Schizophrenia is a mental illness that is often misunderstood, it is often believed by some to be a switch of personality, or to have ‘two-sides’ or alternating personalities. Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder, where an individual may lose touch with reality and may have a distorted view of the word. It’s also little known that schizophrenia, similar to the different types of depression, is divided into different sub-types, known as paranoid, catatonic, disorganised, undifferentiated and residual.
The symptoms of schizophrenia differ between sub-types, yet some common signs for each include: Paranoid – Delusions and hallucinations Catatonic – Excessive motor activity, or a fixed posture of many hours Disorganised – An absence of emotions, social withdrawal, loss of interest in everyday life Undifferentiated – A mixture of symptoms from the above categories Residual – Social withdrawal, flat emotional affect and bizarre thoughts
Symptoms can also be categorised as being ‘Positive’ or ‘Negative’, positive are symptoms which reflect an excess of normal functions, while negative suggest a diminution or loss of normal functions. Positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, thought and speech disturbances and disorganised behaviour, e.g. someone being aggressive very suddenly. Negative symptoms include a loss in energy, and an absence of emotion and social functions.
When you may want to see your GP: If you believe to have schizophrenia and it’s affecting your everyday life you may want to consider talking to your GP. They can provide support through medication and therapy services.
Coping techniques: Support Groups: Reaching out and joining a support group can help you to become less socially withdrawn and can show that you’re not alone. Also, speaking to a medical professional about starting treatment can reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia to make it easier to manage.
Self-CBT: This is the same technique that I use for my depression, which involves changing negative thoughts into more positive thoughts. This can help with the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, to help combat any negative or disorganised thoughts. For example, instead of thinking 'I am a failure', you could look back on your achievements and see otherwise. Even small achievements are important, such as getting out of bed or brushing your teeth. Or, maybe you want to consider any qualifications you have, or some voluntary work you have done, or any time in your life where you have supported or helped another in some way. It takes time and practice, yet if you start to question and evaluate every negative and unwanted thought that occurs, it may be possible to train your brain to see the positive side of your situation.
The ‘Stepping-Stone’ technique: This is something that I often use and like to think of when I’m feeling particularly down, and so may help to motivate to begin the day. I like to think of overcoming mental illnesses as stepping stones, with ‘Step 1’ meaning my challenge for today is to only do what I must (e.g. eat), and ‘Step 2’ to do another task (e.g. shower, little housework), etc. and I set myself goals to keep me going throughout the day. However, it’s always important to know that if on a particular day, I only achieve ‘Step 1’, then I know that that is okay because I simply didn’t feel up to doing anymore. Also, to motivate myself using this technique, I like to remind myself of the following: ‘Today, you're on step one, and one day you may make it all the way to the end of the stones. Some days you may fall off and have to go back a few, but that's okay: one day, you will reach your goal.’
I hope that this helped you to understand schizophrenia a little more, and maybe helped someone experiencing this to consider some new coping techniques to try. Feel free to get in touch with your thoughts and opinions, or anything you’d like to add. I’m always open to people contributing to my blog through their own experiences, if that’s something you’re interested in then let me know.
Take care, Sophie x
As always, please bear in mind that I am not a mental health professional or any other type of professional, this is a hobby for me and is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be seen as any kind of advice. I am not liable for any consequences as a result of this information and if readers rely on any of the information on my blog, it is at their own risk. I cannot confirm that all information is correct, accurate or reliable. The information is true to the best of my knowledge, yet there may be omissions, errors or mistakes. This information isn’t intended as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have, or believe to have, a mental illness, please contact a mental health professional.
Note: This picture belongs to Wix.