Friday, June 1, 2012

6-01-12 Pictures of Tommy - a memoirist’s blog #33

(Right now, I’m focusing on my memoirist work that I’ll call, simply, “Pictures of Tommy” -- mostly about my psychotic brother and his legacy.  It touches on my personal fears, too. . . .)

Time for a reality check: do I have these sorts of symptoms?  Did I ever?  No, no, and -- no. The only thing I do is make up words, those “neologisms.”  For a wordsmith and a lyricist, that’s not such a bad thing, now is it?

On to more info about Tom’s mental illness from the NIMH site, focusing on Symptoms of Schizophrenia:

Negative symptoms
Negative symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. These symptoms are harder to recognize as part of the disorder and can be mistaken for depression or other conditions. These symptoms include the following:

               "Flat affect" (a person's face does not move or he or she talks in a dull or monotonous voice)
               Lack of pleasure in everyday life
               Lack of ability to begin and sustain planned activities
               Speaking little, even when forced to interact.

People with negative symptoms need help with everyday tasks. They often neglect basic personal hygiene. This may make them seem lazy or unwilling to help themselves, but the problems are symptoms caused by the schizophrenia.

Cognitive symptoms
Cognitive symptoms are subtle. Like negative symptoms, cognitive symptoms may be difficult to recognize as part of the disorder. Often, they are detected only when other tests are performed. Cognitive symptoms include the following:
               Poor "executive functioning" (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
               Trouble focusing or paying attention
               Problems with "working memory" (the ability to use information immediately after learning it).

Cognitive symptoms often make it hard to lead a normal life and earn a living. They can cause great emotional distress.

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