Schizophrenia Stories, Experience

I experienced my internal self to be in a centrifuge of fear and anger that sucked me into chaotic daydreams, compressing densely any sense I had, and encouraging me to race farther into my delusions, constituted by this dream, this vision.  And I allowed myself to hold credible the idea that I was already dead.  I could smell the scent of death around me, such that I believed earnestly that if I waited there alone, in a body devoid of a soul, if I waited long enough, perhaps I would live.

And then, as my mood and mind cartwheeled between outrage and terror, I behaved as though I was insane.  But the credibility of my entire predicament was acknowledged by me as a given, and I entertained thoughts of such extreme paranoia, persecution and conspiracy that I believed, more or less, the worst that can be imagined.  And I imagined the worse.  Imagine that.

Delusions are the result of the interpretations of psychosis. Art by Ann Olson

Delusions are the result of the interpretations of psychosis. Art by Ann Olson

At some point, night coalesced with morning.  I began to shake uncontrollably.  As I had a medication that treats the manifestation of seizures, I took some of these pills.  Then, again concerned that I might not have taken enough of this medication, I took the rest of those pills, draining the bottle of its contents.

Finally, at the brink of morning, I called the police, the paramedics—the authorities— to come and get me.  I went to the front steps of my apartment building to wait for them.  A policeman wandered up to me, there within a fissure of daylight, and he asked me if it was me who had made the call that constituted a half-hearted desire on my part to check me into the psychiatric ward.  And as I spoke to the police man, a paramedic vehicle rolled up to the curb.

The paramedics loaded me in, as I sat there, Indian-style, holding in my mind what seemed to me to be a credible the idea that I might actually be dead.  A paramedic squeezed my hand in the painful grasp of his own, and, as he attempted draw blood from the veins in my forearm, he ordered me not to observe his efforts to draw blood.  Yet I sat there, staring, as he tried several times to extract blood and failed. I was certain at that point that I was actually dead.  It utterly captured my mind in an awe-struck silence.  It blew me away.

So we in the paramedic vehicle drove toward an Emergency Psychiatric Unit, and I closed my eyes, nevertheless awed by the intensity of this moment—-this moment that I understood to be the visceral existence of my body, absent of a soul.  I literally believed myself to a dead person walking–or a dead person sitting Indian-style—essentially something like a zombie—whatever that is.  And I believed that the paramedics were cognizant of the fact that I was dead, that this represented to them an anomaly in their work day of this early morning.  I expected that when we arrived to the hospital, I would be studied.  And I wondered what would happen to me.

But nothing of an anomalous response from the paramedics or hospital staff was entailed by the situation. I had asked to go to an upper class hospital located in north Fresno— an elite facility for the wealthy mentally ill.  I was furious that they took me to a hospital where I had spent three days several weeks previously—a place where I had experienced an erstwhile psychological hell. They put me in a private room, as I stood behind the door, yelling at them about things I considered to be pertinent to the situation.  I can remember little of it.  Due to my apparent agitation upon arriving to there, they gave me a shot just below my spine to quell my agitation, and I shortly fell asleep.

Schizophrenia Stories, Experience  by Dr. Ann Olson, author of Illuminating Shizophrenia: Insights Into the Uncommon Mind

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