While there is no overseeing agency with a rulebook for us to follow, I thought it’d be fun to shoot from the hip and come up with the seven schizophrenia commandments. I’m not sure where this is going, but I believe that spontaneity and improvisation will allow the right ideas to come forth. So without further delay…
1. Keep Your Delusions to Yourself!
Most people dealing with schizophrenia are not dangerous to themselves or others, but the fear is out there in the general public. People are scared of what they don’t understand, understandably! That means we don’t need to give them insight into our private worlds, which they won’t be able to comprehend. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t seek help from medical professionals, family, or friends. But unless they are psychiatrists or psychologists, I wouldn’t tell them the specifics of your delusions. I’d let them know that you were experiencing thoughts and ideas that may not be real, but that’s really all they need to know. People may have knee-jerk reactions and you could find yourself unnecessarily confined to a mental ward or treatment center.
2. Never Harm Yourself or Others!
It should go without saying that we should love ourselves and others, which means we should never cause bodily harm to either. If you’ll keep this commandment in mind, it will help you traverse any hallucination, delusion, or depression. Just never ever hurt yourself! And regardless of how paranoid you become, or how fearful you become for your own safety, it can almost be guaranteed that someone isn’t trying to hurt you. This means there’s no need to defend yourself proactively. Violence is never the answer!
3. Stay Away from Intoxicants, Psychedelics, and Stimulants!
One of the worst things we can do for ourselves is feed our bodies and brains nonsense. We should not use intoxicants. These lower our inhibitions beyond a point where our sensibilities would normally allow. In our special schizophrenic predicament, this is bad news and should be avoided at all cost. Even more importantly, never use psychedelics. These will replicate and possibly worsen your own schizophrenia symptoms. Stimulants such as caffeine and sugar can push anxiety over the edge and have an effect of increasing the probability of hallucinations. Any substance that works on your central nervous system or perceptions that aren’t prescribed by your doctor should be avoided if you want to stabilize and reduce symptomatic expression.
4. Keep a Predictable Schedule!
One of the best ways to reduce anxiety and minimize surprises and unforeseen events that can shake up our symptoms is to keep a very regular schedule. This means waking up and going to sleep at a normal time. This guarantees a solid rest period that occurs at the same time every day. Your brain will thank you for this. Eating meals at normal times of healthy portions will again promise your body its needed nutrients. Exercising, therapy, cognitive-behavioral training, and free-time can be guaranteed every day if you follow a predictable and regular schedule.
5. Never Stop Your Treatment Plan!
Your doctors, counselors, and therapists have studied tons of research on schizophrenia and its treatment. Despite any delusions or paranoia, we all know that nobody goes through all of that schooling and work to mess with people. They all want to help people and earn a nice paycheck. What I’m saying is, you can trust them. They know what they are talking about. So if they put you on a treatment plan and tell you to take specific medications and go to a support group weekly, you should do it. Whatever they set out for you, do it and don’t stop. Relapses do occur but consistent treatment can pretty much make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
6. Find Meaning In Your Illness!
It doesn’t matter how, but you should find meaning in the fact that you are living with schizophrenia. Use your creativity in artwork for the pleasure of others. Dig into spirituality and see if you can grow in that fashion through all of your psychological insights. Teach the public, speak at schools, and do volunteer work. Let your sickness make you more compassionate for others with different problems. Submit yourself to medical research experiments so that those who come after you may have a cure. There are so many reasons that we may have been chosen for this illness, if you believe in that kind of thing. Maybe you chose to have it before being born so that your brother or sister didn’t have to deal with it. Who knows! Find and create your own meaning. It will help life be more fulfilling for you.
7. Have Fun Despite Schizophrenia!
Find meaning and a reason for your suffering, but don’t suffer all of the time! We all can take time off from any aspect of our lives in order to relax and have fun. So watch a good movie, have a good laugh, play an amazing role-playing video game. Read some great science-fiction and fantasy books (or whatever type you like, but my suggestions are good!). Go for a walk in the Autumn air and see the beautiful leaves. Breathe in the crisp breeze as you watch the animals explore the world. Believe in the good, be the good, love life and existence, and smile!
These are the seven schizophrenia commandments that I was able to come up with just now. Can you think of more that should be included? Let us know in the comments and we can expand the list! Thanks for reading Schiz Life!