. Ahmed, Kimberly A. Barchard, Eric Granholm, Brian Kirkpatrick, James M. Gold, Daniel N. Allen. The Latent Structure of Negative Symptoms in SchizophreniaJAMA Psychiatry, 2018; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.2475
  2. University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (2018, November 27). Keep it complex: Study shows that previous research oversimplified Schizophrenia symptoms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 26, 2018 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181127171402.htm

 

Radical Acceptance is cool

“It’s all in your head.”

I’ve been fighting chronic health conditions for years.

Every day when I didn’t want to get up I knew I couldn’t give in. But it wasn’t always so easy for me. When the voices started I listened to them. When they told me to hide I hid. When they told me to stay in bed I pulled the pillow back over my head. When they told me that there was a higher power, unnamed though it was, that whispered when the wind blew, I prayed to the wind. When they told me I was a piece of shit I believed them. When they told me my medicine was poison I dumped them down the toilet. I ate when they said I could and didn’t eat when they wouldn’t let me. I counted the patterns in the colors of the cars that drove by me.

When they suggested I kill myself I gave it my best shot.

Now I’m glad I’m here, alive, breathing, thinking, writing and creating. I’m glad to see the sunrise and the wind doesn’t whisper like it used to.

I used to have visual hallucinations. More real than you in front of me. More real because that’s what my brain told me. So real that I felt their breath sometimes, felt their fingers on the back of my neck, saw their eyes move as they watched me. You can’t know what it’s like to hallucinate until you have.

My last visual hallucination was of an alien set upon reading my mind by sticking his fingers in my brain. That was three years ago. My brain’s last attempt at lying to my eyes. Though sometimes it still plays tricks and I see red cats out of the corner of my eye.

But the voices, they never stopped. They’ve been a constant part of my life for about five years now. It’s never quiet. There is never an instant of silence. It sounds like a beehive inside my head. Like a congested subway. Like a too full elevator. It sounds like panic and sadness and mania and anger. Some I can understand and some I can’t. Some sound like a radio in the other room. Some voices sound like voices sound. Some sound like dull hum of white noise. Some come from outside my head and make me turn around, scan the landscape or the crowd. There’s never a source, at least not one other than my own head.

Not to be confused with, “It’s all in your head.” One thing I’ve learned is to never let anyone get away with saying that. As if your brain isn’t part of your body. As if they don’t function as a whole. As if they don’t work together to create absolutely every experience you’ve ever had, every feeling you’ve never felt, every movement you’ve never made, any sound you’ve ever heard, every taste you ever tasted. You cannot have one without the other. The brain and body exist together, one thing that has one goal. When you are sad it’s the whole body that is sad, and when you cry it’s the whole body that cries. It’s the whole body that becomes tired. It’s the whole body which achieves happiness. It’s the whole body which becomes sick. You cannot have the oceans without the moon, or day without night, or spring without winter.

It’s with my entirety that I have Schizoaffective Disorder, it’s my entirety with which I fight. It’s my entirety with which I breathe. This how all things exist. With their entirety.

I’ve learned that my hallucinations are part of me. It’s who I am. Illness is a part of me. But life is a part of me too. Happiness is a part of me. And my body and my brain, they are me.

“It’s not all in my head.”

“It’s all of me.”

You cannot fight a war against yourself. Instead, you’ve got to learn to live with yourself. You’ve got to learn to be gentle with yourself. To let yourself breathe and sleep and wake and you’ve got to move and experience. But that’s all. If you can’t bare anything else today, just exist. Exist from where you are. Life can’t ask anything more from you.

Just exist and tomorrow try and exist a little bit more.

This Time of Year

Trees burst with yellow, so dust to dust.

Maine sighs the last taste of summer from its mouth.

We bundle ourselves fast beneath our jackets and steel ourselves against the growing hum of winter weather. Rain threatens ice. We breathe fog into the cold air.

I am at peace during this time of year. Loose fitting sweaters hang placid from my frame, I can tuck a scarf beneath my chin. A hat pressed against my head. I am at home underneath big red maple trees. I like the stories New England hauntings read aloud from dog-eared books with broken bindings. I like sweet apple cider. Round pumpkins with funny grins appear on old porches. Chimneys exhale, their ragged and tired throats expel pale grey smoke. Boots clatter and children fetch their costumes, laughing into a dark night sky.

I think my voices like it too.

Whispering in awe at the beauty, they too steel themselves in anticipation, covering my brain in a soft blanket. Soon it will be winter.

Winter means depression. Or worsening depression anyway.

But right now it’s autumn and there are pumpkin pies and ghost stories to be had. A cozy night clasps in her hand’s hot chamomile tea.

She says, “drink up.” And I do. I sleep best this time of year. Buried beneath a mound of comforters the cool air slows my too fast heart.

“slow down,” says the cool autumn air, “slow down. Don’t miss this beauty.”

Standing at the base of an old maple tree, arms wrapped around her trunk my fingers cannot reach. A great, wide, trunk juts off into the sky. It’s lived three or four times the length of my own life. Each autumn she dies and in the spring she is reborn.

“look,” she mutters, her big branches shudder in the cold, “at my resiliency,” her leaves fall and pile at my feet, “I can show you how to be this way.”

Autumn is, after all, a practice in the acceptance of our own shortcomings.

“we all need time,” she whispers absently into the breeze, “to rest.”

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All the pumpkins smile. A black cat, who is not mine, yawns on my porch and stretches to life. A big tom cat, who knows it too. He lets out a silly noise from between his teeth. Cats rest when they need it, which is often enough. Taking cat naps in the apricot autumn sunshine.

“winter is for resting,” says the nighttime, her body stretched across the sky.

“and in the spring,” thinks the cat, “we will stretch to life again.”

The cool air captivates me. It winds me down until I slow.

“winter is alright,” I say.

The cat agrees, and then purrs lazily, “don’t fear time for recuperation.”

The trees shift, “we couldn’t go on so long without it,” they say, their voices not unlike the wind. Talking all at once.

Bittersweet and rose and wine. Cherries and chestnuts. The colors this time of year are without names. Wordless colors tossed across treetops and tree-middles and all the way across mountain ranges which will soon be powdered in light, quiet snow. And against the blue sky leaf peepers gaze, and birds fly south, and squirrels gather acorns, and the resident porcupine steals corn cobs from the aged corn fields. Cobwebs gather and the furnace kicks on. Each morning grows colder. Hot soups in hot steamy kitchens are stirred. Ghosts come out at night and stand around their ghostly fires that burn the color of nothingness.

Everything is still except a lone buck that stands at the edge of the woods, hooves stamping in the dirt. Antlers like strong arms grow stronger with each exercise. He grunts and twists his head to look into the forest. A great silence beats the within it. Suddenly turns and runs against the winter wind. Dark eyes like two black marbles inside his head.

The trees shudder and the pumpkins grin and the cat is lazy and warm and nighttime with her heavy arms comes earlier now. And against the dark a deer races. Heart pounding beneath his chest muscle. His bovine skeleton will come apart and vanish into the soil before the spring.

“rest,” says the cat, “you’re tired.”

The deer races.

The deer races.

Behind him, the forest turns pale and blushes at her naked body. Fall is her favorite season to be naked. Autumn reassures us that spring will come. After all, you cannot have life without death.

Wise Mind

“I’ve seen Schizophrenics do great things and then crash,” he said, a quiet voice in a quiet room. Quiet dust settled on a thin sunlit window sill. Hot tension settled, “Avoid anything that gives you any stress at all.”

I looked at the doctor but didn’t say a word, angry words trapped behind my teeth.

Great things aren’t done by avoiding hardship. I thought about the upcoming school year. It’s wasn’t going to be easy. But then, to defeat your diagnosis is a brave thing. It’s scary, and all along the way, people will like to tell that you can’t overcome what you have set out to do. Schizophrenics being gravely disabled aren’t only faced with challenges that any disabled person might face, but we are stigmatized too. Most recently I’ve been told  I won’t be able to be aggressively intelligent, a skill I will apparently need to do well in college.

The first time I was ever told there was something wrong with me it was third grade. The smell strawberry scented markers filled the air. I held my marker clumsily in my hand. I don’t remember what I’m writing with it but I remember the wind blowing lazily through two purple curtains. The breeze is warm so it must still be September. The class pet, a white mouse, is sleeping in his cage. It’s close to the end of the day.

There is a fuzzy nagging at the back of the head. Like a string being tugged on. Then there is a voice. A voice which only I can hear. Creeping up my body like a ghost and leaving thoughts in my brain.

There was a great stillness in my throat.

I couldn’t draw a straight line. I couldn’t adhere to the margins of a page, all my writing coming out crooked. Mixed with my poor handwriting it became a problem for the teachers.

An Occupational Therapist came twice a week and tried and help. Holding my hands still and making me solve mazes. She thought that maybe there was a disconnect between my brain and my hands. She always wore skirts with animals on them. Blue skirts with dolphins and pink ones with pigs. By the time I stopped speaking the school didn’t know what to do with me so they decided to hold me back. I guess I was awkward socially. I don’t remember a whole lot of that year, just that the voices started.

By the sixth grade, I believed I had magical powers that my friends didn’t. Most of my school day was spent staring at the classroom door and wondering what might come through it. Monsters, aliens, a demon sly on two black wings. Math was an issue for me, the voices reciting lists of numbers as I tried to work through problems. I saw a six and all I could hear were lists of twelves.  A thirteen and I could only hear sevens and eighteens. I never had a problem with the written language though, the voices inciting phrases and words for me. Helping my sentences to flow.

The third time I learned there was something wrong with me I was looking over the shoulder of a police officer. I was watching a grainy tape of myself, interacting with nothing. My blue Rite Aid work uniform black and white. Surrounded by shampoo bottles. Not a person in sight, though apparently, I thought so. I was in high school and although I had started speaking years ago, so had the visual hallucinations.

The fourth time I ever learned that something was wrong with me. I burst into tears in the middle of math class. Unable to breathe. A pale darkness surrounded me and outside the classroom window, I saw the same man I had seen at Rite Aid. Suddenly I was being escorted down to the Social Worker’s office. Then an ambulance with giant lights and loud sounds. Then a hospital. But this hospital was a different kind. It had doors that locked you in. In this hospital, they take the shoelaces from your shoes. All of your belongings are tied up in plastic bags. There is an old pay phone on the wall. Grimy from years of use. There are empty rooms. And there are crowded rooms where all the patients huddled around windows that looked out onto empty parking lots. Nurses come by and give you medications. Food gets brought up to you. There is a security guard with a taser. And a nurses station behind a wall of glass.

It wasn’t a healing environment.

I stayed there for three weeks.

That fall I went to college. I’d been living on my own since my first hospitalization. After six more hospitalizations, a bad psychiatrist, and a dozen or so medications I had grown accustomed to how many things were wrong with me.

“You’re sick, you need to be here right now.”

“Take this med or we’ll make you take it.”

“There won’t be any beds for a week, but you’re too sick to go home.”

“Don’t tell anyone about your diagnosis.”

“You’re not safe to be on campus.”

“You’re a liability in the classroom.”

“You’re diagnosis is a death sentence.”

Dust settled on my textbooks, heavy doses of anti-psychotics dulled my mind. Turning it to a beehive, amess with chatter but sticky with honey. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t move. So I dropped out of college. And became the image of the person my doctor claimed I would become.

For three years I let myself heal. Body and mind. I found a dose of a medication that worked for me. Finding that medicine was the catalyst that calmed the storm. A riled sea slowed inside of me. I could now pick up the debris which littered my brain.

I turned back to writing for the first time in years. I used writing to create a reflection of myself that I could understand. Coming to terms with being sick. Even though Schizoaffective Disorder is life-long, it’s still a life worth living.  I learned that I could use my voices as a gift, letting them express themselves through words. After a few publications, I realized that it works. I started a blog to allow my voices to stretch their legs. They’re part of me, I can’t keep them cooped up forever.

As my brain slowly clears, I’ve made the big decision to return to school. To pursue something which I’ve was told I’d never reach. I’m braver now than I’ve ever been. Any life is a life worth living, and any knowledge is knowledge worth learning. I learned in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy that to function properly one has to balance rational mind with emotional mind. Doing this creates a calm that exists between the two: wise mind. A place we can all find peace. School teaches me the same thing. I’ve learned to balance my school work with my illness. The best example of emotional mind and rational mind that I encounter on a daily basis. Academia and Schizophrenia, place in which I find peace.