I saw my first therapist at age 19 in1980. It was my very first contact with the mental health system. But looking back and having my mom verify it, I can see that I was in the early stages of schizophrenia when I was 17 or 18. Anyway, the purpose of this thread is to maybe give someone in the throes of intense, unrelenting, psychotic symptoms a little glimpse into another schizophrenics point of view, a different perspective or paradoxically maybe you can relate to what I’ve been through and know your not the only one and that we have similar points of view Or maybe this will give a LITTLE relief ,or hope.
But like I said, I was seeing a therapist at age 19. Once a week I went to the clinic to talk to this young, cute, nice therapist. She was SO nice and sexy (remember I was 19! ), I just wanted to sit and stare at her. Among other things. Enough of that. I saw her for six months. I was great at hiding how sick I was and actually I wasn’t even aware of how sick I was. But after six months a meeting was called for the head psychiatrist, my therapist, my parents, and me. It was decided then and there that I would be put in a psyche ward that was a hundred miles away. I remember my therapist cried because she had no idea I was that bad off. It wasn’t her fault.
Anyway, my parents drove me there. While in there I became psychotic. I thought it was because of the meds they gave me. I guess I’ll never know for sure. Anyway, I was in SO much mental anguish; I could barely walk, I felt like I was on the verge of totally losing my sanity, and in that state of mind I stayed for the next two and a half years. My mental problems during that time were excruciating, unrelenting, intense, and scary. Impossibly bad. I had my little incidents in the psyche ward. Met a girl, got her phone number, talked a little to a couple people, went jogging with a counselor, played chess, shot pool. Anyway from there my parents arranged for me to move into a world-famous house for schizophrenics called Soteria House.Their premise was treating schizophrenia with no meds and no doctors and counselors who had no training in counseling, but were friendly and just hung out with us schizophrenics. I deteriorated rapidly. De-compensation they call it. I can’t find enough adjectives to describe the hell I went through.The only thing that saved me was my family. They often visited me, or I visited them. My dad worked in the area and he came and we sat in his truck on his lunch break and we talked. We talked about what I was going through, life, death, suicide, girls, delusions. I could tell him anything. I should say right here that my wonderful father passed away 5 years ago. I owe my life to him. I still have days where I still find it hard to believe that he is realy gone. But in those days I felt like giving up frequently but my dad wouldn’t let me. He didn’t give up on me. From my point of view, I saw no light at the end of the tunnel.I had no hope or evidence that I would EVER get better. I had no guarantee that I would get better.
I spent a year there. From there my parents put me in a locked psychiatric hospital where they put me on the maximum dose of prolixen and I stayed there 8 months.Showed no improvement, suffered with a 100 other patients. Saw some weird, bizarre behaviour. Actual physical violence was rare but starting after breakfast the screaming started, and it lasted until dinner. Also yelling and arguing. Non stop every day. The hospital had a geriatric unit and those people yelled and argued the most. I will edit this. I went from there to a beautiful Residential Treatment Home in an affluent city near Stanford University. It was in one of the best neighborhoods, It was highly structured from morning until night. Chores, cooking, groups, game time, all mandatory for every client at the same time each day. After 9 months there (I was 22 by this time) I got a job. I ended up staying there 4 years. But yeah, once I was out of the hospital I made some great strides in my recovery. My job, functioning in the household, recreation, and fun returned. It’s a great argument for how much environment plays a part in schizophrenia. I was still suffering intense symptoms plus side effects from the meds.
But I moved out of there into semi-independent living. I shared a house with 3 other schizophrenics with a counselor on call if an emergency happened. After about a year passed I was sure I would never be hospitalized again. I took my meds, and just kind of lived life. Don’t get me wrong, I still had problems like severe agoraphobia where I couldn’t leave the house. I was barely hanging on often every day. But by this time I had a car and a little money so I did some fun stuff. I will skip my drug days. I got addicted to crack in 1986. But anyway, in 1988 I relapsed. The crack probably played a part, and stress. So once again, unrelenting symptoms, hopelessness, couldn’t function. I had 5 or 6 hospitalizations in rapid succession. Hospitals were just like I remembered them.They sucked, but were necessary. My relapse took about two years to recover from. But I got another job, and I kicked my crack habit. I started going to school. I moved out and I lived independently, I had a car.I moved in with my sister. She invited me every where with her and her friends. I did a lot of stuff. Comedy clubs, airshows, the beach, weekly volleyball at a bar near my sisters house. Restaurants,parties. My point is obvious. Relapses can be temporary, they are survivable no matter how bleak it looks. Just do the footwork. See a therapist, take your meds, take a few risks. You see how far down I was but then came back up. The 'downs ’ of schizophrenia are not permanent. Keep an open mind, and try not to shut the door on the future. Leave your mind open to finding a friend or a girlfriend. Don’t tell yourself ‘never’ on things. I wil leave this with my favorite saying from AA. Some of you might recognize this, I use it often. " Don’t quit 10 minutes before the miracle happens". Good luck.