'Himalayas in Blue'

'Himalayas in blue' a representation of my 'journey'

What is schizophrenia to me? It is beautiful and creative, destructive and confusing. It is very misunderstood, enlightening and intriguing; it is the brightness of day, the darkness of night. It is full of stigma and discrimination and sometimes pushes the boundaries of understanding towards the mind and its capability. It has taken life and given life. It is compassion, it is heartbreak, it is my greatest teacher!

I can, still to this day, experience a low level of ‘fear of persecution’ and worry of impending unseen trouble. But is that a natural emotion we all experience from time to time?

I have a solid belief that my own paranormal/psychic beliefs should have never played their part in my diagnosis. It is my own right to believe in whatever I want to believe and no ‘body of people’ should attempt to take my own beliefs away from me or anyone! and tell me I am 'ill' for having those beliefs! 

I was paranoid and in fear of my life when diagnosed but there was a truth behind my paranoia that was never dealt with. It has only been psychiatry that treated my fears as delusional. I have met with people in my lifetime, involved in the military, involved in government; journalists who have worked in the USSR, all have agreed that because of the climate at the time, it is likely there was a truth to my concerns.

I have always accepted my diagnosis and it has been devastating. In hindsight, I do not believe, at time of diagnosis, I was as severe as the psychiatrist made me out to be and believe I was very unfortunate to meet with a very ignorant and uncaring mental health team. I became more devastated with life after psychiatric intervention. Having read my psychiatric notes, at time of diagnosis, the psychiatrist was clearly not listening to me and life events have clearly been very misinterpreted and misreported.

As I look back, I am not sure my past experiences would be diagnosed with schizophrenia nowadays, with a more 'understanding and aware' mental health professional. My main experiences back in the early to mid 90's consisted of extreme anxiety, depression and paranoia. My internal Voices were triggered by stress, anxiety, and not knowing how to fully express my fears openly.

Time taught me how to deal with my symptoms. Time taught me how to deal with my paranoia and my life was not in danger, I had to educate myself. I had to learn about my voices, what they represented, the triggers and the more I taught myself with my own insight, who they were and why they existed, the weaker the voices became.

Nothing was taught to me by any mental health professional. My recovery has been a journey of self discovery!

Medication has helped. Incorrect medication harmed me greatly both emotionally and physically. Correct medication helped me to relax and to find a much needed solid sleep pattern. With sleep and a calmer mind, I began to find the strength to heal myself. But it took years.

I believe there are experiences relating to my diagnosis that ‘one day’ will not be viewed as mental illness!

The only ‘true experts’ are those with lived experience!

I have not met one ‘mental health professional’ who understands me or my experiences. I have met many with lived experience who do!

The biggest difficulty I still have to face in life is stigma!

My travels to the Himalayas have helped me greatly!

I am an activist because too many people are hurting. Activism is necessary for change, it needs doing!

Although I would not want to experience my past again, I am thankful for my journey in so many ways and the knowledge I have gained!

I am proud of my diagnosis and believe there are so many qualities attached to it, that as yet, are not fully recognized. I am proud of those who share my diagnosis and the way they conduct their own lives under such difficult circumstances. The vast majority of people I have met, diagnosed with a mental illness, especially that of schizophrenia, are the most insightful, caring, loving and understanding people I have been fortunate to meet in my life.