1. Suomyno
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    Suomyno Member

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    Schizophrenia

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Suomyno, Jul 14, 2008.

    I'm writing a novel where one of the MCs is suffering from schozophrenia. I know there are many websites with information on symptoms, behaviours ect. but I was wondering if anyone here knows about living with it or living with someone suffering from it and what it's like. I feel like reading about symptoms and such can only give me so much info to make the character believable, because they give the facts of living with it moreso than the reality of living with it, if my reasoning makes sense.
    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    why don't you get some of the many non-fiction books on this very subject that were written by family members?... you can find them fairly easily on amazon...
     
  3. The Bard of Wigan
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    The Bard of Wigan Contributing Member

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    My answer is two fold.

    As a mental health professional you better make sure you get it right. There's enough rubbish wrote about the individuals who are diagnosed with severe and enduring mental illness.

    As a writer, don't write about what you don't know about.
     
  4. Alexa
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    Alexa Member

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    I'm writing a story about a guy who has Schizophrenia as well. It's actually a true story about my brother..I've never written stories like that before but I thought it would be a good idea considering what our family went through at the time and I'll be writing it from the sister's POV.

    But, although I know a lot about how he was before being diagnosed and medicated and when he was hospitalized and everything I didn't experience what he felt and what he was going through. I know with every person it's different, so my advice to you is to make sure you do your research if you want to write this story.

    I know a lot about how my brother was at the time and my parents even kept a book about everything that happened with him. So I can always look back on that..but I haven't started it yet because I want to know more about what I'm writing and about the illness so before I even begin this story I've been researching and I suggest you check out some books as well. There are some great ones out there. After my brother was diagnosed I went to the library to read up on it and found a great selection of books on the illness.

    I'm sorry I can't give you much more help than that..Talking about my brother and what he went through and our family went through is really really painful. It actually could be the reason I'm putting off this project of my own..

    But like I said what you can do is at least read up on it..because you need to know about it before you can even think about writing about it.
     
  5. Suomyno
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    Suomyno Member

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    Thanks for the responses :) I've been researching and reading as much as possible about the disease and intend to continue doing so... I'll definitely try to find books by people who've experienced it first hand in some way so I can understand that aspect of it as well.
     
  6. DrJoe
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    DrJoe Member

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    I'd like to say I think suffer from a mild case of schizophrenia, the strongest symptom of which is sometimes I think that everyone is going to kill me. Doesn't get me too often, but boy, when it does, you go out of your way to avoid people on the street. What if they throw you in front of a moving car?

    You have to watch yourself, it's a mad world.
     
  7. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    What type of schizophrenia is he suffering from? There are five different types of schizophrenia: paranoid (thats what Dr.Joe mentioned), catatonic, disorganized, undifferentiated, and residual. So, if you told us the severity, and what type it was, we could be more help.
     
  8. ChocoboDragon
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    ChocoboDragon New Member

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    A good place you could visit would be a forum for people with schizophrenia. :)

    I don't know if I have schizophrenia (I lack main symptoms and never been diagnosed, although clinical medical illnesses like that does run in the family) but I do experience certain symptoms of it that I can describe to you. I have frequent and often very vivid hallucinations, delusions, and other things.

    Hallucinating is like dreaming while you are awake. Like dreaming, it comes from your sub concious, rather than your concious mind. Sometimes you know you are hallucinating, sometimes you don't. Also like dreaming, sometimes your thinking is warped - you have knowledge of things that you shouldn't and lack the understanding of obvious, everyday things.

    While different types of hallucinating may occur on their own (seeing, hearing, etc), they also combine. For example, one of mine involved a hunstman spider the size of a horse. I could see it so clearly, I could hear it, and I could feel it when it crawled across my face. Rarely I hallucinate smells but it has happened a couple of times. Sometimes hallucinations involve materialising things out of thin air, or sometimes it will bring real objects to life... I had an entire conversation with a plastic blow up seal once. It pulled a blanket right off me (I felt, saw, heard the blanket be pulled off, but in reality it never moved) and we had a nice chat. In high school, for a year I heard horrible screaming every night, that was a pure auditory hallucination. 85-90% of hallucinations are terrifying for me, not pleasant.

    They are triggered by different things, the main thing for me is people yelling and fear. Others are constant, loud noises (such as the hair dryer), the dark, too quiet, or nothing at all.

    It doesn't happen as much anymore as things are settling down, but I would sometimes get a bit delusional without hallucinating. I thought I could read people's minds and transfer my thoughts into their heads. I really, really thought wings were going to sproat from my shoulder blades. Once I stood on top of a mountain at the edge, a voice told me to jump, I won't die, I will fly, it's okay, jump... jump... jump... I hesitated, but I knew better than to listen.
    Another thing that doesn't really happen much anymore - it was sometimes very difficult to tell the difference between real life, television, and dreams. Often I wouldn't be sure what actually happened to me and what didn't, it was annoying.

    Speaking of voices, to me anyway, they don't sound like they are coming from inside your head. Me personally, they are next to me, behind me, above me, anywhere away from actually inside my mind. I have the particular reoccuring one, where sometimes I will be thinking and then a voice outside will finish my sentence (or just speak gibbersh). They are women voices, men voices, children voices. It is irritating but not as scary because it is typical.

    This is coming out of the psychotic side of things, but I also have severe social anxiety (fear of anything to do with people seeing or hearing me). I don't know if that's related, but if so, I can tell you what that's like as well. ;)

    I don't know if this helps at all. It may not be what you are looking for but I thought I would throw it in. I will add that the worst part of it all it when you confide in a close friend about it, only to be laughed at in your face.

    Here's some pictures I painted about it, for a high school project:
    Part One - Self
    Part Two - Fantasy vs Reality
    Part Three - Them
     
  9. gigantes
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    gigantes Banned

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    thanks for explaining all this- it helps my understanding a lot. i think.

    by what sense do you mean "shouldn't"? things that your peers and family would deem improper or disturbing?

    i like the idea about the nice chat. in "chungking express" the cop spent several moments berating his sagging dish sponge for looking depressed and dispirited, asking where it's joi de vivre had gone. i loved that and often talk to insects and small animals as if i was steve irwin... but they never talk back to me directly. that could be pretty interesting.

    that's how i experience it except it takes mechanical noise to start the process, like a fan. i hear the din of lunchtime conversations or bands playing songs until the mechanical device is shut off- then they instantly stop. other times a sound has occured earlier, like the phone ringing or the cat meowing, and the sound just keeps on playing itself for hours. there is typically dread or great annoyance involved.

    i loved that stuff, particularly the one with the animals populated by outlines and shadows- brilliant IMO.
     
  10. Orianna2000
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    Orianna2000 Member

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    Here's something that might help you get a grasp of what it's like inside a schizophrenic mind. It's a "true life" story, written by someone with schizophrenia. The thing is, this woman doesn't believe that there's anything wrong with her, so she refuses to take medication. She hallucinates constantly, and has severe delusions and paranoia. As a result, she honestly believes that everyone she meets--every single person--is part of an international secret organization whose sole purpose is to spy on her and interfere with her life. They change the traffic lights when she gets near them, they have a hovering bright light follow her wherever she goes, they turn off street lamps when she walks beneath them, they hide inside the walls of her house and inside the trees in her yard . . . they try to control her by giving her migraine headaches, they intercept her mail, they use cellular and TV antenna towers to control random people. The story is her way of trying to warn other people about this organization. Sadly, other schizophrenics read her story and can relate to all the things she thinks she sees and hears, and so they support and feed her delusions.

    Anyway, it's an astonishing account that will give you an accurate perspective of what it's like to be schizophrenic. It's called "Vera's Story" and can be found here.
     
  11. gigantes
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    gigantes Banned

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    re: vera's story,
    it's crazy to see a cognitive mind calmly elaborating the situation and at the same time not being able to ask certain basic questions of themselves, starting with "what do i have that would justify an enormous amount of effort spent observing and manipulating me?"

    does this mean that the psyche lays down relatively immovable mental barriers that even the most brilliant mind cannot penetrate? example that comes to mind would be john nash, ie "a beautiful mind."

    anyway, i read a ways through but the steady stream of illogical thoughts just wore me down, so i stopped. i did notice at the very end she said that she had found a way out. what was that, exactly?
     
  12. winternight119
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    winternight119 New Member

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    Heh, "a way out," huh? I haven't read it yet (though I might read some of it - like you said it could be too incoherent to follow), but I've been thinking for a while about a plot where the protagonist is a schizophrenic. You're probably right when you mentioned John Nash, it's interesting. Also, Vera probably thinks "they" are watching her because "they" know that she's the only one who can figure it out. Who knows? ("They" do, I suppose.) But it's still untouched since if I wrote it, it would be novel-length and I would like to write more before I do so in order to improve my writing before tackling a large project. But this thread has been interesting, sort of what I've been looking for.

    ~Night
     
  13. gigantes
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    gigantes Banned

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    she's the only one who can figure it out. hmm...

    what do you think her rationale would be for why they simply wouldn't kill her? because as powerful as they are, they have to play by a certain set of rules?
     
  14. topper
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    This stranger, my son was a really good book written by a mother in the 70s who had a son born with paranoid schizophrenia. It gave a really good description of the symptons she saw. But it was very sad.
     
  15. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    Now I disagree with this actually, otherwise we would not really have stories about wizards and witches and flying cars, as how can you know about it if they do not actually exist.

    The same applies with people writing about War stories, or about someone being a spy, and God knows how many things, very few of them have an actual first hand experience of knowlage of something they are writing about. I say go for it, do lot of reasearch, ask people who know suffers of Schizophrenia, read books where poeple have wrote about their experiences of it ... do as much reasearch as you can so you give the disease a fair portrail.
     
  16. gigantes
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    gigantes Banned

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    i think he meant don't write about things that can be researched if you haven't done the research.
     

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