Excerpt from "About Mental Illness & Fairweather"
I was 24 years old when I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia. That's the time most people launch out into the world, starting families and careers. Instead I was flat out on my back in a psych ward.
I didn't go quietly though. People get upset when their live plan is thrown off track, and they must move in a new direction. I wouldn't take meds or accept the diagnosis. I almost was put away in a state hospital.
The indignity of my doctor, I thought, calling me psychotic. How was I ever going to find respect? I had always thought that people who were termed as crazy were really weak people who just didn't have enough backbone to stand up for themselves. I certainly didn't want to be one of them.
So what I did is deny the illness thinking it would go away.
I had had, what I still believe today, was a religious experience just a few weeks after my traumatic brain injury. I attempted to spin my illness into a spiritual adventure. I just didn't think I could ever find dignity in being mentally ill.
It's reasonable to think that way. Here you have a situation where your brain is malfunctioning to the degree to which you can't distinguish reality, and you need someone to tell you what's real. Well you have a pretty indignant circumstance.
The only way you can get better is by buying into your illness and letting someone tell you what to think.