The Raven

The Raven

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's All in Your Head (part 9 of brother's story)

I had heard that what causes schizophrenia is a gap between the hemispheres of the brain. Haunting that gap are voices, taunting are they to the body controlled by the brain. This gap in the brain creates a chasm between the schizophrenic and the family. They are on opposite sides, so far from their loved one. All they can do is watch them on the other side- you can see them, but there is an impenetrable glass wall between you- glassy eyes, glazed, staring, taunting that they know more than you do- completely unaware of how far from you they are.

I have learned that many people confuse schizophrenia with multiple personality disorder. Schizophrenics do not have split personalities, or multiple ones; they suffer from delusional beliefs, such as believing they are God or on a secret mission; they are very occupied with themselves, usually having high intelligence and an inflated feeling of self importance. They see the world- faces - distorted and freighting. They hear commanding voices in their head and they are real, coming from some greater source. They suffer from visions such as things climbing through electrical outlets, or see faces coming out of the T.V. They believe food to be poisoned; they have a hard time trusting anything. Nothing comforts them. Medication makes them exhausted, twitch, grimace, and feel like a shell of a human with the voices still echoing through their hollow innards. Many do not leave their homes. Unless they are among the ranting homeless- maybe their family let them go. Maybe they ran away. Maybe they have no family left.
It had a name now. My brother was a schizophrenic. He was certifiable.
Our mother was trying to connect how he got this way. She said he family was never diagnosed with anything, yet it could have been masked by alcoholism. Not much is known about the mental health of our father's side, and again alcoholism was rampant in his family as well.
He would call our house, angry, wanting us to get him out. I explained to him one day that he had to bring his mental level down a bit for them to let him out. I used the analogy of how musicians create music- how not everyone hears the inspiration, or can tune by ear, but musicians can tune it and make it understandable to the common ear. He thanked me for explaining this to him, with a bit of bitterness lingering somewhere behind him. He said it as if no one had tried to tell him anything, even though we had exhausted ourselves trying to. Yet, he still called, not as much as he could when he was at Bridgeton Crisis Center, as if I hadn't said anything to him. He had to win the game to earn the get out of jail free card. We used to play Monopoly all the time. He always won.

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