Illustration © Francesc de Diego

My name is Francesc and the purpose of this article is to make people conscious about how difficult is to live with paranoid schizophrenia, and the different way outs one can find.

Although I was diagnosed schizophrenia 12 years ago, at the age of 24, I believe that its eruption was earlier. Schizophrenia is an alteration of what you perceive from your senses, in a really negative and injurious way. It’s very self-referential because it’s your senses which perceive events, in an auditory, visual and even tactile way, in a really negative manner for yourself.

I would like to point to the triggers. It is said to be hereditary, biological, or environmental. Drugs are considered to be another risk factor. I consider that taking medicines during childhood, suffering from bullying since school period and the lack of empathy also could be risk factors. As could be legal drugs.

Personally, what I can say is that both perceiving hostility and taking medicines to stop it – is the kind of treatment more usual in Spain – generate much instability, susceptibility, and as long as you are sedate, you have low reflex. You can even fatten in a short time (it’s usual). There is also a lack of understanding, and usually, many prejudices towards a person who is at his worst. All of that makes you being removed from many environments and causes failure at school and at work.

Luckily, as in other different handicaps, you receive a pension and other “advantages” to balance this complicated situation. But, the most important thing is getting advice from the right professional.

Regarding hospitalization (total or partial), I would say that when it goes well, perfect; but if one feels itself pursued and in an unfriendly environment, it could be really counter-productive, even getting your situation worse. I went out of hospital with 20 more kilos, a diagnosis, and being a compulsive smoker. And I have to say I’ve had outbreaks when trying to leave tobacco.

Is it possible to hurt others when suffering schizophrenia? Is well known that someone considered normal is more dangerous than one affected by schizophrenia. But one can hurt itself: it is possible to commit suicide or at least try to do it, and that makes external support and empathy crucial for the treatment of the disease.

Schizophrenia is usually considered chronic. However, sometimes I consider that if one day I got into this problem, there should be an exit out there, without limiting the treatment to medicines that slow down the symptoms but that don’t cure the disease, if curable.

I think that healthy eating and regular exercise can reorganize the physical-mental equilibrium (of course with a favorable environment the less stressful the better). At the end of the day, the excess of negative stimuli can cause us to have heavy outbreaks.

Francesc de Diego

Note: I would like to point to the picture of this article. The person tied to the other two, trying to escape without success, is aggravating his situation of despair. The people at sides well could be parents, friends, or other people that far from helping are aggravating the situation.

“Atrapado”. 50 x 40 cm. Acrylic, charcoal, cuts and cord.