Schizophrenia - "People Say I'm Crazy"
by John Cadigan
have schizophrenia, which is a brain disease that usually hits most
severely when the brain reaches maturity—around 20 or 21 years old. I
had my first psychotic break when I was in my senior year of college
and have been disabled by the illness for over ten years now.
My official diagnosis is schizoaffective disorder, which means that in
addition to having symptoms of schizophrenia, I also have trouble with
depression. I'm lucky to have a very supportive family and a wonderful
doctor who have helped me learn how to live with my illness. The new
generation of anti-psychotic medications that became available in the
mid-1990s made a big difference.
I'm doing so much better now than during the first horrible years of
being sick. I have an art studio and am able to work a couple of hours
a day. I'm able to live on my own now, and one of my best friends lives
in my building. Lately I've become deeply interested in spirituality
and have found a wonderful spiritual director through my church.
Everyone with schizophrenia needs to know there is hope. This is what helped me:
- Find an understanding, kind doctor who knows a lot about schizophrenia and the latest treatments
advantage of local mental health services—sometimes they can help get
you a case manager, a social worker, housing and even employment
- Stop drinking alcohol and using drugs that aren't prescribed—they interfere with medication and make recovery almost impossible
as much as you can about the nature of the illness, and then study your
symptoms to figure out warning signs and ways to avoid bad episodes
*A Note from Forum
We found John on Twitter and we have been following him long
after this short article was found buried on DF. We greatly admire his
wonderful courage and his art.
See his website at "People say I'm
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