Monday, 5 October 2015

Schizophrenia and the Library

World Mental Health Day is on 10th October- just a reminder of few important facts: 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. We probably all work or know with someone experiencing a mental health problem. 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem. People with a mental illness are more likely to be a victim of violence. 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination and nearly three in four young people fear the reactions of friends when they talk about their mental health problems. (for more information visit time to change.

badge/one page book, for the project The Homeless Library.

During our project 'The Homeless Library', we are meeting many people who talk about their mental health problems, some talk about their health conditions with embarrassment, many share their stories frankly. This week I met a man who described how it felt to live with schizophrenia- a mental illness that many of the public are particularly scared of-  and will affect 1 in every 100 of us.

"Give up me first flat up because of my mental health. I got diagnosed with schizophrenia about 8 years ago. Started when I was a kid, I had memories of it going back to when I was 9.  Me mum and dad used to say there was something wrong with me, they symptoms started at an early age- paranoia, anxiety, problems with stress and you’re taking on different characters in your mind. It was horrible till I got diagnosed- then I could get some help- an injection every month, flupentixol- never come off it now.

Used to say I could hear voices- when I was 9- but I was just lying on my pillow and hearing my own heart beat. But when your schizophrenic you think its so real- you believe you’re the character that you’ve took on. Mine? Like a military type of person, I used to think I had rank over other people. I spent 13 years in prison as well- a third of my life on different medicines, with no diagnosis till I got out of prison. They tried me on anti-depressants, all sorts, but I should have been on anti-psychotics.  It weren’t a pleasant time in prison, being un-well, un-diagnosed. The prison doctors don’t diagnose, they leave that to the outside world. It can be really frightening, because you believe its so real.

But I have a worker now, CPN, Community Psychiatric Nurse, she explains to me, tells me about schizophrenia and I can tell when my own mental health is deteriorating, I can get some help.

A chemical imbalance, hereditary as well, my brother has it to- and they say if you live around Schizophrenia long enough you can become one. My older brother found out a year or to later than me that he has it, I think my mother has but she has never had help, never admitted it.

They’re trying to get me into Stockport Supported Tenancy- housing with a support worker, they help you do your shopping, pay your bills. I come here (The Wellspring) to have a brew, chill out. I don’t feel ill when I have my medication. Some people I don’t tell them I’m Schizophrenic, feel it would have a negative effect on them'.

Thanks again to all the people who share their stories to the Homeless Library so generously and with such openness. The Homeless Library project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

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