The Dopamine Paradox

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My friends and family very befitting

In my fictitious story

Going for my wedding I think

But I reach the hospital and I see shrinks!

I spend many days at the hospital

Finally, my mind clears itself of thoughts unreal

Diagnosed with schizophrenia

Oh I’m in dystopia

As years pass by

I find kindness in doctors, family and friends alike

Their healing touch

Heals the pain but the curse remains

Livin’ a normal life in-between episodes

My doctors and I are on quirky roads

That only the mentally ill take

But the kindness they show to me is great!

Maybe my journey will never change

And will always be strange

But I can still find a happy range

And live for the good days and gracefully age!

This is my journey for this lifetime

And I’m grateful for the times I’m sane

‘The Dopamine Paradox’ is a light take on schizophrenia which some doctors say is caused due to a dopamine imbalance in the brain. The paradox is that there are two perspectives on reality: the delusional perspective during the episode and the ‘normal’ perspective, one that is shared with everyone else. The paradox is reflective of a shift between the two realities. In between episodes the medication affects the dopamine levels which shifts the author’s perspective. Dopamine seems to control which perspective the poet holds. During an episode the delusional perspective seems real to the poet. While many perceive reality differently and have their unique perspectives of reality; schizophrenia is paradoxical and two-dimensional as in the delusional perspective is clearly not factual and seems to have no context. The poem is a typical description of the inner world of one person with schizophrenia during and in between psychotic episodes. Day-to-day occurrences take on a special meaning and an alternative reality is formed in the mind. The ability to discern factual thoughts from fictional thoughts is lost. The poem also highlights the poet’s struggle with the diagnosis of schizophrenia – as it translates into unpleasant experiences, dependency and loss of credibility. And the subsequent acceptance of it, as such a predicament can only be accepted with grace.

Swarnarekha Ganapathy

Swarnarekha is an advertising professional based in Chennai, India. She was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 2014 and has been on medication since. She believes in living fully and passionately despite her illness. She is deeply interested in writing, music, travel, and food. She is passionate about psychological growth and exploring the new.


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