Saturday, 15 October 2011

Unhappy Birthday Schizophrenia

Hello again

And I was supposed to be having ' A day or two off'.  I just wrote an answer to my friend's comment from yesterday (a different friend from the one I referred to in the blog post itself).  Then turned to my email to find about seven emails from Rethink Mental Illness.  (All on the same subject.  Last time it happened we got a letter of apology through the post, signed by the chairman himself.  Note to Rethink, this is a waste of your resources.  We understand that computers have blips.  We don't take it personally).

The email was asking for volunteers to help with an 'Unhappy Birthday Schizophrenia' campaign.  The email was so timely, given my recent upset on the schizophrenia subject, that I am determined to join the campaign.   Even though it means cutting a family holiday short.

So I already feel energised, and am back on my mission.  I think yesterday's confusion was caused by me forgetting that when I say, 'I have a diagnosis of schizophrenia' people assume that I am saying 'I have schizophrenia'. 

Which I am not saying, because there are so many conflicting ideas of what schizophrenia is, what is does, how long it lasts for, whether a person can ever recover.  When I was diagnosed I was told by a team of psychiatrists that I would have to be on medication for ever, and would get worse as I got older.  A nurse from the same establishment (who married a patient with the same diagnosis) told me later that the term 'Schizophrenic Burnout' is well known - that even floridly ill patients recover by the time they are about fifty - the illness just wears itself out). 

The term itself is useless - there is no test for the illness, so who is to say whether it really exists.  There is no medication or operation that cures it completely.  And people who do get better are reluctant to admit to ever having 'had' it, for obvious reasons.  It is a muddle.  And my friend who commented yesterday was right - I can't say what is true of anybody else with the diagnosis.  It is hard even to be confident about myself, sometimes.  It is Paul's constant reiteration that I am normal that helps me most.

Anyway.  Thank you Rethink, for pulling me out of my trough of despair this morning.  I will be happy to help with your campaign, if you will have me.

Louise x

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