I Did Not Believe I Was Delusional, Let Alone Psychotic

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The CIA was not spying on me. Nor were FBI agents looking to bring me down. On the other hand, I did not belong to either of these groups and was neither the President, Jesus Christ, nor Cleopatra. These, I had heard, are the content of delusions that characterize schizophrenia; its delusions are grandiose, and based (albeit flimsily) on the culture we see in the media. For example, having a radio transistor in your tooth is a common delusion of people suffering from schizophrenia — but I would assume this is just since the ubiquity of such technology. Naïve, I thought that if you were not pulled into these “standard” delusions, you could not have schizophrenia.

Given that logic, I did not consider myself to have schizophrenia. When mental health professionals labelled some of my beliefs as delusions, I was not convinced. I was worried, though: microscopic rats were eating my brain. “That’s the schizophrenia talking,” the hospital staff would say to me. “It is not real; it is a delusion.” But I was terrified of these brain-eating rodents, especially as they flooded my system via the countess forced injections I endured while certified — over 10 hospitalizations in five years.

“Erin, rats cannot even fit inside your head,” they’d all say. Furthermore, they’d expect me to use my understanding of neuroscience (I have a Master’s degree in the field) that felt like as a slap in the face. Did they not understand that the rats’ existence and constant consummation of my brain transcended science? It was of the Deep Meaning.

This “Deep Meaning” was to me the ultimate reality, while again doctors and nurses spoke of delusion. How could I expect them to understand, anyway? I reasoned. After all, this Deep Meaning was revealed only to me, the Chosen One. I had great responsibility: I was chosen to have my brain regenerate after being eaten by the rats, in order for there to be scientific study of this phenomenon. Regeneration in the brain is limited and its widespread occurrence in my brain would be an amazing breakthrough for neuroscience. Since this was, in my mind, based in science, it was obviously not a delusion.

by Erin Hawkes, The Huffington Post

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