Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Starting Out

My husband was really scared just now when I was setting up this blog. I have never seen him quite like that before. Usually, he is the rock and I am the quaking limpet.

'People aren't going to like this' he told me. 'People don't want to see schizophrenia and school in the same sentence'.

But that is my whole point. There is so little understanding of mental illness out there, and to my mind schizophrenia is the least understood of all.

I am the schizophrenic at the school gate. I am also a loving wife and a devoted mother of four young children.

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I suffered a nervous breakdown at the age of nineteen. I recovered well from this illness, and was only told about the diagnosis when I was twenty-five, after my second breakdown. I was so badly affected by the label that I then withdrew from society for several years.

So no matter how many times I read now that schizophrenia is nothing to do with having a split personality (rather, the only divide is between the emotions felt and the outward display of those emotions, like laughing at moments of sadness) or that schizophrenics are no more dangerous than any other members of the general public, I know the potency of that single word.

In recent years I have lived my life to the full - I was lucky beyond belief to meet my wonderful husband and build a family with him. I have many friends, and a really active life. Yet I live in fear in case these friends should find out about my mental health history - I really feel that most of them wouldn't be able to cope with the information about my diagnosis and that some of them would go so far as to shun me.

I hope I am wrong. But I am going to cover my bets, and write this blog anonomously for now. It is about my daily life, and about the events which have led me to where I am now. I hope it may help someone - anyone who finds themself in the position that I was for years after my diagnosis, with the world tumbling to shreds around me and all my self-confidence vanished, as a newly labelled 'Schizophrenic'.

I will relate more about all this tomorrow.


  1. Hi Mrs. Gillett -

    I purchased your book through Kindle on Friday. I just finished reading it Monday. You are such a great writer. I couldn't put your book down the whole weekend. I love your use of words. My Deaf sister is diagnosed with schizophrenia and I'm hoping to learn more about her perception. Your book really helped me step into her shoes. I hope you continue writing - I look forward to it.

    Lots of love from Houston, Texas.

  2. Thank you so much Sol. I am really pleased that you enjoyed my book. Hearing from a satisfied reader is the best reward for writing. I will write more and hopefully eventually come up with something that I am as proud of as I am of this, my first book.

    I am sorry to hear about your sister but pleased to know that you are trying to understand the experience from her point of view. Please try not to let her get too hooked into the diagnosis - remind her that she is a human being and that we can transcend the bad things in our lives, given time and support.

    I wish you all the best, and thank you so much for getting in touch. I do hope you see this reply!

    Louise x