This piece has been brewing for a very long time. Twelve years ago, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Depending on how well you know me as a figure involved in Kansas City’s music scene, this may or may not come as a surprise. As a writer with a voice and platform, and as a schizophrenic who’s been on a lot of prescription brain pills since age 20, I will not stay silent on my own mental health experience moving forward. I will incorporate more of it into Demencha content.
There are a lot of misnomers about mental health, most of us know that. “Schizophrenia” might as well be a four-letter word that we just don’t speak aloud when we have company around us, and I’m guilty of it in a lot of situations as well. This is not “OCD”. This is not “ADHD”. This is not “Bi-Polar”. I once read that schizophrenia is the “most misunderstood illness known to man.” My therapist, who I’ve been venting to once per week in office sessions for about 7 years, says that I have a sharp, in-touch grip with my condition, but I don’t have it all figured out. Sometimes I desperately wish to myself, and my close friends, that I can one day be a functioning member of society and not let those basic River Market eye-rollers bother me. I am different. A lot of people have told me this, for better or for worse.
Schizophrenia is a mental condition usually characterized by paranoia, delusions and hallucinations, among a lot of other thought processes deemed “crazy” by most of the population. According to most studies, only about one percent of the world’s population deal with schizophrenia in their own lives. You can’t put a cast on it like you would treat a broken arm. It’s in my mind. It’s a degenerative brain disease. It does not get better with time. Psychotic symptoms which exist in the patient’s mind, bleed into their behavior which is seen, observed and often judged by outsiders.
Most schizophrenia patients know this, including myself, but the condition I deal with every day throws a hurdle in the middle of a path to becoming a productive member of society. It can be infuriating. Two-and-a-half weeks ago, I quit taking Abilify. It’s an anti-psychotic used to treat a variety of mental issues, schizophrenia being one of them. I’d been on Abilify for about 8 years. It was a slow and difficult decision. In substitute, I’ve picked up CBD, which is a legal, natural medicine that grows from earth. IMPORTANT: If you’re on prescription medication, please consult your doctors, read plenty, and think until you’re blue in the face before making any changes to your medicine.
I’ve put down tens of thousands of words about my journey with schizophrenia in my own journal entries which you, as a Demencha reader, have not read yet. Regardless as to whether you’re interested in reading my old and forthcoming writings about my schizophrenia, keeping my mental health experience under wraps was by design. I have a lot to say and write about schizophrenia and mental health in the United States. In due time, you will surely read more about these subjects on Demencha platforms.
Some people you see on a daily basis may act strange or out of character. Perhaps their dog died that morning. Perhaps they are dealing with something more serious. We all make snap judgements, and we all have to hold a bit of selfishness in order to look out for our own star player, our number 1 human – ourselves. Whether you have schizophrenia or not, do what you have to do to cultivate your mind, your thoughts, your soul and lifestyle.