These Surprising Things You Only Know If You Have Schizophrenia

Like 1 in 100 people, I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.Contrary to what some believe, I don’t run around wielding an axe and I’m not dangerous (expect perhaps to myself when unwell).There are many myths and fears about schizophrenia, and quite a few things that only someone with this illness can ever truly ‘get’.Here are a few.

  • Hallucinations or hearing voices : Sometimes the ground feels soft beneath my feet or it feels like my knife and fork are soft too.These are called tactile hallucinations.Other people hear voices, or see things that aren’t there.
  • Sleep obsessions : I learnt in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that sleep deprivation can cause psychosis and mean we see, hear or feel things that aren’t there.With this in mind I get nine hours of sleep a night.
  • A working knowledge of medication : Or meds as we call them.Many with schizophrenia will have tried out a multitude of medications, with the help of a psychiatrist, to ease symptoms.So we know all the names of all the drugs.
  • The benefits system :  Once you’ve been incarcerated in an asylum, and off work, you get to learn about all the different benefits to keep you afloat while ill.Employment Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independent Payment and Housing Benefits.
  • We all hate Iain Duncan Smith The Tories are axing these benefits for the sick and disabled.Often our claims for benefits are rejected, even though we can’t work, and we all hate the Secretary Of State For Work And Pensions because of this.
  • It’s a disability thing Professor Stephen Lawrie, Head of Psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh once said ‘mental illnesses are the most disabling of conditions affecting mankind.’Schizophrenia is one of the most severe mental illnessnes.
  • You can’t see it, but many think of ourselves as disabled. I do.
  • They’re both heroes for us and will be discussed with a loving smile.
  • Cigarettes According the Lancet Psychiatry, it is known that many of us smoke and a lot more than the average smoker.Reasons unknown.
  • Why me?
  • There are other unknowns in having schizophrenia – no-one knows for sure why we have it and others don’t.Some of us take the medication, others don’t.
  • But one thing is vital – please don’t treat us differently from anybody else.