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

 

Does any label make sense in the world at large?

Roy Doré

My son, Paul, was given a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia some 10 or 12 years ago. It's been a long journey for him and his family and friends since then, or a long roller coaster ride that never ends would be a better description from my point of view! Paul is doing ok at the moment, he seems to have found a mix of medication that gives him some relief from "the voices" but they are always there in the background.

Even the best of us are 'messy'

Nicci

I have heard voices for as long as I can remember. This goes back to at least 5 years of age, along with it came some inappropriate behavior and outbursts. I was first given medication for ADHD and from my perspective it seemed to work really well for me but my mother decided to discontinue its use.

Once labelled, everyone sees you are 'delusional'

Paul Nosworthy

I have been labelled as Schizoaffective, I first started hearing voices when I was 14. It was during a time of great stress, fear and pressure when I was abused physically and drugged. I am told that these first few years were the prodromal phase of the condition; a precursory few years where things started to happen psychosis wise, these symptoms went largely unnoticed at the time. When I was 17, I got my first diagnosis of psychosis and first really and genuinely became disturbed because of hearing voices.

Living with 'hallucinations'

Yassin Zelestine

I was a university student in the 1990s. I am mixed race. My living conditions were poor.

When I finished university I went home to my parents and started working in London. I felt isolated and under pressure. I contracted a virus. I was very physically ill, which included auditory and visual hallucinations, and exhausted. Also, I was being bullied by these girls on the train to work. The hallucinations did not go away. Eventually I was taken into psychiatric hospital. I have been admitted three times.

The role of trauma and abuse

Anonymous

I had been in a relationship where I was assaulted several times. This experience was life shattering. I had trouble trusting men. I was traumatised and grieving but putting up a brave face. I was also suffering from a debilitating skin condition that had covered much of my body. After a period of time I started seeing someone else. To me he was my life raft. When I decided that my new boyfriend was a little strange and that he wasn't a stable person for me to build a life with, he got a sense that I wasn't interested in him and contacted my family "worried" about me.

Claiming the label, for different reasons

Grace

I was labeled paranoid schizophrenic at age 15 in 1967, but was not told my label or anything else (symptoms, etc.).

What is schizophrenia anyway?

Satii

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.

A lifetime prison sentence

Anonymous

I have suffered with something since puberty but it was not until the age of 20 when I was formally diagnosed, for the second time, with schizophrenia. Unfortunately it was the diagnosis at age 20 that stuck with me for 17 years. After I was given this firm diagnosis I was given Clozapine, a medication which, as you may know, you're supposed to be on for life.

No one cared about my traumatic experiences

Anonymous

I had been in a relationship where I was assaulted several times. This experience was life shattering. I had trouble trusting men, I was traumatised and grieving but putting up a brave face. I was also suffering from a debilitating skin condition that had covered much of my body. After a period of time I started seeing someone else. To me he was my life raft. When I decided that that my new boyfriend was a little strange and that he wasn't a stable person for me to build a life with, he got a sense that I wasn't interested in him and contacted my family "worried" about me.

Reaching mindfulness through psychotherapy and writing

Lia Govers

I am a Dutch-born woman, who lives in Italy since the age of 20, now there with her Italian husband and grown-up son. At the age of 18, after I left home, I already heard voices for a week, but at that time was still able to stop listening to them. I was very insecure like a child, was not 'grounded' like Alexander Lowen describes in his book 'The language of the body'. I have never been sure of the love of my mother..., felt always like a burden to her. At the age of 20 I left Holland, worked for 1 year like an au-pair and 19 years in a part-time job.

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