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Is this schizophrenia?

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Is this schizophrenia?

Postby TiffanyMerc » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:24 pm

Hello all

I am writing in reference to an event that happened eatlier today, although there have also been a few related incidents. As I was commuting by public transport, a lady boarded whom I suspect - from previous incidents - has schizophrenia. As an example from today's behaviour: there were loud, disrespectful youths at the back of the bus who ptoceeded to mock the eccentricities of the lady. As the teenagers alighted, the lady said in elevated volume "die of cancer, die of cancer". This is a phrase she typically uses anyhow, apparently with no specific target, but the volume change and apparent distress when the teenagers alighted, makes me think that the teenagers were the likely target on that occasion.

In fact, when the lady first got on the bus, I was internally cringing because I know that disrespectful teenagers have no mercy on the outlier individuals in society (I was avoiding the teenagers myself, but she went and sat near to them).

Once the teenagers had gotten off of the bus, the lady continued vocalising and I decided to see if I could 'reach' her. I sat on the seat in front of her and asked if she was okay. I tried to mske eye contact, but it was like her eyes were glazed over, although she obviously wasn't unconscious. So I judt said 'I know, they're not very nice, are they.' Flexible language to deal with the fact that her animosity may be directed at the school kids, or surrounding people, or humanity in general.

More on the lady: her appearance is what most people would consider unkempt; she carries around (among other things) a notebook in which dhe writes pseudosentences, which seem to relate to journey details, other times it's single words or incoherent phrases. All of the things in her bag are jumbled together. Today she was counting aloud, I don't know what she was counting. On previous occasions she has said "I'll kill you" while looking sideways to a space where there is no-one; I presume that she sees someone there (hallucination). She has previous screeched and punched her newspaper in exasperation.

Do you think that this is schizophrenia? I want to help her, there's that saying that so-called 'crazy' people are with God. Well, maybe they're too gentle for society. It's clear that she is isolated by her condition; I was the only person today to try to connect with her. She must be lonely.

What do you think?
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Re: Is this schizophrenia?

Postby Tanoujin » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:25 pm

Being schizoaffective myself and spending a lot of time with crazy people at work, I would recommend to be friendly and apply some empathy, but not act out of pity, which would be disrespectful. She is a stranger to you, keep some distance and be polite. Her diagnosis is - do not take me wrong - none of your business. She is strange, that is all you need to know.
Maybe she is caught in her own world, in this case you will need at least months to reach her, if ever. Maybe she wants to be left alone.
You can try to introduce yourself and ask for her name. You can try to offer her a handshake, but do not touch her if she does not follow the invitation. In any case you can greet her politely everytime you see her.
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Re: Is this schizophrenia?

Postby TiffanyMerc » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:48 pm

Being schizoaffective myself and spending a lot of time with crazy people at work, I would recommend to be friendly and apply some empathy, but not act out of pity, which would be disrespectful.


Is it always disrespectful to feel pity? I can kind of understand, intuitively, why another person's concern might be regarded as disrespect from the perspective of the recipient; I have, myself, experienced that kind of feeling. However, I cannot articulate exactly why the response to empathy would be aversion? Maybe it's the implicit arrogance of the empathiser; who, after all, does not know (and, perhaps, has no right to know) the intricate emotional travails?

She is a stranger to you, keep some distance and be polite. Her diagnosis is - do not take me wrong - none of your business. She is strange, that is all you need to know.


Yes, I think you're definitely right that privacy is important; a fundamental human right. I would like to know if my hypoethesized diagnosis is clinically accurate because (i) I'm curious, I find her behaviour interesting, even if some people would regard it as pathological behaviour (ii) I'm scientifically-minded and like to know and understand as much about the world as possible.

The ability to make those kinds of inferences could prove useful to myself and others in the future. For example, I previously encountered - in a work-based setting - a young man whom I suspected was autistic. When I first approached him and said hello, and asked him if he would like any help, he just didn't say anything. He just looked right at me, not exactly with fear, but with a kind of resolute inhibition. He literally looked like he wanted to talk but was unable to. So, I just smiled and moved on. I discussed the event with one of my colleagues, who outright dismissed my suspicion that he has autism. Subsequently, I completed a CPD training exercise relating to SEN, and guess who was the autistic student I was placed with for the day? Well, that taught me to trust my own judgment and to refrain from arbitrarily trusting the judgment of authority figures.

If I were able to accurately identify schizophrenia, then I would be able to strategise optimal ways of dealing with people. For example, when I meet people I suspect have autism, I have a conceptual understanding of their likely preferences in regard to my interaction with them.

Maybe she is caught in her own world, in this case you will need at least months to reach her, if ever. Maybe she wants to be left alone. You can try to introduce yourself and ask for her name. You can try to offer her a handshake, but do not touch her if she does not follow the invitation. In any case you can greet her politely everytime you see her.


Yes. I would not try to touch her (or anyone) lol. Not unless it is to save their life, or something :lol: Like I would reach for someone's hand to stop them from falling off a cliff. Otherwise, no. Not unless they initiate.

Well, since I last posted, I had the opportunity to interact with the lady again. I still do not know her name, I didn't think to ask. I made eye contact with her and said "hi" and she came quite close to me. Closer than most people would regard as 'polite' - but I didn't mind. Her conversation was half normal and half, distinct. I don't know what to make of her, and I don't understand quite how she manages to live independently. But I like her.
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Re: Is this schizophrenia?

Postby Tanoujin » Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:25 pm

Yes, sure, you are right, maybe I was little too harsh - you have a point in trying to apply a conceptual approach. I am glad you were able to contact her already - things need time to grow... if she recognizes you as acquaintance, maybe you find out a little more about her.
Nevertheless it is sometimes unnecessary to know the exact diagnosis... when I was at the closed station of the ward I got known to a lot of interesting people who sadly tended to get into trouble because of misunderstandings. Sometimes all you need is personal interest and empathy... there was that woman who behaved like a cat - she really tried to hide under the heating, not aware she was too big, lol. I watched her several hours not leaving that place while all the staff did not care at all and brought her a glass of water... she did not drink until i took a sip myself to show her the water is okay :) God knows what she encountered before - I believe she was beaten up, maybe domestic violence. But you do not need to know to help, you see?
About misery: it is okay to feel with someone, to try to identify and get in their shoes. But sometimes I encounter people who are pitying, yet incompetent. And that hurts. You seem not to be this kind of person. Kind regards.
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