Testimonies

Peoples' experiences and views on ‘schizophrenia’ or similar labels such as ‘psychosis’.

 

Tell us your story If you have been diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia’ tell us your story

 

The whole person, not just the brain

Mohammad Shabbir, CEO, Sharing Voices Bradford

I have personal experiences of living with an uncle who has been in the mental health system for a number of decades, labelled with ‘schizophrenia’. The label covered and hid the underlying problems that he was dealing with as a young migrant to the country, a young man who loved his parents, wanted to become a doctor and be with his friends. He ended up in Bradford, I suspect without much consultation, working in a factory and, as they say up north, ‘grafting’.

‘Schizophrenia’ is a social construct

Aloyse Raptopoulos

I believe that the way ‘schizophrenia’ is being diagnosed – and has been for decades – is nothing more than a social construct. Looking back at historical facts (e.g. see how mainstream psychiatry sided with the pre-Nazi Eugenics at the beginning of the 20th century) one can observe how this particular diagnosis is part of a wider social project established to maintain inequalities between people.

Psychiatric drugs causing brain dysfunction

A family member

I would like to point out my observation of my son Alex’s medication history over one year which I think is important to understand what happened with Alex. And which has been ignored by all doctors.

First, Alex used ‘Adderall’. As you know, that drug is a brand name of amphetamine salts-based medication used for attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy.

Media prejudice is reason for changing 'schizophrenia' name

Anonymous

I hope it's not just a lull, but the media onslaught using the term 'schizophrenia' in a prejudicial way, has abated over the last two years. Good! I have not been aware of a sensational headline or Radio 4 news item in that time, neither have I had a Retink media alert for the period. Maybe it's the Time To Change campaign having an effect. But stories using 'schizophrenia' as a code for: 'Next up it's a random stranger killing' have ceased for a while.

I got lucky, but not everyone will

Jean

I first came into contact with psychiatric services when I was twenty-five. I actually went in as a voluntary patient as I had no idea what the services were like. I had read a few psychology books and I honestly expected the professionals would be empathetic and interested in finding out about my experiences and feelings. I thought there would be lots of therapy and the drugs would be optional.

What destroyed me was not an 'illness'

Jean Davison

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia back in 1968 at the age of 18. I had sought psychiatric help myself and agreed to go into hospital as a voluntary patient. At the time of hospital admission, I had a job, a boyfriend and an active social life, although I was a painfully shy teenager. I was dissatisfied with my lifestyle, struggling to come to terms with the loss of my religious beliefs, felt life was empty and meaningless, and I was living with my dysfunctional family.

A stamp of inhumanity

G

Are there any alternatives? That was my first question as a 15 year old being labeled with Schizophrenia. I know I had issues, some of them were made worse through the treatment I received.

The words we use are important

Aldrick Monteiro

I have suffered with schizophrenia for forty years, but I must say it does not help to be labelled specifically with this term.

I find that this word grates on the imagination. The stigma of schizophrenia has not lessened even with all the knowledge available about the illness.

The word psychosis is less damning to the ear, but I have found in forty years of illness, that it is very important how one refers to mental illness and particularly to schizophrenia, to avoid causing offence and fear.

Not genes, but circumstances

Judith Haire

I was 37 when I experienced an acute psychotic episode. I was hospitalised for six months and endured six barbaric 'treatments' of electro convulsive therapy (ECT).

I had grown up in a dysfunctional family and gone on to marry an abusive man who raped me and hit me. I link my upbringing and the trauma it entailed to my becoming psychotic. It was not my genes, I am not mad or bad.

Many diagnosis; no help

EE

I'm not actually sure what my diagnosis is.

I have been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia (which meant a battle to receive my masters' degree in Counseling and Guidance), schizoaffective disorder (which cost me many jobs), bi-polar disorder, (which I successfully challenged), and major depression with psychosis (still battling the depression part).

I have been repeatedly psychotic, but each time medication induced. However, the authorities won't buy that and claim that these episodes are symptoms of an original disease.

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