the United Kingdom
From the United States
The Stigma of Mental Illness / Z. from
the United Kingdom reports:
It was nearly 4 years ago when my world was turned upside-down by mental
illness. It was later confirmed that I had suffered a paranoid psychosisan
illness under the umbrella of schizophrenia.
I suffered delusions of persecution and grandeur which became increasingly
bizarre as the days progressed. I heard voices, attempted suicide and
did not trust anyoneincluding the police and doctors as I believed
they were all involved in a conspiracy against me. I thought my family
had been murdered.
After 2 weeks of living my worst fears I
was sectioned and received treatment which I responded well to. Within
a week it was agreed that I was OK to go home. It was then that the fight
back began. I was still heavily paranoid and extremely depressedI
found it impossible to get out of bed in the mornings and felt that life
was not worth livingbut I had determination, and with the support
of my friends and family I slowly recovered from such a horrific illness.
And thats what it isan illness
which many people do recover from. Why then is there so much stigma? Many
people falsely believe that all sufferers of schizophrenia are dangerous.
Maybe to themselves perhapsbut in reality there is only a small
minority who are dangerous. Others believe that schizophrenics never recover
from their illnessthat they remain deluded for the rest of their
life. How untrue. The recovery rates are getting better all the time.
The numbers of schizophrenics suffering the illness as a chronic disorder
are getting fewer all the time as new drugs work wonders and help balance
the chemicals in the brain.
The myth of a bad family upbringing needs to be dispersed too. I had great
family relationships, was successful and happy as a child and young person
and had everything going for me. An illness such as schizophrenialike
any illnesscan affect anyoneregardless of family background.
A year onone friend of the family
asked my Mum Hows your funny daughter?
This is why I am speaking out. My success
story needs to be told to help other sufferers realise that there is light
at the end of the tunnel, to prove to non-sufferers that I was only ill
and like many others before mehave recovered.
When someone mentions they have a mental
illness dont veer away from us. Find out what it was like if we
are open enough to talk about it. Respect us for coping with such a difficult
and life changing experience. Learn from us.
4 years on I am back to my old selfbut
with renewed wisdom and empathy for others. I work full time in marketing,
own my own house, have a hectic social life and live every day to the
full for you never know whats around the corner. For all of us.
For more information, contact us.