Wednesday, 2 December 2009

How I became a blogger

I had a restless night's sleep - partly the result of my son's coughing (we took him to the doctor yesterday morning and apparently his chest is clear, but listening to him last night you wouldn't have thought so), and partly because of the step I have taken in starting this blog.

I have been thinking about writing it for a while. I am over a lot of my history, realising that many people had terrible childhoods, and many people have current issues, but schizophrenia is the one bogey that I have not yet banished from my life.

I can't deny that I have it, much as I am tempted to. I had three breakdowns in eleven years, and was hospitalised each time. I am functioning well now, without medication, but there is always the fear that if I deny that the illness exists, I will leave the way open for its return. I recognise the signs of stress now, and the triggers - for example, I always try to make sure that I am eating properly, and sleeping well, and generally living an orderly life. Having a family to take care of makes all of this much easier - if I look after everybody else, then I am looking after myself too.

I am hoping this blog will help me to regain more self-confidence, as well as be informative for anyone else who is suffering or recovering from schizophrenia. Recovery is possible - I was given the bleakest prognosis imaginable by a team of psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals. I believed in their prediction of my future for a long time, but with some discipline and determination I have slowly worked my way forwards again, to the point where I believe you would have difficulty in distinguishing me from any other schoolgate Mum.

It is only my perception of myself that still lags behind - I persist in seeing myself as in some sense flawed, damaged by the illness, and perhaps even further by the label of it.

I often wish that schizophrenia could be re-branded; called something more acceptable, less frightening, much as manic depression is now known as bi-polar disorder. 'Nervous debility' was the term that my GP used to put on my sick notes - he claimed not to know how to spell schizophrenia, and shut his ears to my attempts to tell him. I should have taken the hint.

I am working against the clock - I have a seven year old daughter who is an excellent reader, and who may catch me at this blog any time. I do intend to tell my children my deep dark schizophrenia secret one day, but hopefully that will happen on my own terms. Apart from anything, substance addiction seems to run in my family, and since cannabis played a part in my downfall, they will need to be told about the risks.

If anybody out there finds any of this useful, please pass it on. I have read several other blogs on this subject, mostly American, and some of them are really informative and well written. (I particularly liked, and the websites of Rethink and Mind are also very helpful).

However, I think what distinguishes my experience is that I have found a way through - the others seem to be still suffering to some extent, though they may have learned to live with their voices, or manage well on their medication.

I have been well for more than ten years, without mediation, and although I am still wary of boasting about it, in case everything goes belly up, I think my experiences may be of help to others. I am sure I am not the only person to have recovered totally from the schizoexperience - maybe others are frightened, like me, of going public.

Tomorrow I will write a little about my background (and try not to give too much away!)

For now, my last comment is a useful hint - I hope. From what I can make out now, a lot of severe breakdowns involve religious elements, and it is not unusual to think that one is the Messiah or something similar. I sought out the mental hospital chaplain on one occasion when I was an inpatient suffering from very severe symptoms, and his advice to me as I was rambling on about goodness knows what was simple, 'Shut that door'. I took that to mean a door in my mind, and after that if I heard voices, or felt panic, or had other unpleasant experiences, I used to visualise that door closing, leaving me firmly in the here and now, and giving my mind no space to wander elsewhere.


  1. I have similar feelings about my perception and the perception of others. I've been ill since I was 12, starting out with anorexia and depression and ending with a recent diagnosis of bipolar. In high school I was always singled out as the mental girl. In college I was just "different" but in a seemingly "cool" way. Now I'm just me and people accept me for who I am regardless of mental illness. I just stopped caring in the end about what other people thought although I appreciate that peoples thoughts of our illnesses are different.

    Anyway, I'm rambling. Will be reading x

  2. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. You have a good attitude - I know that I am far too concerned about other people's opinions, and you are right not to care. In fact, I am going to start tomorrow's blog with an apology, for ranting on about my family in today's blog - although I did enjoy writing it, because it helped me to give form to some thoughts that have been milling around for a while. Thanks again.

  3. No need to apologise at all. It's your space to say what you want in. That's the genius of being anonymous. Take care x