True Life: I Have Schizophrenia

I chose to watch the episode “I have Schizophrenia”. This episode follows three different people who cannot decipher reality from hallucinations. They do not know as the episode states,” what is real and what is in their heads”. They may even hear voices telling them to hurt themselves.


One of the characters in the episode is a 25 year old named Josh. Josh was in and out of mental hospitals, but refuses to take his medication. He attempts to self medicate with his narrative use of marijuana, which only worsens his side effects of being schizophrenia. Josh claims that he can communicate and hear animals talking to them. His life seems to be a chaos narrative. He continuously denies medical help or the use of pharmaceuticals for his disorder. He seems to have episodes of being stable followed by periods of delusion and paranoia. After being evicted and moving in with his mother she soon after demands an order for involuntary commitment to a mental institution. It is clear that Josh does not conform with culture’s idea of a normal citizen. Josh seeks no help from medical professionals, which could benefit him significantly. After soon returning home he was able to attain his own apartment with assistance of an aid. Although he could seek help in other areas such as counseling or medication, he still refuses.


Ben is 23 years old and is diagnosed with schizophrenia effective disorder. He is heavily medicated, taking more than 15 pills a day. His delusions involve people trying to harm him specifically, one named Marcus. Marcus first started speaking to him at age 18 telling him to kill himself, when he was first hospitalized. Ben is on a narrative quest because he wants to get better and seeks to find a point in his life where this disorder no longer affects his day-to-day life. His narrative includes family members and group therapy. He seems severely depressed in the beginning, but pulls himself back together to participate in a normal lifestyle.  He eventually gets involved in a college course with hopes of attending the school full time. He is at a constant battle with this disorder and societies idea of where he should as a normal college student.




Amber was once a 4.0 until she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She was always expected to succeed and expected nothing less until she started to experience the side effects of this disorder. She was soon receiving F`s in her classes and struggling with academics. In result she had to drop out of her freshman year. She was then administered meds to control the side effects of Schizophrenia. Her quest type narrative is to use these meds to get her back to her normal self and succeeding academically to pursue the success she knows she is capable of having. She is now back on track taking a full semester of credits and managing the disease. She is still in fear that under so much stress the side effects will come back to haunt her, as she’s experienced in the past. Amber is trying as hard as possible to maintain the stigma of a normal college student and exceed academically with as few side effects as possible. Amber’s personal narrative is  to use group therapy to cope with the disorder and medication. She finds great help from medical professionals such as psychiatrist. She also has shared stories and experiences with a group called “In their voices” to help her cope and educate others.




Illness narratives are extremely important to the patients well being and recovery. If used properly and accepted they can continue to better their day-to-day lives, and no longer struggles alone with this disease. The family of these patients can also benefit form these narratives because they are less stressed trying to help them in areas where doctors have medical expertise.  Healthcare providers can give these patients the tools to continue this struggle with the disorder and not feel alone.  Using the tools of every narrative possible can only help and not hurt these patients and their families. In the case of medications, some may refuse them because of the undesirable side effects. However, I believe group therapy and medical professionals can be nothing but positive narratives for these patients to cope. We learned in lecture that narratives are the key for these people to reach understanding of their disorder. The greater these patients understand this disorder the better, the more confident they will be in perusing treatment medically and emotionally.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Dan Wright says:

    The narrative I found was that of a young schizophrenic girl. January is six years old and has shown symptoms her entire life. When her parents first brought her home from the hospital, she slept only twenty or thirty minutes at a time for a total of two or three hours a day. In the last couple of years she has developed the more violent symptoms. Her father described it as one second she will be saying “I love you, Daddy” and the next will be fighting for her life, literally trying to claw his eyes out. She says she has dozens of imaginary friends, some of which tell her to do bad things. Her parents say that keeping her from hurting her baby brother is a twenty four hour job; they have even been forced to lease a second apartment to separate them. Their daughter seems to be doing somewhat better these days, though she says the medicine is not helping much. The parents are frustrated because they know this is a life long disease that will affect every part of her life, most notably social. For this reason the clip should be seen as a chaos narrative. Since she is so much younger than the patients featured in your True Life episode, it is somewhat hard to compare, though it is interesting to see a schizophrenic case at a different age. Family is the most influential factor in her illness experience, and probably always will be.

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