I was not, to my knowledge, born with schizophrenia.
I was diagnosed with the condition in 1995, when I was 25 years old.
I had problems as a child and teenager, particularly emotional ones. But I was deemed healthy. I lived with my family. I had friends, was active and got good grades.
It would appear that a change happened leading up to and encompassing my diagnosis. I did not seem to be the same person. My parents noticed that I had undergone a transformation.
There were different theories. Was it an issue of addiction? A spiritual crisis? Was it something a doctor could diagnose, and if so, what would be the treatment? Medicine? If so, would organic remedies be preferred or the more standard types of pills?
I can definitely understand why my parents felt this way, and why they considered putting me in treatment. I really had changed. I went from being a vibrant and connected young man to a person who was troubled, isolated and detached.
It has been hard, then, for me to convince people that I am still the same person. But often I so very much wish I could convince people that under it all and despite it all, I am still “T.J.”– the same kid who loved them, got good grades and told puns at the table, is there and will be as long as I am alive.
As much as I am sure this is the case, I understand that it is difficult to accept, hard to believe.
And I can certainly offer no proof, only make appeals or suggestions.