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What does living with Schizophrenia mean? A Layman’s perspective.

What does living with Schizophrenia mean? A Layman’s perspective.



Article written by Preeti.V

In 1993, Sunday, the premier show of a Bollywood movie “Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aayi” to be featured on television and I, have my Social Studies exams on Monday. I knew I will pass in exams, so though I had a book in my hand, chose not to study and managed to watch the movie. The movie showcased a heroine living with a wild imagination of some ugly, scary guy with a big belly trying to stab her with a dagger. After watching this movie, honestly, I felt the director just made up some story and there was no such mental disorder.

I have come across people laughing, talking, crying, howling at nobody but thought they were mentally retarded. There was always a curiosity to know what they imagine or what they think of while they do such an act. Television, theatre, movie, entertainment has always been my interest, which made me a little aware of the big, long word Schizophrenia. SCHIZO…. PHRENIA, I guess I still don’t get the pronunciation right. If I have to explain the meaning of this word, then it means- “The individual who believes his imagination or fantasy to be having a real existence.” These imaginations could be on any extremes, could be good or bad, wild or adorably lovable, friendly or unfriendly.

A person experiencing schizophrenia feels or rather I should say believes the existence of another individual, but in reality there is no such existence. Quite scary, isn’t it? The first question that strikes my mind is how one would know that the person is schizophrenic or if at all, am I schizophrenic. I guess few symptoms could be known by understanding his/her behaviour, mood swings or their conversations, but I am still not sure whether I am right or wrong.

There are different levels of schizophrenia. One movie, most of us would have watched – “Lage Raho Munna bhai.” It’s the excessive reading and pressure that puts Prof. Munna on imagining the existence of Mohandas Karamchad Gandhi around him.  Another movie, watched by most of us is “A Beautiful Mind” showcasing an extreme case of paranoid schizophrenia, where Prof. John Nash spends most of his life in imagination and later comes to an understanding where he is unable to distinguish between the real and unreal. Pardon my references of movies, but this was the only source of information which I could relate to.

Schizophrenia, as complicated as the word looks, more complicated is the mental disorder, but simpler is the cure which can be diagnosed by the right doctor, medication, therapy and loads of support, love care and belief, not only within oneself but also in the treating doctor, supporting family and friends.