I am very sorry that you were treated like this.
My daughter was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in Poland, 2012. She was psychotic then - heard voices, suffered from delusions ( was thinking that I was going to kill her, then rob her, then keep her in the psychiatric ward as long as possible etc.). We both think now that she reacted with the psychotic shock to antimalarian drugs she took traveling to Africa and to a very serious personal trauma she suffered in Africa.
Doctors thought she was schizophrenic, end of the discussion.
Now she is fully recovered - without any symptoms about 1,5 year, no neuroleptics, no other meds. She works using her qualifications ( PhD), lives independently, pays her bills etc. It’s not all a bed of roses - she lives on her own, no friends really, no boyfriend, although she is a pretty and intelligent young woman. But then she was always very shy and kind of socially akward.
Back to the diagnosis: in Poland they can too slap it on you after some short time, watching ONLY their psychotic patient’s behaviour and talking to him/her, no other tests. This is irresponsible. They can ruin people’s lives with this quick diagnosing and putting a person on strong meds.
In the USA I believe it takes 6 months to diagnose.
In the manual I got from my husband ( he works for NHS Scotland) it is said, page 127:
‘‘It is important to remember that not all individuals who have psychotic experiences have a mental illness, Psychotic experiences such as hearing voices and suspiciousness or paranoia OCCUR IN THE GENERAL POPULATION, and to some extent are NORMAL AND UNDERSTANDABLE RESPONSE TO STRESSFUL LIFE EVENTS’’ ( it’s me who uses those capital letters, to make those important words more visible).
Have you suffered from major or long term stress before hearing that voice, Goggles?
I don’t think that diagnosis would be forever. I hope they will start reexamine their diagnoses.
However: if a judge says I stole something and I know I didn’t steal it I still treat myself as an honest person, not a thief. Even if other people say: ‘but the judge can’t be wrong!’ I know who I am. Doctors can be wrong the same as judges, the same as everybody else.