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UOKM8? - From My Experience: Schizophrenia

UOKM8? - From My Experience: Schizophrenia

First up, what is schizophrenia? Well, according to mental health charity, Mind, schizophrenia is a condition where you could experience delusions and hallucinations among others. It is not split personality.

But, what does that mean in real life? Musician Shocka and mental health campaigner Jonny told LADbible.

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Shocka admits that explaining the condition is pretty tough, and he was actually misdiagnosed back in 2012 with manic depression.

Jonny explained what he feels like when he gets psychotic. He said: "When I get psychotic, I think I'm being watched by everyone and I'm so paranoid."

He also occasionally experiences delusions, too. He said: "I've had delusions about thinking I'm the Messiah and I thought I was a reincarnation of Nina Simone."

Jonny added: "When I'm psychotic, it's like I'm trapped. If I don't say these things, bad things will happen and I've got to walk in certain ways and I can't stop myself."

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So, what impact might schizophrenia have on someone's life?

When Shocka and Jonny were initially diagnosed, they worried that they wouldn't be able to function in society and all their dreams and ambitions would have to be set aside.

However, Shocka realised that, despite an initial reluctance to take medication, they've helped him dramatically. He explained: "In reality, it's manageable."

Shocka found that coming from an African background hindered his ability to discuss his condition with his parents, as they see it as a taboo subject.

Jonny related to this and added: "It's the worst thing to keep hiding it, to keep putting a mask on. You've just got to be open."

Despite the initial struggle to open up to his parents, Jonny is now able to call his dad whenever he's feeling bad. He said: "It's so different now that I'm so open."

This leads to the question; how can you help someone you know who has schizophrenia?

Sometimes, having schizophrenia can feel overwhelming in a social situation, especially if those around you are just waiting for the next episode to happen. Fortunately, Jonny and Shocka have mates they feel comfortable around who aren't afraid to give them a bit of banter.

Shocka believes that being able to laugh with them is key. He said: "We laugh about it, so that's a good thing. I feel like most people who are in the same situation we are don't have that."

Jo Loughran, director of Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma campaign, says that focusing on feelings, rather than trying to correct beliefs is important if your mate is experiencing hallucinations or delusions.

She said: "Disagreeing with them may cause them to stop communicating with you all together or make them feel more scared and alone.

"Try explaining that while you do not share the same experiences of beliefs; you do understand how they are making them feel, and that you would like to help."

Learning to come to terms with the condition can be hard, but Shocka and Jonny believe that you can learn to love yourself and live a normal life if you accept that you have to put the work in over time.

UOKM8? is a campaign by LADbible, featuring films and stories that provide advice and inspiration on mental health. Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Let's talk mental health.

MIND: 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans: 116 123.

CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.

Topics: UOKM8, Schizophrenia

Mark Cunliffe

Mark is a writer at LADbible with a creative writing background and a history working at some of Manchester's biggest agencies. He loves football and music that screams a lot.

 

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