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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Living with schizophrenia

Published: 09/10/2014

A 22-year-old man talks about events leading up to his being diagnosed with schizophrenia and how treatment is helping him rebuild his life.

As a bright 15-year-old, he had been about to embark on an academic path, when he became ill. He didn’t know he was ill and needed help, only that he had become paranoid. By the time he was 21, his paranoia had taken hold, he had made five attempts to take his life and he was in court for crimes he had committed in a state of psychosis.

Almost two years on, with ongoing treatment and support, he’s now the bright positive man he used to be. He sees his doctor regularly, takes his medication, is studying at a local college and is back is on track to a bright future.

He said: “My experience was terrifying and started when I was about 15. I thought people were plotting against me and planning to assault me. I wouldn’t go to certain places if I thought certain people would be there.

“Then, when I got to about 21 something happened which fed my paranoia and my thoughts. It was terrifying and I honestly thought I was going to die but I kept it all to myself.

“In treatment I started to understand I was in hospital for the right reasons and my doctor at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust talked me through things, helped me with my medication, and basically changed my life.

“I’m now feeling better within myself. I continue to see my doctor at the Trust. I always used to be a positive character who wanted to learn and do things for myself. I was in the top sets at school and predicted to get 10 GCSEs. I ended up with five.

“Now I want to change people’s perception of mental health. I want to show young African Caribbeans the stigma there is against mental health problems.

“Many see the hospital as a jail and it’s not like that. I want to say to people if you are showing signs of bad mental health, nip it in the bud, get there quick and go to your doctor.”