Schizophlu: If Schizophrenia Were Treated like the Flu
Guest Post by: Greyon Fernandes
While taking a shower, a place where I do some of my best thinking, a thought captivated me, ‘Am I still mentally ill?’. Do I still consider myself as mentally ill? I’m ill when I have the flu, but then I take my medication, and I’m no longer ill. Sure, I’m considered healthy after I have finished the course of antibiotics. The antibiotics have built their antibodies in me, making my body resistant to specific pathogens. Similarly, antipsychotics have inhibited certain neurotransmitters which my body couldn’t regulate. After my course of antibiotics/antipsychotics, am I still ill? Keep in mind; a relapse is likely in both cases.
If schizophrenia was as common as influenza, God knows, there would be more preventative measures; blood tests, public safety announcements, vats of mood stabilizers mounted to every school and hospital wall. Big pharma would fight to create the newest non-drowsy schizophrenia medication. I’m grateful for the progress that mental health medication has made. I understand having a small injection inserted into my hip every three months is no comparison to having to guzzle down a fist full of pills, some with atrocious side effects, twice a day.
However, what if every person experienced schizophrenia at least once a year, mainly around schizophrenia season? There, sure as hell (pun intended), wouldn’t be any stigma surrounding it. There would be a cohesive education, preschool through secondary, detailing mindful meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, educational support, etc. It would be a priority because it would be a commonality.
Our society has been fashioned to look at quantity as opposed to the severity of suffering. Schizophrenia is an illness that engulfs you in the bowels of Satan, while it takes your ability to verbalize your experience (through anxiety and word salad) and extinguishes your ability to cry (flat expression). One can’t simulate schizophrenia unless one’s on a bad peyote or acid trip. Wearing earphones of voices and noises blaring into your ear is not the same. The confusion, the ideologies, the hallucinations of psychosis are intrinsic. The inner voice that screams you awake in the middle of the night can’t be replicated.
However, it would be productive to look at mental illness like the flu – something chemical, biological, worthy of empathy. If you sneeze on someone, apologize. If you break down on someone, apologize.
About the author of, Schizophlu: If Schizophrenia Were Treated like the Flu: Greyon Fernandes is a 23 year old college student from Dublin Ireland. She utilizes her passion for writing to discuss topics around mental health.