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The Reality of Schizophrenia This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

It really hit me when I heard the maniacal laughter, bouncing from the stark walls, mocking.

Our psychology teacher sits at her desk, pensive and almost aloof, while her class slumps forward and doodles in notebooks. I sit rigidly, watching, pen pressed against my lips with one hand, knuckles yellowing from gripping the table in the other.

The video continues mercilessly. The floor swoops backward and forwards, the room suctions into a squished labyrinth then contracts again. The psychologist leans forward with creepy intensity practically bleeding from his pores.

“Do I look strange to you?” he queries as an extra eye sprouts in his forehead.

Meanwhile the babble of voices rises and falls, some an undercurrent of violent threats, others high pitched wailing. Imagine having both Batman and the Joker simultaneously chanting at a Satanist cult meeting. Now you have a pretty good idea of the voices.

But the laughing blossoms into full-blown snickers, whoops of deadly delight. And in the middle of class, I shout,

“Stop laughing! It isn’t funny! Stop!”

Walking out of the class, my sister told me the laughing came from the video.

That’s when I awoke to the horror that schizophrenics endure. If I could not distinguish the laughing as a product of the video, what would a schizophrenic think?

Schizophrenia is characterized by a loss of touch with reality; it is a form of psychosis. Hallucinations and delusions are common symptoms of this trying disease, as well as a loss of emotional responsiveness, paranoia, disfigured speech and disjointed though processes, even poor coordination, in some cases. Hallucinations are imaginary sensations; delusions are nonfactual beliefs. I felt the need to define the two because many get them confused.

People also confuse schizophrenia with multiple personality disorder, because schizophrenia means “split-mind”; the mind split from reality, not into separate identities. In your lifetime you might meet a schizophrenic, since ten percent of the population has schizophrenia. That is actually a lot of people.

Many people joke about schizophrenia, sniggering, saying, “What are you, a schizo?” picturing a maniac running down the streets screaming, “THEY’RE COMING TO GET ME!!!” But it’s no laughing matter. These people abide in a living hell, kindly faces distorted into demons, evil lurking behind every quivering corner. Voices constantly pour in from all sides, commonly ordering one to mutilate one’s self. Furthermore, imagine the niggling thought always in the back of your mind, they’re coming to kill me and my family. Paranoia such as this acutely and cruelly attacks schizophrenics. And often there’s no relief.

Most antipsychotics attack dopamine receptors as a way of “treating” schizophrenia. The harsh reality, though, is that schizophrenia can’t be treated. Magnetic pulses aimed at the cerebrum can give a sufferer relief from the voices for a time, sometimes indefinitely. But they soon wriggle their way into consciousness again, with a ha ha ha, I got you! Some people live almost their entire life wearing the shackles of hallucinations and delusions, knowing it’s not real, but at the same time cowering from the reality of the sensations. If you can’t trust your eyes, ears, nose, or brain, what can you trust?

You should trust us. You should be able to, at least, yet so many people regard schizophrenia as a hilarious subject of conversation. It isn’t.

As I snuggled under the covers that night, I hesitantly stretched to peer into my gaping closet. And I was thankful that I saw no eyes in the dark staring at me.




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ConstanceContraireThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 29, 2012 at 2:52 am:
That was really well written, reading it made you feel a little jittery. 
 
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