What is schizophrenia anyway?


I always knew that there was something not quite right. As I got older this became much clearer. I was a bit of a wild child and always felt apart despite being very popular as a child and young adult. I started off by thinking everyone could hear voices telling them what to do, advising etc. It was way back in the eighties when I had my first diagnosis. I was referred to mental health by my GP who was treating me for depression.

Label number 1 - Paranoid schizophrenic
In my ignorance at the time, I thought these sort of people went around stabbing folk and generally acting out of control.

Label number 2 - Schizophrenia
They decided to lose the `Paranoid' probably because the medication I was on subdued me so much I became slow and shuffled around minding my own buisiness.
There was also a time when the term Psychotic Schizophrenic was brandished about. This was when hallucinations were involved.
I was sectioned in 1994 and spent ten months in hospital. This is when I got...

Label number 3 - Schizo-Affective Disorder.
I also have a diagnosis of Disassotiative Fugue.This is when I sleepwalk with absolutley no recollection of where I have been or what I have done. One doctor said I had a wide spectrum of illness. So was schizophrenia amongst them or were they all just classed as schizophrenia.

Despite all the diagnosis I have been given over the years, I have always been an independant, intelligent and capable human being.

To get to the point, being `officially' schizophrenic has caused me problems in the past. When I was first diagnosed I lost a lot of "better" friends. Living with it proves to me that there is a definate stigma that goes along with it. It's behind most murders on the news, when it turns out that it has been carried out by someone who happens to be schizophrenic.

What I find most disturbing is when I'm at the dentist and the like where I have to give a list of medication. Because I take a lot of different meds and also have a depo injection I am often asked what they are for. When I tell them I have a diagnosis of schizophrenia my credability goes straight out of the window. Some on hearing this look right over my head as if I had disappeared and start to speaking to whoever I am with, or, even worse they tend to talk louder and slower if I am on my own. I find this deeply irritating. I rang the emergency dentist once and was told I wasn't allowed to go because it was out of hours and I had no one to accompany me. What did they think I was going to do?

I tend to avoid telling people that I have Schizo-Affective Disorder mainly because if they asked me what it was I wouldn't have a clue what to tell them!

I find that a lot of people think schizophrenia is a split personality or some sort of Jekyl and Hyde syndrome. All I know is that it can be very difficult to live with and the symptoms are so varied it's all too easy to put us in one big pigeon hole. I believe you could get at least another ten new seperate diagnosis out of the one schizophrenia diagnosis we have at the moment.