Photography © Kasia Derwinska

It’s been thirty-seven years since I was diagnosed. And things have really changed a lot. I myself have changed. It is not just that medication to deal with a schizophrenic disorder has improved. It’s me that takes things more calmly.

Biology helps. When you’re twenty you’re loaded with hormones. Impressions from reality are more intense. I do not mean that at fifty-five you’re a zombie, but things do not impact me as before.

And with the first outbreaks, that let you realize you do not live in reality, it is more painful. When you think that you have had a conversation that has not taken place, when you have hallucinations, when you spend hours and hours in a world that is not real, you really have a bad time.

I fell into a chronic depression. I could not study. I could not work. I did not live in this world. And on many occasions I fully realized that it was thus impossible to do the normal things of life. I worked, but it was very hard and I had to take a lot of sick leaves. My relationships were not going well. I thought we had telepathic relationships and I did not talk for hours. Or imagined strange mysticisms and various spells.

A psychologist told me that from the age of forty the positive symptoms (delusions, hallucinations) diminish. I think I am getting through it.

I still have severe symptoms of my mental disorder, but I do not pay much attention to them. When I spend four or five hours believing myself to be the Messiah, I try to laugh at myself and overcome it as quickly as possible. Or as when I think I’m involved in a kidnapping and fighting around me. I have so much practice with these delusions that I find it easier to return to the real world. Maybe it is some sort of resignation, or my experience after so many hardships, but all these symptoms do not depress me now and I do not worry about them.

At least, I enjoy life a bit when I’m okay. Just a few hours of tranquility is a pleasure. This peace of mind has influenced my delusions. They are now more euphoric than depressing. And in the end, regardless of the problems that may arise from the delusions, I prefer to be euphoric than depressed.

In my case, I think I have gained experience over the years and that I have more patience with myself. Whenever I can, I leave my delirium and lead a more normal life. I have identified situations that cause me problems and I avoid them or face them with more confidence.

I think it is vital not to lose hope that things can improve. Because it’s real.

Fèlix Rozey