They’re trying to hide it, with varying levels of success, but, as you suspected, writers are all, in fact, closet schizophrenics.

Let’s look at the definition of schizophrenia, from that renowned, infallible bastion of knowledge, Wikipedia:

A person diagnosed with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations (most reported are hearing voices), delusions (often bizarre or persecutory in nature), and disorganized thinking and speech. The latter may range from loss of train of thought, to sentences only loosely connected in meaning, to incoherence known as word salad in severe cases. Social withdrawal, sloppiness of dress and hygiene, and loss of motivation and judgment are all common in schizophrenia.[6] There is often an observable pattern of emotional difficulty, for example lack of responsiveness.[7] Impairment in social cognition is associated with schizophrenia,[8] as are symptoms of paranoia; social isolation commonly occurs.[9]

Now we’ll take these one at a time:

A person diagnosed with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations (most reported are hearing voices)

Ask any (honest) author. They hear them. The author will write down what the voices are saying to give them some legitimacy, but regardless of the more respectable labels they might try to apply, hearing voices is a classic sign of mental disorder.

delusions (often bizarre or persecutory in nature)

Of grandeur. Of what is and isn’t possible. Of what really happened. Yep. Delusions. Of “I” and “me” being persecuted, and persecuting in such delicious, horrible ways… (this touches on psychopathic behavior, but that’s another day’s lesson.)

disorganized thinking and speech. The latter may range from loss of train of thought, to sentences only loosely connected in meaning, to incoherence known as word salad in severe cases.

If you’ve ever read a writer’s first draft, you know all about this.

Social withdrawal, sloppiness of dress and hygiene, and loss of motivation and judgment are all common in schizophrenia

We’re talking no shower and rationed pee breaks for days on end when facing a deadline or caught up in an epiphany. Friends, loved ones, spouses and children all cease to exist. There will be no clean dishes in the house.

There is often an observable pattern of emotional difficulty, for example lack of responsiveness.[7] Impairment in social cognition is associated with schizophrenia,[8] as are symptoms of paranoia; social isolation commonly occurs.

This is most commonly observed in the writer going through the querying stage of novel writing, or who is submitting short stories to magazines and contests. The unpredictable mood swings and agitated impatience are classic indicators of this phase.

To start healing you have to admit you have a problem. I’m standing up today to say “I’m Leah, and I’m a writer. And I know that I’m abso-fricking-lutely nuts.

Let the healing begin.