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Complete Psychological Topics 2: Chapters 1-2 - Part 1


by Ben Huot

July 10, 2018

in more formats

Table of Contents

First Things

For More Information

For more books and information, visit me on the web at www.benjamin-newton.com Feel free to send me e-mail regarding the books and website at mailto:ben@benjamin-newton.com I even enjoy constructive criticism

From 15 Years Collection

Schizophrenia in General

The Truth About Schizophrenia

Major Symptoms

I a mentally ill and have Paranoid Schizophrenia. I hear voices and have paranoia. Schizophrenia has multiple types, but all people with Schizophrenia are most disabled by being stressed out in social situations, which makes it a very lonely disease.

Having Schizophrenia makes every stimulus more intense and primarily affects the part of the brain, that understands abstract thought. Having Schizophrenia means that you have adrenaline surging through your veins constantly, which has very different effects and feels very different, from adrenaline released, over a short period of time.

People with Schizophrenia have trouble distinguishing between fantasy and realty and are usually very literal. People with Schizophrenia are often highly religious and have trouble with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders. One of the major symptoms of having Schizophrenia is depression, both because you see what you cannot do now that was so easy to do in the past and you will never recover and also just because of the illness. People with Schizophrenia are no more violent than non-mentally ill people and do not have multiple personality disorder.

Paranoia is a type of delusions that is specific to someone or spirit coming after you. Paranoia is like being afraid of something that is totally irrational and knowing that but still fearing it. It is like trying to go to bed after watching a horror movie.

It also keeps on going for months and often comes back in a slightly different form. Meditation would help greatly, but I do not have enough energy to do that, although I do know how. Counseling for this aspect of the illness is not considered effective and although many aspects of Schizophrenia are often religious, they are not spiritual in nature.

Most people with Schizophrenia have trouble reading and can't hold down even a part time job. You cannot access your money directly if you have Schizophrenia, because most people with Schizophrenia will give large sums of money away.

Cause and Treatment

Schizophrenia is genetic, but is brought out by a traumatic experience, which the most common being military service. Men usually get Schizophrenia in their late 20s and women in their late 30s. You cannot be fully diagnosed as having Schizophrenia, until you have symptoms, for at least one year and there is generally a psychotic episode, that proceeds diagnosis.

The primary treatment is almost entirely medication based and although the brain is severely damaged, for those with this illness, it does not affect intelligence levels. The medication has greatly improved over time, but it still works basically by sedating your entire body (the medicine is very closely related to anesthesia). Schizophrenia is the most disabling mental illness and it never goes away. It is much easier to treat bipolar disorder or clinical depression, because they are mood disorders, whereas Schizophrenia is a thought disorder.

Most people go decades, without being diagnosed and have to be forcibly committed, because they have committed some petty non-violent crime. Most people with Schizophrenia are in various levels of assisted living and continue to relapse into paranoid episodes and keep increasing their brain damage, over the course of their lifetime.

Some of the major side effects of the medicine include being constantly very tired, always very hungry, having large weight gain, and being almost guaranteed to have diabetes and high blood pressure. Many people have trouble finding relief with the newer drugs, which have much lower side effects, and have often self medicated, by taking illegal drugs, before they were diagnosed.

The most common cause for relapse is not taking your medicine, which is very hard for someone with Schizophrenia to do. Besides taking medicine, the treatment involves a low stress life. If you take your medicine, but are under too much stress, you can go into another paranoid episode.

Life with Schizophrenia

Non-disabled veterans (or anyone who served in the military that does not have an honorable discharge) make very little money, live in low income housing, and often become victims of crimes, like scams or cults. They also rely on government services, for almost any service, like medical care. These are some of the things that get cut first, in budget cuts, because it is hard for someone with Schizophrenia to advocate for themselves and many of the mental ill family members have given up on them. The only reason why people with Schizophrenia are not still locked up against their will is because of modern medications and because they found that not hospitalizing the mentally ill saved money.

The hardest part of getting services, if you have Schizophrenia, is filling out long forms and paperwork, waiting months or years for answers, and often being rejected, after all the work. You have to make sure they don't just throw away your forms and you usually need a lawyer, because they automatically reject you the first time. After that, there is often not enough services for the people, so you go onto a months or years long waiting list. If you are committed and do not have private insurance, they actually house you in the county jail, even if you have committed no crimes, until you are considered no longer a harm to yourself or others.

The Veteran's Administration

The veterans are much better, but most won't qualify, because there are not just 2 discharges anymore. There is at least honorable, general, other than honorable, dishonorable, and medical discharges. When you leave the military, before your 4 year entitlement is up, no matter what reason, you have a very low chance of getting an honorable discharge. Under "don't ask don't tell" policies, if you left because you were gay, you would not get an honorable discharge. Anybody who gives any services to veterans requires an honorable discharge, for any assistance at all. People in the military, for less then 6 months (in that time they could have easily already finished all their basic and advanced training), there are no records of them, so they cannot possibly get honorable discharges, no matter what their situation.

The VA does pay for my medicines and I can get into the VA mental health nurse practitioners (we don't see doctors, because they are too expensive), as my disability is of that nature, within a month. I have to wait for 3 weeks, if I have a flu or sinus infection and so I have to go a to a private hospital, in town, which they refuse to pay, although they are legally required to, to save money. 95% of the people at the veterans clinic are older than my parents, which means they are giving out services others need, to people who are not disabled, but just served in the military a long time ago and want cheap access to health care. They are supposed to pay for my dental and eye checks as well, but I haven't been able to set that up. I pay for a private dentist as well.

The Veterans mental health nurse practitioners (who change every 2-3 years and know nothing about me or my case, when I first see them) want to change the medicine every time I go in and assume because I talk fast, I should be on Lithium. I tried Lithium, which gave me no help and introduced serious tremors, which left as soon as I stopped taking the Lithium. They write some notes in a computer program (unless it is down) and ask me years later ask about the previous nurse's notes.

They only have 30 minutes, for each patient, and if you have an emergency, you have to go down to the hospital, an hour away by car, in a tiny city, where very few veterans live (I live in the biggest city for the entire region). I have a PRN that I use 5 pills of a year, at the most, and the only way to get current ones (so they are not expired, when I need them) I have to get 30 pills every month. You cannot give anyone any of this, no matter what the situation and there is no way to recycle them. If I took this medicine that often I: would never be awake and I would be very addicted to it.

I was told to get a C-PAP, which I had to go down, to that far away hospital, that I got transportation from volunteers (from a veteran's charity, not the government VA). I had to stay over night, with a cheap instrument to measure my sleep, which I had to put on myself and no one observed me. I had to sleep in an open room, like I did in the military basic training and when I left early that morning I was locked out of the building I was sleeping in and almost could not exit the court yard. I can breathe easily through the face mask, because it reminds me of the gas masks in the military, but now they refuse to change the pressure in the mask, so that I can breathe in it, for more than an hour, after I fall asleep. This hospital is huge, with many buildings, and stuffed with elderly veterans, but only a few doctors.

My Situation is Ideal

My situation is very unique and has turned out as ideal as is possible with this mental illness. I never committed and crime or took illegal drugs, I have an honorable discharge from the military, so I get veterans benefits, I accepted I needed help from the very beginning, I have always stayed on my medication, I have great family support and I also have support by being a born-again Christian. I can read at length, although it is still hard to concentrate, I live almost completely independently, I have enough constructive things to do to take up my time, and I feel like I am making a difference in at least a few lives via my website. I was first diagnosed with Schizophrenia back in December of 1999 and have not have any relapses since then.

What its like to have Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a wide ranging disorder like cancer and there are many different kinds. Schizophrenia is the most serious and debilitating mental illness by far. It affects about 1% of the population - the same in every place and culture. It is a thought disorder, not a mood disorder.

Having Schizophrenia means you constantly have adrenaline running through you and all your senses are amplified, so that everything feel more intense, literally and physically, not just emotionally. It does not affect intelligence, one way or the other and Schizophrenia is very different from Multiple Personality Disorder. Schizophrenia is not a special gift nor does it make you more spiritual: it is just a disability.

Schizophrenia is caused, by a combination of a genetic tendency towards the illness, plus a stressful event, that brings out the illness. The most common stressful event is military service. This stressful event generally happens during the 20s for men and the 30s for women. It is common, to go years, without first diagnosis and people with Schizophrenia usually end up, in a psychiatric hospital, every few years. After each paranoid episode, there is more and more brain damage and the person recovers less and less, each time.

All people, with Schizophrenia, have delusions, but only one type has the paranoia and the auditory hallucinations/hearing voices (it is very rare to have visual hallucinations). Paranoia is a specific category of delusion, that includes believing people are "coming after you". I have Paranoid Schizophrenia, which is both the most serious and debilitating kind of Schizophrenia and the most treatable and responsive to medication. About 1/3 of people with Schizophrenia stare at the wall all day, 1/3 live in assisted living like a group home, and 1/3 are mostly living on their own.

I am one of the highest functioning people with Schizophrenia. I am also unusual in every other way especially that my mind works very fast/I talk fast, I have studied many years, and seem to know more about Schizophrenia than most the doctors, so that the doctors often think I am manic. It is common to get misdiagnosed, because of the lack of training about mental illness, in the service providers, their low pay, and how little time the have. Most doctors only have 20 minutes, for each appointment and many people only can see a mental health nurse practitioner, who is not qualified to diagnose.

Schizophrenia's main and most effective treatment is medication. Counseling can be a useful secondary treatment, but a person with Schizophrenia can not overcome their paranoia, through learning to think rationally. The medication is a derivative of anesthesia and it basically numbs your body. It is only supposed to affect your mind, but, like all the psychiatric medicines, it affects the whole body. Most people with Schizophrenia gain about 80 lb., within a few months, after getting on the medication, because the medicine numbs the nerves, in the stomach, so you never feel full, no matter how much you eat.

It takes a psychiatrist to diagnose and prescribe medicine for mental illness, because a psychiatrist is a medical doctor, as well as having a Ph.D., in psychology. Most psychiatrists are not trained in mental illnesses though - it is a speciality. A psychologist has between a one year certificate and a Ph.D. in psychology, but has no medical a degree and cannot diagnose mental illness, nor can they prescribe medicine.

The newer medicines have less and less serious side effects, but they do not always work on everyone. Most people with Schizophrenia keep going off their medicine, because they think they no longer need it, because it works so well. When you are feeling well, keep taking all the medicines you are on. You are happy, because you are on the right medicines. If you stop taking them, you will revert back, to a worse stater, and likely will never get as balanced, as you once were.

The major issues, that a person faces, who has Schizophrenia deals with, on a daily basis, include isolation, lack of energy, and poverty. The most difficult issues to deal with include depression and isolation. Paranoia is not as bad as depression, unless it is really flared up. Any tiny bit of depression is many times more painful and harder to deal with (especially physically, in the head and the intestines), than a much more severe amount of paranoia. Paranoia is like terror and is almost impossible to break, until it "leaves on its own".

Isolation is caused, by a lack of trust, in relationships, and a very severe sense of anxiety, about being around other people. There are some surprising similarities between Schizophrenia and anxiety disorders, except that Schizophrenia is many times more severe. You often hear about people doing evil things and that theses people are diagnosed with Schizophrenia, but actually people with Schizophrenia withdraw from society and are usually the victims of crimes. People with Schizophrenia are no more likely to be violent, than anyone else.

Part of the treatment for Schizophrenia is keeping your life low stress, as stress will work agains the medicine, so most people with Schizophrenia don't work. Most people with Schizophrenia cannot work and live off state disability pensions, which are only barely enough, when in combination with low income housing and getting complete assistance, for everything else, like food and medicine. Most people, with Schizophrenia, are single, but live in various levels of assisted living.

The area of the brain, that is most damaged, by Schizophrenia, is the part of the brain, that deals with abstract ideas and social conventions. I had to relearn how to interact with other people, over many years. People with Schizophrenia are very often extremely literal. Paranoia causes some of the most serious problems, that adversely affect relating to other people, for someone with (Paranoid) Schizophrenia.

Hearing voices can be wide ranging, from having an impression of someone or thing communicating to you, to an audible voice, that sounds like a real voice. Sometimes the voices are good and sometimes they are bad. Some people have voices tell them to do things. The voices tend to be mostly religious in nature. People with Schizophrenia can be very religious, in nature, with an emphasis, on rituals, serving as the basis of their obsessive compulsive disorders.

People with mental illnesses are born that way and the People with Disabilities Act applies to them, but there is very little funding for and little awareness of mental illness. The only reason why they no longer "lock up" people with major mental illnesses is because it saves the government money. People with mental illnesses need the same level of support, that people with developmental disabilities need, but just for different things.

People with mental illnesses rely heavily on state funded programs and are dependent on unmotivated and prejudiced staff (because they are underpaid). When you vote for a cut in taxes, these people are some of the very first to feel the cut. Most of their families have rejected them and they have a hard time making friends or even just communicating, so they have no other means of help. They can easily end up being homeless and it then gets much harder to stay on their medicine.

People with Schizophrenia can be and usually are very rational, in most areas of their lives. There are generally only one or two major delusions, in the person's life at one time. When you hear about people with Schizophrenia going through all these complex preparations and plans, to act out their delusions, they must be rational, in most areas.

I am fairly rational, considering my mental illness (largely because of my long study of philosophy and a desire to counter my tendency for paranoia), but I can see and experience both the delusion and the reality at the same time. Schizophrenia is a split between reality and fantasy and the medicine helps you better distinguish between the two.

Schizophrenia Symptoms and Issues

It is Hard poem

The Poem

It is hard to fall asleep

When your head is full of fear

It is hard to stay up all day

When you are always exhausted

It is hard to exercise

When you have so little energy

It is hard to eat healthy

When you are always hungry

It is hard to have a todo list

When it stresses you out

It is hard to get inspired

When you cannot open your eyes

It is hard to create

When your hands won't stop shaking

It is hard to design websites

When all the code looks the same

It is hard to stop washing your hands

When you cannot remember if you already have

It is hard to have relationships

When you trust no one

It is hard to carry a conversation

When you cannot concentrate

It is hard to listen to advice

When you think others are trying to control you

It is hard to go out with others

When you get tired very fast

It is hard to be part of a group

When you cannot consistently go to meetings

It is hard to get around

When you cannot focus enough to drive

It is hard to be positive

When you are filled with delusions

It is hard to be happy

When you know your illness will never end

An Explanation

My latest poem was meant to be very simple way of explaining some of what it is like to have Schizophrenia. I was inspired by a movie I just saw the same day and was thinking about writing something and I thought about writing about Zen and spiritual things. But, along the way, and in order to offer something more useful, I started to think about doing a poem about mental illness. (I always try to prioritize writing on this topic, as it is more practical and can have a more immediate help, than some of my more theoretical writings. Although, it is much harder to write about myself than about history or religion.)

Yes, I have not exaggerated and yes I am on my medicine and have been for many many years. The thing with medicine is that it never takes away all the symptoms. I deal with a number of these symptoms every day, although I was able to get my hands to stop shaking recently, by changing the medicine I take. Many people fear and understand crisis, but (as I heard quoted one from someone famous, maybe Anton Chekov) is that anyone can survive a crisis, but it is the day to day living that wears you out.

The thing that bothers me most about Schizophrenia is that many people around me, that I deal with, on a day to day basis, think I have an easy life and they are jealous. I want people to know that I work very hard everyday doing very difficult work that is very useful, to a small group of people throughout the world, all of which I will likely ever meet. If I did not do it, no one else would and I can not afford to pay for someone to do it for me. I would love to work a regular job more than almost anything else, but I am just not able to deal with some of the aspects of work, that seem so simple to others.

I have still not yet understood why people have to suffer, many much greater than myself. I was lucky that I never had to serve in combat nor have I suffered from severe burns. I was never captured nor did I even had to go through torture training. Good Christian soldiers, throughout history, have suffered greatly, captured and tortured for years on end and they cried out to God and He did not save them.

All I can say is that to understand the reasons God works the way He does, is to be aware, first of all, that the spiritual world works entirely different, than the physical one. You should be much more afraid of other people than of spiritual things, especially if you are Christian and don't mess around with things you know you shouldn't. The reason for suffering is a mystery and I do not know any explanation, that will seem sufficient for anyone, who has truly suffered.

We need to approach God with faith, because we can never understand God, on His level and we likely will never see why things were allowed to happen the way they were. I try to be very careful, with how I live my life, so as to avoid unnecessary suffering. If you want to prevent suffering in the world, do not suffer unnecessarily, yourself. There are ways to make a big difference in the world, but not risk your health and safety.

The only thing I can imagine, that God would do, that would make it somewhat acceptable, for the suffering, that has occurred would be for God to undo all suffering, so that it never happened, after we go to Heaven and Jesus Christ comes back in the flesh.

Amplification in Experiencing Schizophrenia

One of the most frustrating and disabling parts of having Schizophrenia is that everything I experience is intensified. This is not the same as intensified feelings, like in Bipolar Disorder. Everything I sense in the form of hearing, seeing, touching, and smelling is 10 times as strong. I is much harder for me to deal with things that are repetitious or things that are annoying.

When the cleaning service moves things around, so I can't find them, it drives me nuts. To me, this is more than just a mistake or carelessness. It comes across to me as a lack of respect and that I am being scammed. I feel that they are deliberately trying to make my life miserable. Doing things wrong once feels like they are doing it wrong 10 times.

I don't have the patience I once used to have. I have trouble waiting or dealing with people being rude and thoughtless, in my daily interactions, in places like stores. The worst part, is that people really go out of their way to help others, that are physically disabled or developmentally disabled, but I don't get any help. People are jealous that I don't have to work a job. They think nothing is wrong with me and do not realize that working a dead end job, instead of having Schizophrenia, is a much better and happier life.

Part of this is just my personality; I am a highly sensitive person. To me and people like me, the emotional world is much more real than the physical one. Like people who suffer from depression, that is based on chemical imbalance in the brain, I get depressed, even when my circumstances are good and I am sometimes happy, when something really bad happens. Really small problems will really bother me and real big ones I can often times easily accept.

When people see someone acting what they think is irrational, from their perception of what they see of you, they think acting irrational is being lazy and undisciplined and that people can overcome this easily. With Schizophrenia, the rational part of my brain is destroyed or seriously damaged. The reason why people with Schizophrenia have a hard time being in groups, doing daily routines to keep themselves and their houses clean, and are often lonely and targets of scams and violence is because they no longer have the ability to deal with society, as they no longer have the ability to engage in abstract thought.

People are often afraid of people with Schizophrenia, but like small insects, they are more afraid of you, than you are of them. The hardest part of Schizophrenia is verbalizing your pain. Most people with Schizophrenia cannot even read, due to the destruction to their brain. Without the rational social part o the brain functioning correctly, a person falls back on the fight or flight response. There are no filters to understanding the reasons why people act a certain way. The only thing you perceive is an intensified sensory feeling.

Making decisions is one of the most stressful and draining activity for someone with Schizophrenia. When I got to the store, everything has so many ridiculous and confusing options. Many ways of packaging, placing of things, and descriptions are intentionally misleading. Many times the quality of the food is highly variable, even for the same brand and product. Some of my tastes are for less intense foods and my medicine causes foods to taste very differently. Whether I can eat many foods heavily depends on exactly how they are made and what exact ingredients they use. There are some types of barbecue sauce I love and others make me want to vomit.

I also have strong mentions associated with certain foods; if I was really depressed last time I ate a certain food, it will then trigger depression, if I eat it again. I also find the smell of foods much more intense and so I often times avoid food I otherwise would like due to the strong smells, like the prepared food in grocery stores or in restaurants, especially when smells conflict.

I have constantly struggled so much with rudeness, incompetence and laziness by people running buses, stores and other services I use daily that if I find one that works reasonably well, I keep returning to that one place. I now often expect everything to be broken and people constantly arguing about things, so that they can be lazier, so that I have given up trying to reason with people. It seems that most people I run into are very angry and lazy. It really seems to be that the only thing people are afraid of is doing their jobs properly and that people today are experts in arguing.

Computers are some of the most stressful things I can deal with. The most frustrating thing for me in computers is when something doesn't work like it is described. I hate troubleshooting. I enjoy computers, when I can just deal with they way they are supposed to work, but when they fail, it drives me nuts. It seems that most programs are very specific, in how they are tested, so if you do not use them the exact way they predicted you would that they have all sort of errors and incompatibilities.

I have given up even trying to report bugs, as programmers seem to be so full of themselves, that they cannot accept the fact that their programs have errors in them. I run into so many problems that I now am trying to use as few pieces of software as possible, so that there are fewer things that can go wrong. The really frustrating thing about software is that it works 95% of the time. This is just often enough, to expect that it will always work, but problematic enough to drive a person crazy. This may sound unreasonable, but a website down 5% of the time would be down weeks of the year and English that is only 95% accurate is unreadable.

The Illness that Never Ends poem

Many years have passed

Since my visit to the hospital

I have not come back again

And each day gets better

But some things never get better

And I fight these issues daily

The terror is always there

Under the surface

And I struggle to keep taking my medicine

But I have kept up with each dose

I work hard to keep my work load low

But also keep myself busy

And feeling progress in my work

The hardest things are the depression

As anyone who has had a chronic condition

Can confirm in their own experience

It is easy to understand when someone loses a leg

How their life will change

But when you lose your mind

You battle most your issues alone

And even though it would seem easy

For you to reach out for help

It is not so easy for me

I don't know if it is the illness or not

But I have a huge amount of energy

Deep within my heart

That is one of the things

That has kept me pushing forward

The medicine basically makes you tired all the time

You sleep longer than ever before

The hardest part of being part of a group

When you have Schizophrenia

Is that you feel so tired

That you don't have the energy to get out

I am always afraid I will fall asleep

Out in the mall, movie theater, or bus

I have had to fight to stay awake

And I have had suffered physical pain

If I went out after taking my medicine

After the wrong amount of time

Depression, terror, and loneliness

Hurt me physically as well

My intestines and my head hurt

There is only so much medicine you can take

I had to cut back recently

As I could not write, hold a glass with one hand, or keep my eyelid from twitching

The hardest part was that I kept poking myself in the eye

Many times I have associated physical pain

In response to paranoid thoughts

Sometimes I feel happy

And my organs feel like they have been massaged

That happens more and more

As time goes on

I see the time of my youth

As being a kind of renaissance time for myself

I thought I would be a world leader

Although I have greatly helped a few people now

Things are just harder now

That weren't a problem when I was young

Meeting people works great

And people often are impressed at my accomplishments

And surprisingly understanding of my condition

But I am only able to return a few times

Sometimes being around people it is too intense

And I do not get enough positive feedback

That makes me discouraged

I really want to go to church

But I either get mad or scared

I cannot accept the conservative politics of the Evangelicals

Or the acceptance of new age doctrine by the mainstream Protestants

I am much closer to my family

Than before I was mentally ill

I would have thought that my sister and I

Would be in a big city, far from home, shortly after college

But we are all here many years later

I have never gone very far, except in the military

One of the things that really bothered me for along time

Was that i never completed my military service or college

Now I have written so many books, that I think that is better

Even than a PhD.

But that was how my philosophical journey started

I may have never got to writing books, if that had not happened