Testimonies

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

 

 

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.

Life may have been different if my dad had help

Kerri Lynn
This is my story.. My father was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his 20s. I never really understood "what was wrong with him" when I was young. I didn't really have friends over to the house - back then I felt ashamed or embarrassed. All I could think was what if he starts laughing or crying for no reason in front of them. Or what will they think of me having a dad who hears voices. I kept quiet about my dad's "disease" to most. Only a few very close friends knew. This was the late 80s and the 90s.

It's nothing, it's rubbish, it's not good enough

David Miller
I am writing with testimony for you to use in your enquiry and share with others as a part of the work that you are doing. I am diagnosed with schizophrenia and before that with psychotic disorder. I hate the expressions as they disempower us more than just a little. I feel it is insulting and disempowering to be called these things. We have lives to live without being given a label which seems to do little but attract prejudice and false compassion. I am a Voice Hearer, and that is how I would like to be called, or it said I have a special mind.

The label stripped me of power to self-advocate

Anonymous
I had a nervous break when I just turned fifteen. I had been having issues for a year prior, and then it all came crashing down after my birthday at boarding school, during winter. My parents kept me at home for a couple weeks to see if my symptoms would abate, then sought a psychiatrist. I was then hospitalized because my parents thought I was sick enough. I recall being completely depressed, detached, and removed from reality. The confusion is whether or not I have Bipolar or Schizophrenia.

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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