Monday, July 04, 2011

A state of mind

For those of you who actually read my blog (bless your hearts), you've no doubt come to accept me as an eccentric individual at the best of times. Unfortunately recent events have ascribed a disturbing aesculapian dimension to it.

I've had what most would not be loathe to describe as a nightmare month: I've lost my father; the very next day I was involved in a car accident; a week later a childhood friend died under violent circumstances; and a little over a week before the writing of this post one of my best friends took her own life. All of these calamities coupled with the typical difficulties associated with a high-stress line of work have most recently led me down a dark path.

I have experienced symptoms associated with psychtotic mental disorders: visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions, extreme paranoia, etc. The nature of these symptoms has varied from benign (voices commenting dully on my actions) to malignant (refusal to eat due to a delusional fear of being poisoned). I was passed from doctor to doctor and eventually made my way to a psychiatrist who, upon reviewing my medical and psychological history, diagnosed me with schizophrenia.

According to the physician in question, the condition has most likely been with me for a long time - possibly years - but due to its mildness has remained largely asymptomatic (or, at least, with symptoms mild enough that they cause little distress and are easily managed without ever triggering the urge to seek professional help).

Seeing as the condition has been wildly exacerbated by my recent prolonged period of intense stress, the headshrinker has opted temporarily to put me on a course of strong tranquilizers (benzodiazepine) in order to determine whether a relief in stress may bring about a relief in the psychotic symptoms. Unfortunately symptoms have persisted since entering into this course of treatment, so I will almost certainly end up on a chronic course of antipsychotics and intensive psychotherapy.

The status quo has obviously compelled me to do some reading which has alleviated some of the myths surrounding the illness, which - in turn - has made me a great deal less fearful and anxious about the entire situation.

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