Saturday, February 15, 2014
Living with a Schizophrenic is Difficult
I live with a schizophrenic. Technically, she's my wife. She isn't the same person she was before she became schizophrenic. I always imagined that one could find some kind of a silver lining, even in schizophrenia. Perhaps there are many schizophrenics out there with very positive qualities. Unfortunately, in this case, there are no positive qualities. She isn't funny. She isn't affectionate. She isn't interesting to listen to. She isn't friendly, productive, helpful, insightful, thought-provoking, or in any way pleasant to have around. Quite the contrary. The voices torment and insult her and she lashes out at my daughter and I in response. Of course, she is the source of her voices. They are the work of her own mind, but we get punished for what her brain says to itse lf. One could imagine, as most people do, that she is suffering, but she doesn't seem to be suffering. She's just cruel, not only to us, but to herself and most of all to the voices she makes up.
I've always thought that schizophrenics suffer at the will of their voices, but my wife doesn't sit there and suffer. She fights back. She loudly insults her voices, puts them in their place, and even says things to us hoping her voices will hear what she says and feel embarrassed that others have heard them admonished. She uses us like a prop in this game her brain makes up. I don't like being used as a prop. I'm a busy person, working as hard as two people to make up for what she does not bring to the table, so I don't have much time to stand about being used as a prop.
Her family has made the situation even worse. They refuse to acknowledge that she is ill. Despite the obviousness of her severe mental illness, they think she's fine. They postulate that some kind of "insulting ghost" is wandering about tormenting her. They say these kinds of things happen all the time and that it's normal. Schizophrenia runs in families and I believe fully that she is not the only schizophrenic member of her family.
Frankly, living with a paranoid schizophrenic is hell. Avoid it at all costs.