Being diagnosed with Schizophrenia seemed like it could ruin my life. Instead, it was woven into the tapestry of my life.
Mental illness engenders a wide swath of human experiences and Schizophrenia is just one small, obscure, poorly understood part of that greater cloud. Having personal experience in this area makes me want to share what I've gone through for the benefit of improving others' understanding of the disorder and it would also make me feel better if others were able to relate to me more personally. While I do sometimes feel isolated in my way of life and thinking, I feel there have been many good things that came from overcoming this adversity* such as becoming more grounded/centered and no longer suffering from depression.
*my life now has developed to the point where it's virtually the same as if nothing had gone wrong in my brain.
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I find that most people don't know how to empathize with Schizophrenics even if they want to because they don't know what is going on in the person's head. For instance, the expression "hearing voices", at least in my case, is only partly accurate because the voices are internal and not audible. Not only is there a lack of understanding about the disorder in the scientific community, there is misinformation and confusion as well. In reality, I think the overwhelming majority of people experience some, perhaps very minor, adaptation(s) of the disorder without identifying it as unhealthy or unusual. By reading my story and considering the things I talk about like cognition, psychology, conventionalism, interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, religion, pseudoscience, (meta)physics, drugs, and eventually a little politics I feel that the patient observer will understand more of how both a Schizophrenic's, and their own, brain works.
I'm 26 and I finished the current draft of the book last year. I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at the age of 18 after a period of heavy Marijuana/alcohol/cigarette use at 16-17. After receiving the initial diagnosis and changing my behavior, I ceased antipsychotic medication and treatment (a few months after the diagnosis) feeling that I had a better chance at recovery and life on my own and with the support of my family. It turns out I was right (arguably) as I adjusted into independence at the age of 19, have held jobs with increasing levels of responsibility, obtained a bachelor's degree in business administration, and am now the father of my beautiful soon to be three year old daughter. I don't claim to be a scientist or psychologist or anything like that, but I do the best with the information I have as I understand it. Also, I make use of topical data (with references) as it relates to my experiences whenever appropriate.
I aimed to make the book at least entertaining and interesting if not perfectly educational. It is completed at around 230 pages but needs to have a final edit and to be converted to e-book/printable formats. I am going to use a pen name (though you can get my real identity at certain funding levels) but I am real, and the book is real. If you are unsure if this is legitimate, send me a message and I can send you a few sections of my unedited book to prove myself. This is a daunting experience facing the world like this but those who do not try cannot hope to succeed. Thanks again for checking out my Kickstarter!
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