These are called “positive symptoms” of schizophrenia.
Except for my first two years at Oxford, I have been spared the so-called “negative symptoms”: apathy, withdrawal, inability to work or make friends.
COOK: Have you ever been treated against your will, and, if so, can you explain the circumstances and the effect this had on you?
SAKS: I have been subjected to the use of force on numerous occasions.
And at the far end I am crouching in a corner shaking and moaning.
The transient psychotic thoughts I might have several times a day.I have killed people) which I immediately identify as symptoms of my illness and not real.A little further along the spectrum, I may have three or four days of being dominated by crazy thoughts that I can’t push away.That’s the main reason I have largely stopped accepting invitations to speak.For the most part, though, my job involves thinking and writing, and those, for me, are enormously gratifying.For instance, I had periods of disorganization, where it felt like my mind was falling apart: there was no center to take things in, put them together, and make them make sense.Hence, following Yeats, I call my book “The Center Cannot Hold.” The first frank episode of psychosis happened when I was around 16, and I suddenly started walking home from school in the middle of the day. Cries and whispers.” There were also some warning signs in college but I didn’t really “officially” break down until graduate school at Oxford.In the first instance, I was hospitalized against my will.I was said to be dangerous to myself and dangerous to others.COOK: When did you first sense that your academic work helped you deal with your condition?SAKS: Except for my first two years at Oxford, and intermittently when in a serious episode, I have always been able to work. I think I have always sensed that keeping active intellectually is a big support and a big source of wellbeing.