I hate taking my medication. Just because I hate it doesn’t mean it’s not important. I know that my family would wish that mentality followed me everywhere, but it doesn’t always.
One of my characters in my 9 Ways to Normal novella is Zebulon Summers. He’s a Schizophrenic who, when episodes strike, suffers from hallucinations, and when it gets bad enough, delusions. I based his major delusion off of something I’ve been through.
Most delusions are huge things, noticeable things. Some people think they are in a relationship with somebody famous, or that aliens are trying to steal their brains. But to me, that would have belied some of the more subtle delusions. I don’t shy away on the hallucinations that Zebulon experiences, and I describe audible voices as well as voices in his head. But something about having a grand delusion didn’t sit right.
According to the dictionary, a delusion is “a belief that is clearly false and that indicates an abnormality in the affected person’s content of thought. The false belief is not accounted for by the person’s cultural or religious background or his or her level of intelligence.”
To clarify this, Zebulon is a practicing Christian, so a belief that God created the world would not be a delusion to him. A belief that a demon is whispering in his ear wouldn’t, by his own standards, be a delusion.
On the other hand, though it seems small and hardly worth noting, he can become deluded that he is completely well and no longer needs his medication. Without his medication, the delusions and hallucinations become worse, and the cycle continues, compounding on itself until it becomes a major problem.
I’ve been through the delusion of not wanting to take my medication because “it’s not working.” I can’t promise I won’t go through it again. But just because it seems small, that doesn’t mean it’s not a delusion. They come in all forms, all shapes and sizes and colors. And saying that something isn’t a delusion can be just as damaging, maybe more so, than falsely accusing somebody of having one.