Saturday, June 2, 2012

6-02-12 Pictures of Tommy - a memoirist’s blog #34

(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. . . .)

So, according to the above negative symptoms, lack of pleasure or “anhedonia” (one of my favorite words) is one of the symptoms associated with schizophrenia.  I felt that much of the time when I was sick with anorexia.  And when I’m at my most depressed, that’s what happens: I can’t feel pleasure in life, which makes me feel more depressed, which makes me panic, which makes me consider . . . well, signing off, permanently. 

That’s why I thank God for music and writing.  Even if there are no other pleasures in life to be found, when I retreat into my own space and mind, when I pick up an instrument, sing and play music, I can heal myself with words and music.  I can get frantic, not having time to myself, because at heart I’m an introvert who needs that time apart.  Do I talk to myself?  Oh yes.  But hearing voices?  Uh uh.  The words that come to me when I write are inspired but not . . . hallucinations.

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

When does schizophrenia start and who gets it?
Schizophrenia affects men and women equally. It occurs at similar rates in all ethnic groups around the world. Symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions usually start between ages 16 and 30. Men tend to experience symptoms a little earlier than women. Most of the time, people do not get schizophrenia after age 45.3 Schizophrenia rarely occurs in children, but awareness of childhood-onset schizophrenia is increasing.4,5

It can be difficult to diagnose schizophrenia in teens. This is because the first signs can include a change of friends, a drop in grades, sleep problems, and irritability—behaviors that are common among teens. A combination of factors can predict schizophrenia in up to 80 percent of youth who are at high risk of developing the illness. These factors include isolating oneself and withdrawing from others, an increase in unusual thoughts and suspicions, and a family history of psychosis.6 In young people who develop the disease, this stage of the disorder is called the "prodromal" period.

. . . according to Randye Kaye, new research is linking autism to schizophrenia.  Makes sense, doesn’t it? 

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