Sunday, 22 January 2012

Schizophrenia Shared

Greetings all

A problem shared is a problem halved, as they say.  And although I should not be blogging on a Sunday morning, because I have a family to look after, I am writing to the background hums and rumbles (very loud and distracting rumbles and hums) of the dishwasher and washing maching, both of which I have just loaded.  The girls are out, the boys are playing nicely in the conservatory (Daddy is building them a train track).  The dogs are in the garden.  Yes, I said dogs, plural - we have borrowed a male friend for our female, hoping that puppies would be the result of the friendship.  However, it looks as though the desired result is unlikely, without going into doggy details.

Anyway, I have been surfing the net for about half an hour now, and feel that I have earned that time.  The trouble I have at the moment though is that there are so many things I want to be doing that I have no decent period of time to devote to any of them.  So I am speed reading stuff that really I would like to be able to slow down and absorb properly.

I just came across the most fanstastic blog, 'Spiritual Recoveries'.  Here's the link:

I am not sure how I missed this one before.  I have read another blog written by the same person - the Jungian approach to psychosis one.  Now I have found this one I am delighted, but linked to it are two more blogs written by the same person, which are now required reading for me.  But where will I find the time?

I am going to have to start a more methodical approach, recording everything I have read and the things I want to research further.  It is all so fascinating, and I do want to be part of the movement to get all this information out there.  I am dismayed that so many people still don't realise the potential for cure of serious mental illness.

I have also recently come across (in the virtual world) Dr Daniel Fisher, of the National Empowerment Center.  I was stunned to read his story of how, once he had recovered from 'schizophrenia' and qualified as a psychiatrist himself, his credibility was challenged by others in the profession.  First he was assumed to have been misdiagnosed, then he was termed a 'damaged physician'.  His experience encapsulates all that I feel - how hard it is to be publicly well.  Part of me is very happy to think that perhaps I never had schizophrenia - something that a psychiatrist and a psychologist (friends who have read my book) both suggested to me this week.   But I know that I was as unwell as anybody else who has ever been forcibly incarcerated in a mental hospital has been.  I was completely mad, and I fulfilled all the diagnostic criteria to be labelled schizophrenic.

Which does not mean that it was the right label.  It is a wrong label, for everyone who is burdened with it.  Here is another link, to an article by somebody who can explain herself far more clearly than me on this one:

Part of me thinks now - my work is done.  All these other people have had the same experiences, they are fighting for the rest of us.  Nobody needs my memoir, or my blog that is half stuffed with my journey of discovery into the alternative mental health world, half with my meanderings about family life and my battle with my bunions.  But actually, I know I still need to do my bit, because there have been people out there for decades saying the same thing - psychiatry has got its wires crossed, people are not recovering when they can and should.  And the message is not getting through, because the people who do recover are either discounted or they never reveal themselves because they know the difficulty they will have in getting their message across.

No, I am not schizophrenic.  No, I never was.  But nor is that girl somewhere in a hospital near here who is going to be given the same diagnosis tomorrow, or that young man who was given it last week.  Mental distress is frightening, and it is hard to understand, but it is not the end of the world.  Time will heal, and patience, and hope.  And it is our duty as humans - and my duty as a survivor of the system - to keep on passing this message on.

So in the last week or two I have been busy handing out the business cards that Paul printed for me and gave me as a birthday present three months ago.  The ones that I initially felt embarrassed about because they have the dreaded word 'schizophrenia' on them, plastered across my photo with my name underneath.  I am going to keep giving out these cards.  I feel pride now instead of shame when I hand them over, because I hope that they will lead somebody in the right direction - to this blog and from here to others on the same subject-  away from the misery of a psychiatric diagnosis and towards their life as it should be lived: in peace and with joy.

Louise x


  1. Hi Louise,

    I just finished reading your book yesterday, in about a day, as i couldn't put it down! Thanks for sharing your story, I have no doubt that many people will benefit greatly from reading it and/or following your blog.


  2. Sophie, I really appreciate your comment. I wanted to reply earlier but my computer has been playing up today. I do want to help people and I will be really happy if the book has that effect. Thank you again. All the best, Louise.