The stigma is powerful


I am a 32-year-old Polish woman. I am a sociologist and work as a university lecturer. I began to experience psychotic symptoms in August, during a stay in Nigeria. I was hearing voices and also had some delusions. Soon after my return to Poland, I was forcibly put inside a psychiatric hospital at the request of my family. In September, I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. I stopped experiencing psychotic symptoms at the end of August.

I am leading a happy and fulfilling life and am not suffering from any so-called negative symptoms. I have not been taking any antipsychotics for almost a month, even though psychiatrists wanted me to take them for at least 2 years.

I am very saddened by the powerful stigmatization of such people as me. In my country, people with diagnosed schizophrenia frequently recoil from using the S-word even among themselves. I am very reluctant to inform other people about my diagnosis. I also suspect that my psychotic symptoms have frightened a once very close friend of mine who was my host in Nigeria and who did not know what was happening to me.

I also find it sad that there are plenty of people who are so firmly convinced that long-term use of antipsychotic drugs is necessary that they do not tolerate anyone expressing a different view. My posts on drugs have always been deleted at an international forum for people with schizophrenia.