A symptom of schizophrenia can be “a change in sense of self”. The patient views him or herself differently, after onset.
When I was initially diagnosed, the psychiatrist suggested that I thought I was Jesus Christ. I was sure I wasn’t, but there must have been something strange about the way I was coming across.
One change was that I stopped seeing myself as a discrete and whole entity. I was no longer an “acting figure” in life. I became very submissive. I was interested in saying only the right things at the right times, as others willed them to be.
Trying to please everybody is a trait I still have– it’s something I struggle with. I think, in a way, it shows that I care. But people pleasing can go too far– it can seem false, or make people feel uncomfortable.
I have seen this in other schizophrenics– they always have to be the friendliest people in the room, and they are often very deferential. Mentally ill people need to give themselves credit, no matter what life or diagnoses suggest.
We need to remember that we are people, too– that we have roles to play, and places in the bigger picture. We can make changes happen, in big and small ways.
In short, schizophrenics need to be– gulp– assertive.