This episode followed three sufferers of paranoid schizophrenia. One of them is a male who self-medicates using marijiuana in order to cope. Another sufferer is a girl currently going through college who sees a therapist for treatments. Finally, the last person showcased lives at home and is currently dealing with his illness by going to support groups and taking medication.
Firstly, you see the signs of restitution, chaos, and quest within each of these sufferers. Restitution is seen amongst each of them in that a therapist, medicine/pills, or talk of a mental institution is used as methods in order to fix or alleviate each of these peoples’ disorders. Chaos is seen in each as well, perhaps the most. The first person has constant conflicts with his mother about his well-being, and he also has issues about where he my live as he is kicked out of places. The second person, in college, has to take a speech class, and is unsure about whether she should perform in front of a group for fear of her symptoms returning. The last person has a definite chaos narrative: both his father and grandfather suffer from cancer, and his grandfather dies in the course of the episode. His family fears that he’ll fall into a depression and relapse into his condition. Finally, each does have a quest narrative. The first sufferer who has rejected all attempts at help, finally ends up finding a place to live where he’ll get help for his condition. The other two sufferers end up going to or to go to support groups, who help them come to terms with their conditions as well as realize that it is not their fault, and that they do have others they can talk with in order to help them out.
Typically, none of these sufferers have any responsibilities. But it’s interesting in that the latter two end up taking on their own responsibilities. For example, the girl who goes to college does so of her own accord and will, and the last man has plans to go to college when his condition is lessened. They do all experience issues with culture as well. For example, the first man with the condition argues with his mother, who does not seem to be supportive and wants simply to put her son in a mental institution. She almost sees him as “crazy” and doesn’t have much regard for helping or taking care of him herself. The other two have issues being in public, no doubt tied to the social stigma of being in a very socialized culture. This puts a lot of pressure on people who become paranoid in large groups of people. However, part of their quest narratives involve them eventually going out in public and being around large groups of people in an attempt to become comfortable in that situation.
I would say that illness narratives are very supportive to the patients, especially as shown in the sufferers of schizophrenia in this episode. The first man actually did not want to be “cured” because he enjoyed talking to the birds, because he feared that there would be voices if he were totally alone. He preferred talking to something as opposed to nothing, even if he knew it was part of his condition. The second patient would talk to her therapist, often gaining support from her in decisions as to what to do in school. Finally, the last man goes to support groups, as mentioned. However, he is not forced to – he chooses to. He finds it incredibly therapeutic and it shows how a narrative can help a person cope with what condition they may be suffering from.