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The Genius in Schizophrenia

Ann Boland

There is genius present in schizophrenia and a powerful teacher. Those with schizophrenia teach us how to give and receive and love unconditionally. They teach us that when we come to them from love rather than fear, we will benefit tremendously from their presence in our life.


Today, I understand schizophrenia uniquely. My life has allowed it. Organically, schizophrenia is a different wiring. Scientists consider it to be an anomaly in nature, a genetic abnormality. Medically, schizophrenia is classified as an illness, a disease of the mind, according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) IV.

Spiritually, schizophrenia is of a different realm. Those who live with this affliction merely show us that there is another world within our world that is available to us. Just as dogs can hear things that people cannot and birds can see for miles where people cannot, schizophrenia is the same. It is an ability to hear and to see our world in a way most cannot.

To live with schizophrenia is to see life through a different lens and to hear the world through special ears. It is a unique expression of the intelligence in nature. It is a unique expression of man's creativity. There are no mistakes. People who have this "affliction" are here for a reason. They are an expression of the universe. The universe has created them. There is genius in schizophrenia, a creative mind that most cannot comprehend. It is a world all unto its own. It is usually isolated because it is feared and greatly misunderstood.

There is a destructive side to schizophrenia. We often hear about it in the news. Some of us are victims of the violence because we live with it in our families. Others may be innocent bystanders. Yet, the violence, I believe, is a manifestation of the frustrations that they feel from not being able to negotiate both worlds. Those with schizophrenia are caught between those worlds. They can see how we live; at times, they can hear our world too. But often, they live in their own worlds. It is why they do not want to take medication. Their world is normal to them. It just feels right, because it is.

But they are here with us and in essence have become a different breed. How can they fit in and negotiate their worlds inside of our world? Our society tells them what is right for them, for their lives, and for their actions. Their creative minds are dulled with medication. Now they can hear us, and it stops the violence. They are told to now live their lives. Now, they are normal.

Often those with schizophrenia suffer great physical hardship and illness. They live with many chronic conditions, and many are physically disabled. They live with much resistance to their worlds, and their bodies are a reflection of this distress. Truly, they are heroes, especially those who live well beyond their life's expectancy. Consider the determination that they must embody to stay with us here on earth. How many "normal" people embody this strength?

I often wonder what it would be like if those with schizophrenia could live in a world where only schizophrenia existed and where they could live without the pressures to conform to normalcy. Would the world form around them to ensure their success? Would they live more freely from illness? Perhaps their genius minds would far surpass us. Would we be given drugs to live in their worlds?

At times, I find myself daydreaming. I think of my mother's life without schizophrenia. I can see her physical beauty, as she was when she was younger. I see her with more energy and playful. I can see her going off to work and having a career that reflects her intelligence. I can see her living with a man who radiates her royalty.

Often, I have wondered, did I enter my life organically equipped to 'hear" my mother through her schizophrenia? Or, did my life's circumstances force my brain to rewire for my own survival? Perhaps co-creatively with the universe, I was cared for and guided to discover my own genius within. Ultimately, this allowed the genius of my mother to be fully understood by the genius within me.

I think of what my life would have been like had I not had a mother who embodied schizophrenia, but then I remember the perfection of the universe and trust that all is well and in perfect order. I have greater clarity today about my mother's unique stance in life. I can view her world through the eyes of science and medicine and try to understand what went wrong~or I can choose to see her as my great teacher and see what went unbelievably right.