Stevie challenges some of the myths surrounding schizophrenia for Time to Change

Uploaded by ttcnow2008 on 19.01.2009

>> Stevie: When I was diagnosed with schizophrenia it was quite frightening for me.
So I can understand when other people are afraid. And I think that is the biggest thing I get from people is fear, mainly because of the images that they have received in the media.
Paranoid schizophrenia is best described as having hallucinations and hearing voices
and having what people call delusions. Which is where you think something is going to happen that isn’t going to happen.
But it is only during periods of illness that you actually have most of those experiences.
Outside of those times you have maybe mild symptoms or sometimes no symptoms at all.
One of the myths about schizophrenia is that people with schizophrenia are violent. But that couldn’t be further from the truth because I am a complete wuss.
And most people with schizophrenia are more likely to be violent towards themselves than they are to other people – or to be victims of violence.
My friends were not very understanding when I was first ill. And not very many of them are my friends now.
I wasn’t surprised by the way my friends reacted because I could understand their fear about schizophrenia. But I felt let down.
I was very lucky that my partner stayed with me and visited me every day. Even the bad days when I couldn’t face talking to people, he would still come and visit me
and that really got me through just knowing that he was there.
I use my experience of being gay – it is like coming out to people about your mental health. That is what it is like.
Just be patient and take people as you find them.
Sometimes when you are really ill you just haven’t got the headspace for having a conversation with someone.
But it is still really important to see someone for 20 seconds or you know, a minute just to know that they are there for you.
I think the biggest thing I can suggest to people is try not to look surprised. Because it is a real shocker when you say “paranoid schizophrenia” and people go “Uh?”
It would just be nice to see a normal face looking back at you.