Madness & Creativity
I can understand, in ways, how the theory of dopamine overload corresponds to symptoms of schizophrenia. For instance, in the past I remember writing a 40,000 word story that made very little sense to a rational thinking person. When, at the time, it seemed even the insignificant details made a world of sense to me. This also can happen in a drug-induced state, through drugs. We can fill in the places where others can't sometimes, and it takes some time to really develop communication that many can relate to.
Sometimes heightened levels are good for the brain and body. Sometimes they can throw you overboard into a sea of confusing waves. Some of the most brilliant intellectuals, artists, and creative thinkers suffered from forms of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a broad term, and no one symptom is exactly the same.
I think this is because of how every human DNA is unique, and I believe schizophrenia has to do with the makeup of the individual. We as a whole should accept that everyone has a unique genetic disposition, and our dispositions are what make us who we are in a lot of respects. Vincent Van Gogh cut his ear off, but painted some really amazing and surreal images that invoke a sense of being within the painting for me.
John Nash was a brilliant Mathematician, but also suffered from paranoid delusions. Sylvia Plath was probably manic depressive, but her poetry was ironic and beautiful for her time. I have a personal theory that some prophets would also be classified by modern days as suffering from a mental illness, because many of them then/now are rebels. They resisted authorities, spoke to invisible forces they deemed Gods, Spirits, Energies...do these energies exist solely within the mind? It takes a brave person, a mad person, to find out.
There is some great beauty, I have found, with schizophrenia. It makes it easier to soak up information when you have recovered to a stable state. Sometimes the intuitive feelings are not far off, but too much of anything can turn into a bad thing. There is also the question, what is actually a normal human brain state? I'm not saying when you aren't ill, but asking what actually constitutes normal for the human brain?
I've had some moments of great clarity, and I was a high functioning teenager before the symptoms set in. I had early onset of the disorder, which means that I lost some of my teenage years to battling the disorder. I also am beginning to think that schizophrenia is a broad and complex system that factors in the: psychological, chemical, environmental/cultural, physical, and genetic.
The genes play an important role in the development, and also it shouldn't be discounted, the possibility that when we grow up if we are subjected to harsh conditions that may also be factored in. I was on a vegetarian diet for a year before the symptoms started, and also had stressed myself a lot through physical activity before the insomnia, and eventual breakdown into psychosis. I can't say these were factors or the cause, which is also frustrating.
I do believe there will be progress made for those suffering from the mental disorder, and we all know it's vital to find better medications and solutions to the problems we face with mental illnesses. My schizophrenia did cause paranoia; I was frantic and frightened, thinking bombs would blow us up and had very visual ideas.
I could picture things (like realist paintings) in my mind's eye very clearly, but on a different level than others could comprehend. The difference between me and the most severe cases of schizophrenia is that I have memories and insight, and even through a crisis I was pretty aware of what was going on. It made things harder because I was also aware of how I was being stigmatized by people who didn't have compassion or knowledge of the suffering I was enduring.
Yet It has become apparent that I do think differently than a lot of other people, and in some ways it's a blessing. I like being unique. My genes are not a curse, but there are some flaws with them. That's not really a curse but something that could also be considered a true gift. I'm happy to be alive, and I've had a beautiful experience with the world. Especially as a child. When my schizophrenia was only a unique imagination and over-abundance of love.
I began talking in full sentences at six months, and at seven years old I was already contemplating my place in the world. In some ways, I was an adult or an old soul even at eight years old. People with schizophrenia, if they were like me, grow up too fast and then have to adjust to a world that has a lot of rules.
We have to learn to adapt. Sometimes because of our innocence and love, we forget that there are consequences and we hold onto our stubborn virtues, but some of those virtues are what made the world free. Our brains have evolved over time, through DNA, and we have adapted to be the best we can be. But we have the chance to become better, and hopefully there will be some way to isolate the problem and find a solution.
I don't think necessarily that we are the problem, or even the way our brains were built...because I function fine in the world with the aid of a single medication. The brain is unique, a tool that should be honored. Just because we produce more dopamine, doesn't mean we aren't capable of being completely fully functioning humans or adults in modern society as I have proven.
I have recovered and have maintained recovery for the past five years. And sometimes, I do see many of us objectified for being considered abnormal. And because of this very abnormality, I stand in solidarity with all those who have the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Because human life is a gift, no matter the way we're put together, we're all gifted in great ways.
We should honor our gifts, not deny them. We should work to help ourselves and help each other. It took a lot of living before I realized how lucky I am to have what I have, and to be who I am. Remember: honor thyself, honor each other.