All my family are very accepting of my illness, some appreciating the term schizophrenia more than others- but they are all there for me through the best and worst of it. This is an example of a time when this was harder for my parents to deal with….
A big part of schizophrenia as an illness is that it causes it’s sufferers to not be able to deal with stress- this manifests in several ways, from loud voices, delusions, violence, or for me; acting like a 5 year old!
I’m being deadly serious.. I’ve always been childish and find comfort in childhood habits- I still have my teddy bear, I sleep with a night-light, and I love drinking from bottles. (I know, odd for a 19 year old whose working towards a degree!) However when stress gets added to the mix it intensifies. I have very little first hand recollection of this as when it occurs, the logical side of my brain disengages, leaving me unaware of what is going on to some degree. BUT I do have memory of what happened after it happens.
So imagine in a hospital, I’m in a private room, parents are there for support and we are sitting just talking about the plans for Christmas. Enters nurse, come to take my blood pressure and put in a cannula. Now think of a 5 year old girls high pitch childlike voice, doesn’t pronounce the words right; slurs, and stammers. That was me.
This went on for the entire day, until we were able to leave and head home.
The bear came out, as something for me to hug, and I started to cling onto my dads hand. When we went to enter the surgical room (my dad still with me), I froze up, point blank refusing to go in- took a lot of encouragement to get me in there, including a gentle nudge. Doctor came to give me the painkiller to make me dozzy, and I started repeating that I wanted to go home. It took several doctors/nurses to get me to stay in the right position, and get my cannula’ed hand so that the doctor could do what needed doing.
I can look back at this now and think- how irrational of me, why in the world would I act that way? But at the time, I had little use of my own mind, instinct took other due to the fear and stress of the situation. It took until I got home to start functioning properly again, and almost a week to realise how irrational my actions were.
I’d love to tell you what part of schizophrenia causes this reaction, but I’m afraid that it is not something that I understand- and for the matter of fact neither do my psychiatrists. Schizophrenia is one of those things that is very hard to understand as it presents itself differently in each and every case. Little can be told from the label, you have to look inside to understand what you are dealing with.