Anosognosia

Lézard assez gros, de l'ordre de 25 cm, sous une pierre
There really is a lizard in the mind!
It is often said that people with schizophrenia have anosognosia of their disease, that they do not realize it. I think this is quite wrong, at least that it does not represent all people with schizophrenia, even rather a minority after a few months when the disease is installed (at least that’s what I had the impression to observe in acquaintances who are, I believe, schizophrenic)
I tell you why I didn’t say I felt sick.

One of the reasons is that I felt that I was very sick, that this disease was likely to make me suffer excruciatingly until the end of my life. This intense fear of ending my life crazy, anxious, tramp (because I adult because of this anxiety, I know that I could not work) created kind of quick bursts of anxiety (which lasted a fraction of a second) that came and went and then came back and so on, I lied to myself and I hoped that I had nothing very serious, that I should not be abnormal. I felt it was ridiculous that I felt really sick, in reality I only had a little bike in my head and it was kind of my fault. As these mental illnesses I had heard about scared me very much, I tried to lie to myself by telling myself that I should not have this, yet the evidence of my suffering led me to think that it was, so, from my point of view anosognosia is not the right term for this fellin.

And then as told previously I was afraid to share my feelings for fear of being thought crazy, that it would stick with me: I knew rightly that I would have a disturbing fear of being thought of as a seriously dangerous crazy person with this person until ‘at the end of my life, just if I’d told him once what’s really going on in my head.

Also it must be made clear, the principle of some delusions is that we are convinced that there is a thing, we can be aware that it is not okay, but deep down, we can not reason as if we were not convinced of his idea, even if we think that it is frowned upon, Surely false, that most people do not have it, but the reflexes of reasoning are based on the fact that our intuition is true, even if reason pushes to correct these reasonings after having had them.

I have lived it: when you have this intense intuition, it does not peel off, you have it, you have it, you cannot fail to have this intuition.

If, for example, it is an idea that other people can persecute us or find us crazy, we may realize that it makes us sick and that we will not be able to continue all our lives with such ideas that anguish us terribly, whether others (or even before being sick, if the patient has not always been sick) do not have such ideas. But if we meet the person we imagine wants to hurt us or finds us crazy, we will mechanically tend to feel his presence as hostile, even if we are aware that we are next to our pumps and that we should not think that.

As these ideas are abnormal, they make us suffer, we can imagine that these ideas could push us to be mean, then all this can push us not to want to have these ideas and intuitions and to see them as parasitic ideas/intuitions. It is then that we can try not to have them, but it is impossible, it does not leave despite the good will.

We may be led to hope, to believe that there is a way to solve this, for example by moving to a better place, by having a little girlfriend that we love and with whom we can share our feelings. It is when we realize that it is impossible, after a certain experience, not to have these ideas that we understand that something is wrong in our mind…

… that whatever we do (a pathological move, that is to say the fact of moving hoping that life will be better elsewhere, changes in our life, the fact of being in a relationship with the girl we love etc.) that nothing solves the problem that we are led to think that the problem comes from our brain, that we have to go see a psychiatrist. I think that a good part of people can realize that they were not like before the beginning of the disease and then go to consult, but I, I have always been sick so, I did not have a point of reference to tell me that something weird had happened to me, and I didn’t have a close enough friend to talk about it.

For example, at the beginning when we are sick, if we imagine that someone wants us harm we can think that it is real, indeed, in the past, when we were not sick, our mind never betrayed us and when we feared that someone bothered us it was often very real, so suddenly we can think that it is well justified this time too, their brain has never messed up, there is no reason for it to mess up today. That’s why, maybe some people don’t have a critical aspect at the beginning of their illness.

I had heard in a few tv shows what schizophrenia was, it worried me enormously and although I had no hallucinations or very minimal, I recognized myself in the descriptions, the fact that their life seemed ruined, made me an unimaginable fear.

photo de la tour eiffel prise d'un escalier du trocadéro
Megalomaniac projects, crazy goals! Yes I was a lot of megalomaniacs and couldn't stand having a small destiny 🙁

In fact I did not project myself into the future, except into a beautiful and radiant utopian future where by miracle I would be well, I could work, and I would be efficient, doctor, president of the republic, writers, physicist, that is to say efficient as I imagined that people should perceive me. But I knew deep down that it was utopian.

The discomfort, the anxiety I had, prevented me from imagining myself in the future, I kept a hope. Since at first glance my anxiety, paranoia and all my symptoms would continue to be there as they have been there since I was 3 years old.

I didn’t dare to imagine the years to come, I didn’t dare to tell myself when I would be an adult, I would have a car and a job and I would be happy. If I had been honest with myself, not knowing that there are medications, I should have understood that I would end my life in a psychiatric hospital plagued by worry. The intense social worry, the fear of appearing strange with every word I speak in a conversation, the fear of the slightest effort, exhausting myself psychically enormously with the phobias of increasing impulse, I could not hold.

If I had had a job, a car, a home, I would have had the anxieties in the manner of Tanguy from the film, but downright worse, and because only the presence of my parents really reassured me, everything else only added anxieties so I was afraid to grow up and leave home.

As I feared ending up in a psychiatric hospital if I told a doctor about my worries, I then had no way out except to continue as people wanted me to continue and as my parents wanted: to go to school and college… but after?

After the start of my treatments, I was also still afraid to share my thoughts. I was still afraid that some of my thoughts and my feelings were feelings only present in schizophrenia and suddenly that if I testified to an impression that I had…

…I was afraid that people would understand that I was schizophrenic, and I didn’t want that so, suddenly I didn’t share my feelings too much (yet often these ideas could also happen in people without schizophrenia)

Another phenomenon that has often happened to me and which leads people not to admit that they understand that they are abnormally paranoid is the following:…</div >

When I had a paranoid idea on a subject, for example the impression that people from the lobby are going to gradually take over the power of the state, and when we don’t didn’t believe me, I could seem frankly annoyed because I felt that the people I was talking to could take me for an idiot, a paranoid person who imagines absolutely anything, whose word is that of a madman not reliable that it is better not to listen to him and that, whatever I do, I will not persuade them, and therefore I did not dare admit that somehow I still felt too paranoid not to pass for an idiot who wrong and we say: well you see he is talking nonsense since he himself admits that he is paranoid! The judgment of being taken for an idiot and the fear of a scenario where no one would believe me no matter what I did annoyed me and pushed me not to admit that I was too paranoid.

To somewhat solve this kind of problem with a patient, you have to tell him that you want to believe him, but that you have to admit that he is too worried and upset, that it doesn’t matter that he is upset and too worried but that it’s a bit tiring for him, even if he may be right on certain points, and therefore we will try to take care of it better.

… Moreover, today when I am less paranoid, I still think that it is possible that lobbies try to take power a little, even if it doesn’t isn’t sure either. There are elements that go in this direction in the United States and we can see it from the movie vice for example.

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