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Journal of a Schizophrenic
February 21, 2004 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Journal of a Schizophrenic

Over the next several weeks I heard the voice every once in a while, but always in the house, when I was by myself. I became used to it, looked forward to it on occasion. I started playing pool with it. We would play a regular game of eight ball, me with the right hand and the voice with the left. I had never shot with my left hand before, but the voice won as often as not.
posted by moonbird (32 comments total)

 
fiction
posted by websavvy at 12:57 PM on February 21, 2004


Note, however, that this is fiction.
posted by abcde at 12:57 PM on February 21, 2004


Hmmm... the author comments regarding fic/nonfic:

A few people have made comments questioning the veracity of this article. I want to state that this is absolutely true, this is not something I made up. I, of course, can't change your mind if you've already decided I'm full of shit, but if someone is wondering if this is tongue or cheek, an authors attempt to get inside the mind of a hypothetical schizophrenic, I assure you it is not.
posted by moonbird at 1:20 PM on February 21, 2004


Sounds like demonic possession to me. I am serious.

OR it could be DID. I have internet friends with this-other personalities they call "alters." This can develop after a childhood of extreme physical and/or sexual abuse.

Schizophrenia is NOT a split personality so I doubt this is what this person has.
posted by konolia at 1:41 PM on February 21, 2004


I tend to think that many people have been misdiagnosed with some type of schizoaffective disorder when more than likely it was something like DID. I also know folks with DID and you're quite right, this account is a closer to DID than the latter, now that I think about it.

Fascinating, nonetheless.
posted by moonbird at 1:50 PM on February 21, 2004


Sounds like demonic possession to me. I am serious.

Except, of course, that there are no such things as demons.

DID, maybe.
posted by rushmc at 3:32 PM on February 21, 2004


I think demonic possession is the term used centuries ago for things we now understand to be something else.

If I'm not mistaken, one favored way of curing possession was to make the host body an uncomfortable residence - in other words, torture.
posted by vacapinta at 4:01 PM on February 21, 2004


The beatings will continue until mental health improves.
posted by spazzm at 6:01 PM on February 21, 2004


Look, as a bipolar person I don't trot out the demon hypothesis lightly, as of course I am quite aware of the biological origins of mental disease. Having a demon is not a mental disorder, nor the other way around. As a Christian and a bipolar I do spend a wee bit of time educating the uninformed (re mental illness. It doesn't matter to me that much what people believe about demons.)

I guess if I were to wager a pizza I would say DID.
posted by konolia at 6:27 PM on February 21, 2004


Oh, and back off, spazzm. ;-)
posted by konolia at 6:28 PM on February 21, 2004


What is DID?
posted by bshort at 7:48 PM on February 21, 2004


Dissociative Identity Disorder - what they used to call SPlit Personalities.
posted by hurkle at 8:26 PM on February 21, 2004


I agree, the voice did seem cooler than the narrator. And doesn't that seem like an interesting dilemma? Ever wanted to be someone else? I mean really be someone else?
posted by wobh at 10:28 PM on February 21, 2004




It's x, it's y, it's z.
posted by Blue Stone at 6:11 AM on February 22, 2004


Demons? This is the 21st century we're living in, isn't it?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:24 PM on February 22, 2004


FFF, the demons didn't all die out in 30 b.c., ya know. ;-)
posted by konolia at 2:47 PM on February 22, 2004


oh, please.
posted by crunchland at 2:54 PM on February 22, 2004


Dragons, too, crunchland.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:46 PM on February 22, 2004


In this screwed-up world, all too often one must go a little insane to keep from becoming totally insane.
posted by PsychoKick at 6:18 PM on February 22, 2004


"Sounds like demonic possession to me. I am serious." - I have rather different religious beliefs than does Konolia, but I concur.

Let me put it this way - modern physics demands the existence of several more dimensions than humans perceive, and many more far more exotic phenomena besides. But.....we cannot accept discarnate entities ?

Mmmkay....class dismissed.

Otherwise - my personal belief system allows for the existence of a complex ecology of energy beings - some helpful to humans, some potentially dangerous, some even parasitic. Can I prove it ? Of course not. But my beliefs are not inconsistent with advanced physics, though denial of such might be.

I am not a Christian - though I do have great respect for the New Testamant. But - fundamentally - I am an animist. Moving along to 'Good and Evil' - well I believe in such, in a relativistic way that is not completely incongruous with Konolia's belief.
posted by troutfishing at 10:55 PM on February 22, 2004


If 1 in 5 mental patients are diagnosed for schitzophrenia, how many folks are just plain walking around with it?

"Allright, raise your right hand -- show me your scars..."

This piece sounds like the piece of s'zo art, and it takes the same creeping tone of a erotic narrative:

I had never shot with my left hand before

etc. Yes, my goodness, everything is nice and new, isn't it?
Wooo. And then the pot wore off.

Look -- mental illness is not borne from happy experiences. Nobody goes to bed after shooting pool with their imaginary friend and goes "well, that was a pleasant evening." Not that I'm, ahem, psycho myself "but a lot of my friends are".

If you are going to break from the common reality we've all agreed upon, you're going to do so in profoundly unpleasant times. Not while living in a pleasant college town in a nice house with five other roommates and shooting a round of pool in the in-house lounge. If life were of the sort to push one over the edge, you ain't gonna have any time to be thinking about pool, you know?

Bad shit is gonna come creeping in. You'd be hard pressed to have a special friend without a special enemy out to kill that special friend and maybe fuck you up too. That's how it goes. You are taking a little holiday from reality because of bad shit, bad shit will still continue to find you unless you rise above it.

As far as I understand it. I'd love someone to correct me but barring someone educated, I doubt anybody would shine their mefi cred and speak to the issue. (that being said, if, ya know, you emailed me I'd repost whatever rebuttal anonymously...)
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:52 PM on February 22, 2004


Let me put it this way - modern physics demands the existence of several more dimensions than humans perceive, and many more far more exotic phenomena besides. But.....we cannot accept discarnate entities ?

"Discarnate entity," then yes, perhaps so. It is a quite neutral term, suitable for describing what is still largely an unknown field of study.

"Demon, god, spirit, angel," erm, well no. While familiar and comfortable, those labels are just too laden with preconcieved notions, too anthropormorphic, too focused in their meanings & implications. It's way too early for that. We simply haven't enough knowledge in the area beyond mere hearsay, legend, and rumor.

Once we (1) establish beyond a reasonable doubt their existance, and (2) achieve some level of verifiable understanding about them, then we can start assigning descriptive labels that speak of their nature and behavior.

Or, in the words of a man much wiser than I, "There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about."
posted by PsychoKick at 2:18 AM on February 23, 2004


If 1 in 5 mental patients are diagnosed for schitzophrenia, how many folks are just plain walking around with it?

Well, then you get into the whole "labeling" thing. Mental illness doesn't really fall into nice neat categories no matter what the pdocs would have us believe. Lots and lots of undiagnosed bipolars walking around....some get misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, some get misdiagnosed as unipolar depressives, and some get sent to drug rehab or have someone tell them that all they need is a good swift kick in the backside. Some pass as normal, and some pass as geniuses (ex: Ted Turner. No, seriously.)

If I didn't have the extensive social support network I have I'd be up crap creek. Sometimes it's things like that that make the diff between hell and just getting by.
posted by konolia at 3:58 AM on February 23, 2004


If 1 in 5 mental patients are diagnosed for schitzophrenia, how many folks are just plain walking around with it?

About 1 to 2% of population suffers from schizophrenia.

Look -- mental illness is not borne from happy experiences. ... If you are going to break from the common reality we've all agreed upon, you're going to do so in profoundly unpleasant times.

It's almost certain that the various forms of schizophrenia is a biophysical disorder, part genetics, part chemistry, and pretty much all to do with how your brain is wired. Since your brain is wired (and rewired) during your life in a dynamic process consisting of your genetics, your environment, and your experiences, there is not a clear understanding of all the variables involved in it's onset. As for the circumstances you mention, it's not at all clear that "bad" stress is what triggers the occurance of the disorder. If I remember correctly, a lot of cases occur with seemingly no cause. Here is a nice, plain-english overview of the disorder.

And with all due respect to those that believe in magical entities of questionable character, it's pretty clear that disorders like schizophrenia, DID, and bipolar mood disorders) are grounded simply in the complexities of biophysical systems like the brain. Demons, daemons, angels, and devils need not apply.
posted by moonbiter at 6:25 AM on February 23, 2004


Besides, it isn't demons we need to worry about. It's those troublesome body thetans that bring us down, keep us from self-actualization.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:49 AM on February 23, 2004


As a Christo-Pagan, I'm not sure that Konolia's theory is entirely outside the realm of possibility. The phenomenon has been pretty well documented by the Catholic church and modern-day cases are pretty exhaustively reviewed by psychiatrists, neurologists, etc. to rule out medical causes. The church is pretty sensitive to being regarded as medieval (at least in this case) so they do a pretty thorough job of weighing the empirical evidence before acting. While the book "The Exorcist" is a work of fiction, Joseph Peter Blatty did very thorough research on the criteria for an exorcism and the protocol followed once a case is presented to the church muckey-mucks.

That being said, exorcisms performed by the Catholic church are pretty rare - the particular case that "The Exorcist" was based on is not considered by the church to have met the criteria for a genuine case of demonic possession.
posted by echolalia67 at 11:25 AM on February 23, 2004


As a Christo-Pagan, I'm not sure that ...

Heh. You realize, of course, that the uncertainty you (and others) get from being a Christo-Pagan comes from the same source as my (and others') skepticsm from being a person who doesn't believe in magical beings. So I'd guess that we'd just argue in circles if we got into it. Suffice it to say that many people in the field have found the anonymous "psychiatrists, neurologists, etc." that you cite less than convincing.

But then I'm just an amatuer, so perhaps the science of psychology has moved on without me.
posted by moonbiter at 4:18 PM on February 23, 2004


moonbiter: Heh. You realize, of course, that the uncertainty you (and others) get from being a Christo-Pagan comes from the same source as my (and others') skepticsm from being a person who doesn't believe in magical beings. So I'd guess that we'd just argue in circles if we got into it. Suffice it to say that many people in the field have found the anonymous "psychiatrists, neurologists, etc." that you cite less than convincing.

My ambiguity is based more on the fact that I cannot prove or disprove cause of the things I have experienced. My faith in the existence of these things bumps up against knowlege of of clinical test design and statistical processing of empirically measured data - I too, was a psych major in college ;)

Perhaps these have been truely spiritual/supernatural events. Perhaps a sub-conscious, non-linear part of my brain was able to notice a pattern of events, process the information, and present them to the conscious part of my brain as part of the dreaming process or as a a prickly, nagging, intuitive feeling. Perhaps it's an ablility to sense subtle atmospheric/physiological/phermonal changes in people and the enviornment around me on a more "lizard brain" level, a vestigial function that dates back to a more primitive time of human evolution.

These all are more rational theories for the things I've experienced and they are all more likely explanations, I'll admit. I just can't rule out the possibility that there are supernatural explainations for my experiences - just because we don't have the means to measure and gather empirical evidence of the spiritual/supernatural phenomena in a reliable, controlled study now doesn't mean that we'll never have the means to do so. That's why I can't discount it's existence - however unlikely it seems, it's within the realm of possibility.

And there is the fact that the ritual of exorcism has helped some people for whom medical has not been able to provide relief from their affliction. Again, the power of a ritual such as exorcism may well be explained as the power of belief to effect physiological changes in the brain. I am also aware that this is a more parsimonious explaination, theoretically speaking. All I trying to say is that just because I believe in the supernatural it doesn't mean that I am an irrational person.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:04 PM on February 26, 2004


the cause....medical science

my proofreading skills are on the blink today
posted by echolalia67 at 12:15 PM on February 26, 2004


All I trying to say is that just because I believe in the supernatural it doesn't mean that I am an irrational person.

No, I know. I understand where you are coming from, and I don't doubt your reasoning abilities. What I was getting at was that you get your uncertainty, and I my skepticism, from our beliefs. So all we can do is look at things as they are, come up with an explanation for why they are, and then test that explanation to see if it's true. Unfortuately, that's not something we can do on MetaFilter, so all we'd end up doing is going round-and-round. That's all I was trying to say.
posted by moonbiter at 1:36 PM on February 26, 2004


Agreed...my point was that my faith/belief co-exists with what is known through logic and empirical evidence and it's often a complicated balancing act, as well it should be. I don't usually talk about my religious beliefs on MeFi because it's not a very welcoming place - I've observed people being slammed for their religious beliefs when it would have been more appropriate to challenge their logic. Of course, some of those people use their religious beliefs as a shield and an excuse to not engage in critical thinking. Still, I find fundamentalist thinkers, whether scientific, political, or religious, really tedious and intellectually lazy and there are far too many of them around here
posted by echolalia67 at 6:17 PM on February 26, 2004


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