If depression is a dark cloud, then schizophrenia is a black box.
It isn’t just what sufferers of schizophrenia go through during psychosis that makes schizophrenia opaque and impenetrable; it is also that during remission, as psychiatrists try to reassure their patients of a total recovery, reality means impaired functionality that does not match with the idea of supposed recovery. There is still a suffering, stigmata, and the daily survival of negative and enduring symptoms such as paranoia, intrusive thoughts, loss of pleasure in usual activities, and reduced cognitive functioning. Even watching new releases on the wonderful Disney channel, while your prefrontal cortex doesn’t budge, cannot address these symptoms sufficiently.
What, then, is it that we really want? We can, with effort, manage to bathe every third day, take out the composting every tenth, maybe do something more creative other than watching Netflix, such as colour in a traced drawing or bake bread. Isn’t that enough? Why are we so unhappy? Why are we asking for more when we don’t know specifically what that vague “more” is? Why can’t we be satisfied with “enough”?
Some of those who gravitate to the political right and don’t either have a relative with schizophrenia, yet—nor will address with sympathy what is already happening in their community—call us “ungrateful pensioners”. After all, we’re making in a month what former Liberal MLA Rich Coleman says Africans make in a year. The fact is that the right-winged provincial Liberals froze our disability income for 9 years while in power, and while it is true that money can only buy sex and ads instead of love and support, it seems that increases in money is all that has changed for the better for us. Stigma still tinges the way nearly everyone interacts with schizophrenics. Even in being kind and friendly, those who are without schizophrenia in their families are still condescending and want to end interaction as fast as possible. If we do not tell others off the bat that we have schizophrenia, they feel deceived when we do tell them we have schizophrenia. But if we tell them in the very first utterance, they mistake us for violent psychopaths. Basically, social interaction in the west coast of Canada is about rejection or acceptance. They want to know so they can reject you straight off the bat instead of wasting their time in figuring you out. Seriously, don’t waste their time. Many are social-climbers after all. They’ve got things to do and places to go. None of them wants to befriend a loser. (I am speaking on their assumed behalf.)
So what gives? Why make a diatribe about the way we suffer, which, put side-to-side with Third World countries, as Rich Coleman stated in 2013, isn’t even suffering by comparison? Well, Third World countries are still classified as third-world because of the unbearable poverty and deprivation that most of our detractors have acknowledged is terrible. The fact that they wish to compare the standard of living that schizophrenic citizens of his own first-world country have to the standards of the Third World is shocking. I don’t know of any comparison in the First World that is more oppressive than that except for a total dystopia. (Oh, well, we are not as badly off as the precincts in “The Hunger Games”, or as Gilead in the “The Handmaid’s Tale”, duh.) The one thing I noticed is that nobody will give a damn until their own son or daughter becomes like one of us. Is that really what it is going to take? (And when it happens, do you really think we’ll be around to help you or your kids?) And yes, according to the Penticton Herald, Rich Coleman knows very little about suffering these days as he retires with a pension of $109,000 per annum until it accrues to 2.6 million at a fine age of 85. This ex-deputy premier from 2012-17 for the provincial BC Liberals didn’t give a hoot and now couldn’t be bothered by the plight of people like us. So much for the agenda of BC Liberals.
You can corral, cull and kill us all through euthanasia but it won’t stop the march of the disease. As it is abundantly over-stated, “schizophrenia affects 1% of the population” and does not know race, creed, class, character or credentials. It also doesn’t know age. You could possibly be 8 or 80 and still have psychosis lurking around the corner during those 72 years. Even if you were to cull us, new cases will pop up. Just because you got rid of the existing DNA (mind you, most of us schizos are too smart to breed more of us), it won’t stop the disease. It is mis-wiring in the human brain, unknown yet as to how it became that way, and has been around since recorded history. If you believe the Christian Bible even as just a long-standing book that records stories, you’ll see how King David, then a captured youth, saved himself from certain death by acting the madman. The enemy leader asked, “have I not got enough madmen in my kingdom to deal with? Put him out of my presence and don’t waste my time!” [My paraphrase]. Psychosis, and it’s stigma, has been around us for a very long time. It would have had to have been by virtue of King David’s use of this tactic and its efficacy.
I guess you can keep on killing us either by culling or impoverishment. You can use the stop-gap, fix-the-broken-window method indefinitely even as you detect rogue DNA while still in the womb. Or you can kill us slowly through deprivation. You could achieve this by putting us back into Riverview, or do what some have suggested: put us in resort area that will effectively be like an expanded, long-term care unit, until out-of-sight-out-of-mind gives you complacency, or worse, uneasy peace.
You are uneasy not only because of your conscience. You are uneasy because it could happen to your kids, because you did not do due diligence or care enough to look for a preventable vaccine or a cure. Oh now look, what has just happened?
©️Vic Young 2020-2022 All Rights Reserved