All posts tagged: schizophrenia

Avatar Therapy for Schizophrenia

A few days ago, I discovered the free educational program by Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry and spent today at Schizophrenia Education Day: Progress in Schizophrenia – New Insights into Brain Development, Drug Use and Treatment. I walked away with so many new thoughts. A study ran by King’s College London and University College London was using digitally generated avatars for schizophrenic patients to confront their hallucinatory voices. (You can read more details at the BBC and The Lancet Psychiatry journal.) My first voice was a young man. In my head, I had an idea of what he might look like and could probably pick out recordings of a voice that matched his the closest. However, creating him, my Joe, as I called him later, feels a bit scary. (Though now a Japanese man can get a digital girlfriend and in China there is a digital anchor!) These folks are right. I had a “personal relationship” with Joe. This would either enhances or damages that. Would this make him feel more real? Would this further …

It’s Logical!

“It should always be remembered that the behavior of persons with schizophrenia is internally logical and rational: they do things for reasons that, given their disordered senses and thinking, makes sense to them!” -Torrey, E. Fuller. Surviving Schizophrenia. 1983. Page 49. “The ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way that my mathematical ideas did. So I took them seriously.” -John Forbes Nash Jr. *~*~*~*~* My friend J read a draft of my memoir. He was surprised that my story was not chaotic or filled with confusion. He made me want to tell my story even better, even more, to show that my experience did all made sense to me. I took very deliberate steps to make sense of what was happening to me and around me. Let’s start with hearing my first voice Joe. For the 30 years of my life before that moment, I had trusted my ears without any problem. I have pretty good hearing. When I first heard Joe talking, I looked for where the talking was coming …

Being a Research Subject

Right before I was discharged from McLean hospital, I was asked to participate in a clinical study. I had never done that before and was very intrigued by it. It made me feel that I was doing something good, using something I uniquely had. I had a brain people were interested in. I felt useful. A gray-haired doctor came to interview me about my schizophrenic experience for about two hours. We sat face to face in my room. He asked all kind of questions and I answered as best as I could. What was the first time I experienced an episode? How did I feel? What does living in a glass house mean? While I was talking, he took copious notes. I just kept talking. He did not stop me from going on and on. His expression welcomed it. He took time and went through his big binder flipping through each page, asking and writing. Another young woman came to me after that while I was at the hospital and told me that there was …

Solving and Stopping Voices

I have seen some videos online that try to show what it’s like to hear voices. Often, the videos show someone doing something while recorded voices shout out words. In my experience, the voices sounded just like from real people and not just a recording. They sounded three dimensional. They were not random phrases but specific to what I was doing. Other than not having a physical presence, they almost made sense. That was why they were so confusing! When I first heard Joe, my first voice person, I imagined a young man talking into a microphone in a room somewhere. Of course, I did not think that my brain made him up. I thought he was real somehow. Somehow I could hear him through some impressive technology that I did not know about. He was a soft-spoken, friendly, and not terribly talkative person. Mostly he made comments about what I did. He was not particularly funny or smart. I could not tell if he was logical because we did not have enough “conversations” that …

Locked Up

I was deep asleep. I vaguely felt someone put a needle into my left arm. The needle did not wake me completely. I felt hands putting a bandage where the needle was. My mind felt very heavy. I fell back to sleep. It happened again. I heard a man next to me talk about drawing blood. This time I said no with my eyes closed. My right hand moved to cover my left arm. He did not draw any more blood from me. My mind still felt heavy. I fell back to sleep again. Someone came again. I heard a cart rolling towards me. Something was taped on my head and body. Someone was measuring my heartbeat, I thought. Even with all that, I did not wake up. I fell back to sleep again. I did not know how long I slept. As soon as I woke up, I jumped out of bed. I looked around. I did not recognize the room I was in. There were two other twin beds. There were three wooden …