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My Journey with Schizophrenia
For the last 8 years (since age 33) I have been experiencing mental health issues – and was
diagnosed with schizophrenia and mild depression. While there have been many ‘down’ moments, I
have discovered a lot of good out of it as well. For instance, for the last two years I have been living
independently. Around May this year I will move to my permanent home in Homesglen – a brand
new apartment! This is my journey with schizophrenia.
In thinking about it from my illness’ perspective, I can only wonder what it was like for them on that first day?
“…What was that? Who am I? Who is that with the big loud booming voice in here with us? She says she is Lynette, a human being on planet earth. I can’t see her and don’t see with her eyes but see images through the brain. I don’t hear with her ears but interpret the vibration.
I repeat everything that she says, and sometimes ask what was it that I said. I don’t know this funny English language and ask what every word means. I forget things daily and go through this same routine.
By the way my voice sounds she calls me ‘that’ or ‘this’ person – but I am not really that person. How can I make sense of all this?” And as the days blended and went by; days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. We got used to each other slowly, I guess. Though things were unpleasant to start with when you used to swear at me, or tease me or even suggest that I hurt myself (which I never did obey). I was desperate to get rid of you and I was constantly changing medications (seemingly at the same speed that I was changing Doctors – in the public system). I’ve a story to tell about Clozapine as you might remember? At the time we were reading a book called ‘the quiet room’ about one lady’s journey with schizophrenia. In this book, Lori had tried Clozapine and had had success…and with you still at your worst, I thought why not give it a try? You actually encouraged this change and didn’t even stop me. So I made the change to Clozapine…when we started on it, we had to go to the local clinic to be monitored hourly for that first day. All seemed okay, so we must have got to go home at the end of that day. That must’ve been Friday, by Sunday we were just lying on our bed the whole day, having trouble breathing. We were taken to Box Hill Hospital’s ‘heart ward’ and we were monitored very closely and hooked up to a large heart-monitoring machine. We was immediately taken off the clozapine and put back on something ANYTHING else (of our previous medications). We were actually told that we nearly died, though it wasn’t said in black and white…we stayed in hospital about a week, and then got to come home!
These days, we seemingly get along quite well with one another (& actually eagerly look forward to
the future and all that it will hold!), you could say we even live in harmony.
WHAT IS IT? Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease. Approximately 1 percent of the population develops schizophrenia during their lifetime – more than 2 million Americans suffer from the illness in a given year. Although schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency, the disorder often appears earlier in men, usually in the late teens or early twenties, than i
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