Thursday, September 13, 2007


The symptoms of schizophrenia can be divided into two main types: positive and negative.  The positive symptoms are more associated with craziness.  Talking to yourself. Laughing inappropriately. Delusions. Paranoia.  The negative symptoms are more nefarious and insidious. Anti-social behavior. Impulsiveness. Loss of drive. Poverty of thought.  I have always suffered from the negative symptoms for the most part. I tend to act most impulsively when the going it at its best thus my urge to be homeless again now that I have a home.  My biggest positive symptom is paranoia -- thinking others are out to get me and to cause me harm, and delusions about social situations.

For years, I didn't know what was happening. I knew something was wrong -- I actually knew something was wrong when I was a child, but psychiatry was still in the stone age then. I left home and college found me exhibiting bizarre behavior. Laughing inappropriately in public. Shying away from human contact. Drinking incessantly. The drinking was the hardest part because I thought I had found a magic elixir that cured all that ailed me. I felt empowered and "normal."  I discovered deserted country roads, bottles of Budweiser, and years of Joni Mitchell albums and talk radio. I was content until my aberrant ways caught up with me and I started to fall out of college. 

The Homeless Guy recently came out on his blog that he is capriciously schizophrenic. I wasn't surprised, but I was sad it took so long for him to reveal it. I do not feel shame for having schizophrenia just as a person with cancer should not feel shame. I believe he thought it would stigmatize him -- just another crazy homeless person.  It would have answered so many questions and criticisms he endured over the years of writing his wildly popular blog.  People can better understand black and white and not the shades of gray he obfuscated with for years about his condition. 

One of the biggest symptoms I am dealing with daily lately is apathy or the loss of drive.  I start out very strong, but degrade into a situation where I am afraid to go out of the house.  For example, I had grand plans to attend a lunchtime Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, but sat here spinning my wheels in indecision. I dreaded getting ready and the long drive.  The abhorred social contact made me shy away. I tell myself that I will never get better sitting in this house whiling away my time listlessly.  I need to get out and experience things and life to get better and to overcome my fears.      


Steanso said...

Yeah, and as therapeutic as the internet and blogging can be, there's a certain danger in allowing it to become a substitute for real world relationships and normal human contact. Go bring someone a small present. People love to get presents.

Anonymous Boxer said...

You know, even those of us that are "healthy" have problems with balancing our lives - so go easy on yourself. Blogging has opened a whole new world to me and has expedited my healing... however, I'm realizing that my real life is paying a high price and I'm working to keep it balanced.

Steanso is right - there is someone in your life that could use a special day with you. We'll all be here when you get back.


SOUL: said...

funny (not funny.. you know what i mean).. that bi-polar and schitzophrenia can be so similar in ways. (i have bi-polar, and really relate to a lot of your charactaristics... mailnly isolating... well.. i could go on, but now isn't the time. but i'm here to listen if ya need to email is on my blog.

but anyhow.. there's always fishin. i fish alone most of the time, and sometimes with hubby... but even alone... at least i am out. and feel so much more healthy just getting sunshine and fresh air.

i just got back in fact. my goal was to catch a big bass for you...and post it... but i din't catch a single fish today! i was really bummed too.. cuz i wanted it for you.. maybe next time.

hope you have a better day. they turn on a dime sometimes don't they? (the days)

(ok, andrew.. this is attempt number two on this comment..cuz i am blind! i hate these eye verification things)

Beautifully Profound said...

I know this blog is about serious issues. Such as addiction and mental illness, but I think your next poll should lighten things up a bit. Maybe have a vote on which totally goofy topic you should touch on more. It might help. Humor is a wonderful way to just let the rays of sunshine through the cracks.

Portia said...

excellent, candid summary. this first hand account is priceless for those of us searching for answers, or just knowledge, when so much research - and the internet - is so full of non-truths.
good luck with getting up & out. i know it is not easy, but i hope one day it is.

CJM-R said...

Over coming fear is a very hard thing to do, and you seem to make good progress because you want to move through the fear. That is why you are inspiring to your readers.

I try to remember 2 things when I feel fearful. 1. Love is the opposite of fear. 2. I can chose faith not fear. Sometimes it helps me.

Your writing is a way for you to work through your fear, too. What a wonderful tool to have.

Have a good meeting tonight.

Chandira said...

The more I read about you, the more I think that schizophrenia is a pretty normal condition for a lot of people, and I really think it's a matter of degree. Feeling the human condition is a healthy sign, to my mind. So many of us avoid feeling it, feeling anything, with all kids of distractions. We avoid admitting anything is wrong, mostly. It's funny how alcohol gets stigmatized as the the worst kind, when TV and sex, food, shopping, all kinds of things, also get used by the addictive ego, as distractions to facing life head on, and feeling the harshness of life. I think you're a pretty normal person, really. I mean that in the best kind of way, of course!!

Josie Two Shoes said...

You are wonderfully open and self-aware, Andrew. More than any of us, you can identify the areas you need to work on to feel stronger, and you ARE working on them! Maybe not every day, none of us follows our game plan perfectly, but you keep going back to it, and isn't that what recovery is all about?! I am VERY honored to know you, we could all use more of your courage to face life head on! BTW, we really need to start an "Isolaters Club"... but then none of us would ever make it to the meetings! :-)


I understand that feeling of trying to muster the energy to get out of the's exhausting..I experienced that quite a bit with my PPD, and perinatal D...big hurdle, but you will overcome it..I know you will.