This seems the hardest information to provide. From a young age I was often depressed and found school and my family situation hard to cope with. I failed academically and became frustrated with life. I could never seem to ‘withhold’ the information that was taught at school and experienced low self esteem and confidence. I was very disruptive, so much, that I was often threatened with being expelled and on at least two occasions I was suspended from senior school. This disruption was a reaction to being unsupported and bullied in my home life. Bullied both physical and emotional from father and mother.
I am a twin to Duncan and elder brother to Byron. My own personal beliefs about the origins of my own schizophrenia, I feel, were caused by my upbringing. I had a very difficult childhood and my parents had the ‘open belief’ that the 1st born, my twin Duncan, was the strongest and the more intelligent and the most likely to succeed in life.
This caused me to feel very isolated and unsupported in my home environment and being very aware of my parent’s attitude, did cause me to become ‘overly’ concerned about how people viewed me.
My parents would openly discuss and promote my brothers academic achievements, they would openly discuss my lack of achievement. There was no recognition or acceptance of my situation and on various occasions I can recall trying to tell my mother I felt like crying and felt very sad in life. My mother’s response was to tell me I was ‘selfish’ and people who were depressed were very ‘selfish’ people. So, from a young age, I learnt not to talk or express my emotions. It was wrong to do so. Inevitably this came out in disruption at school.
It was a 'cry for help' from someone who did not know how to express their emotions. Numerous times I ran away from home when young and stayed with school friends.
This attitude from my parents also, I feel, holds the origins of my ‘fear of persecution’ a later symptom of my schizophrenia.
One of the voices I had to deal with in 'later life' was the voice of my mother, which would always 'present' itself in an aggressive scornful way. I would feel her presence in my thoughts and see her in my mind cursing and swearing at me, judging my actions and thoughts in a very negative way.
Her presence in my mind, has now ceased. This was achieved when I broke all ties with family for over 10 years. Breaking ties helped me to control my symptoms. It also helped to give me a new life and to realise my own potential.
I believe now that ‘Talk is a cure’ and feel that my condition in later life was 'enhanced' by the lack of communication and care shown towards me in younger life. I know now that if only better communication was available with greater understanding of my needs as a child, then maybe in the future, pain and confusion could have been prevented. I needed a ‘Thought Sorter’ as a child, something my parents should have offered, instead of the emotional bullying and emotional abandonment I received.
Now, in present time, I have the best relationship I have had with my family. This is on the understanding I do not talk about my past or in depth about my diagnosis. The relationship is on their terms. I believe my family have recognised what I have been through emotionally and do recognise their negative impact on my life, but to get them to communicate with me about my experiences, is still impossible.
Although this is still sometimes very hard, I have accepted sometimes closet doors need to remain shut for progress to be made.
Part of my healing process with my family, was learning to stand in their shoes, know their fears, understand why they acted the way they have done towards me during both child and my adult life.
In short, I come from a family of successful business people, successful architects and designers. My condition breaks the mould. I remind my family about imperfections within my family, and this puts fear in their bones!