My Journey and experience with Paranoid Schizophrenia (Psychosis)
I was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia (Psychosis) in February 2012 and hospitalised for the first time at just aged 18 because I went through a traumatic event when I was in college in Waterford in 2010/2011. I became extremely paranoid and believed everyone knew my face and extremely deluded because I believed the whole country knew my face and even people in England knew my face and to this day I still believe that and I have had to live with this belief ever since.
I got cyber bullied too before December 2014 which made things worse as I started to hear voices and hallucinate, something I never experienced before but it was quiet scary, in January 2015 so I dropped out of a college course and gave up playing soccer in which I love and I lost interest in everything as I couldn’t cope with the voices and the hallucinations. I became severely depressed too as a result. I became paranoid when watching a live TV broadcast from Ireland, for example the coverage of the Champions League on RTE 2 with Darragh Maloney, Eamon Dunphy, John Giles and Liam Brady. I truly believe they know I am looking at them and therefore they direct things at me on purpose. This is the same when I look at a live broadcast from England such as Gillette Soccer Saturday with Jeff Sterling and co. I started to believe people could read my mind and likewise with believing everyone knows my face I still to this day believe everyone on a live TV broadcast knows I am looking at them and that everyone can read my mind. I didn’t even go back hurling training in January 2015 either and I love hurling too. Hurling and soccer are my two favourite sports. The voices become very vicious at the end of February and March 2015.
I was hospitalised on the 27th February 2015 because I overdosed on paracetamol as I was hearing voices telling me to kill myself. I was discharged on the 20thMarch 2015 but I ended back up in Waterford hospital on the 31st March 2015 as I slit my wrist on this date. I stayed in hospital until the 30th April 2015. When I was in hospital during this time I went through another bad experience which made the voices worse. I ended back up in Waterford hospital again on the 26th June until 20thJuly due to the voices but I hadn’t attempted to take my own life this time round when I was hospitalised. I was sent straight to a Rehabilitation clinic called Tusnua in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford on the 20th July from Waterford hospital. I stayed here until the 2nd of October 2015. I spent 11 weeks in Waterford hospital in 2015 and 11 weeks in rehab in 2015.
In January and February I wasn’t socialising and I wasn’t sleeping and I was stuck in my room for these 2 months before I got hospitalised on the 27th February 2015. I taught these vicious voices would never go nor the hallucinations and that there was no hope for me whatsoever. But thankfully they have found a tablet that helps me although I do still hear voices but there not vicious and there manageable enough but sometimes I hear voices telling me to do and say bad things. I don’t hallucinate anymore. I have only hallucinated once whiles on medication. I wasn’t allowed do a course in the Swan centre in Wexford in September 2015 because it’s down on my medical report that I am violent and have aggressive behaviour due to the voices although I have never hit or assaulted anyone in my whole entire life and I wouldn’t be considered dangerous in any way.
There is a huge stigma attached to mental health. When people hear that someone has Paranoid Schizophrenia straight away they jump to conclusions and think that person is dangerous but that is not the case. In some cases it is but in the majority of cases that’s not the case. I know other people with Paranoid Schizophrenia and they wouldn’t hurt a fly and you can ask anyone who knows me and my soccer and hurling team mates and they will tell you that I am harmless.
I believe that everyone says the words perfect, absolutely and exactly on purpose whenever I’m around them and that it’s directed at me and that the people on a live broadcast on TV say these words on purpose too as they know I’m looking at them. I hold the same belief when it comes to people saying how’s it going, how are things and how yeah getting on as I believe all that is directed at me and said on purpose. I heard a voice saying I was perfect one night in January 2015 from my own sitting room in my house in Wexford. I believe the whole country knows I said that because there is something in the TV that transmitted that out to every other person in the country and everyone does this strange weird noise with their throat on purpose and they do a fake cough towards me and every time someone scratches themselves that is directed at me too even though they might just be doing it to relieve an itch. All of this is extreme paranoia but it annoys me big time especially when people say absolutely, exactly, perfect, how are things, how yeah getting on and how’s it going. The weird noise with the throat, the fake cough and the scratching annoys me too but I have to control my anger whenever this happens and try not let it get to me.
The paranoia affects me more now than the voices where as it used to be the voices that affected me more. The voices are manageable enough but they still annoy but not as much as they used to and likewise with the paranoia. One of the main problems with paranoid schizophrenia is you don’t what’s real and what’s not real. Take me for example I truly believe that everyone in Ireland and England knows my face from somewhere but psychiatrists and my family have told me that’s not possible and I’m just paranoid and delusional so therefore I have a massive problem believing that as I believe it’s 100 per cent true but this was also the case when I was hallucinating as I was seeing things and they were 100 per cent real to me but everyone was telling me there was nothing there so again I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t real as I was saying one thing but everyone else was telling me something different. I don’t hallucinate anymore though as the medication keeps that away.
There is hope from my story, although I still hear voices to this day and get paranoid watching a live broadcast from both Ireland and England on the TV and in public and believe everyone can read my mind, the medication that I am on which is Seroquel XR 800mg at night helps big time and more importantly it keeps away the vicious voices and I don’t hallucinate anymore. Sometimes a change in environment makes the voices worse and can cause me to hallucinate but I have only hallucinated once since I have been on medication and that was due to a change in an environment. Listening to music helps me too as it drowns out the voices. I find going for long walks whiles listening to music is very beneficial to me as it helps to relax me. I have just finished attending a psychotherapist in Dublin and I have regular meetings with my psychiatrist in Summerhill mental health clinic in Co. Wexford. I am due to see a psychologist in Summerhill shortly. I even went back playing soccer with my local soccer club Carne FC in August 2015. In the middle of my Rehabilitation process the Psychiatrist in Tusnua let me go back for the soccer trainings which was great and I was allowed to go back home to my home house in Wexford at the weekends whiles in Rehab which was good too as I was allowed go to the soccer matches with my local soccer club on a Sunday morning. I am now attending LINK in Enniscorthy Co. Wexford, 4 times a week. I started here on the 23rd November 2015 and continue to attend this to this day. It helps the mentally ill as there are different activities to do during the day. Back in January, February and March 2015 there would be no way in hell that I could do any of these.
Although I would like to have a full time job and that is what I am aiming for but as of right LINK is a good option for me because I am trying to deal with something that has an effect on my life as regards voice hearing and paranoia. I completed a 3 day course in Food and Hygiene on the 17th, 18th and 21st December 2015. This was a massive step for me to do this as I am still hearing voices but I got through it. I have applied to do a course in creating positive mental health too in which I hope to start sometime in January 2016.
Throughout my hospital stays I have met some extraordinary people and they said by me telling them my story that it helped them because they realised they weren’t on their own and they had someone who could understand and that was likewise with me. I have made lifelong friendships with these people. There is one girl in particular who has helped me a lot and it would be wrong of me not to mention her. I won’t disclose her name because she has the same thing as me and it’s a very personal issue. If she is reading this she will know it’s her.
Paranoid Schizophrenia (Psychosis) is bad whatever way you look at it. But you just have to keep your head up and things will get better because there is hope and I am living proof as I have come a long way since January, February and March 2015 when I attempted to take my own life twice.
I hope by me telling my story that it will help other people in some shape or form because if I can do it anyone can although I’m not 100 per cent right I have progressed a lot since January, February and March 2015 as I am looking into college courses and playing soccer every week. I hope to go back playing hurling this year too.
If anyone is reading this and is experiencing voice hearing and hallucinations and feels they can’t tell anyone because they don’t want to be judged or there too embarrassed to tell anyone because that’s the feeling I felt and it led me to attempting to take my own life twice but I was lucky where as you might not be so lucky. You can add me on Facebook and tell me and I won’t judge you one bit. I will try help you and encourage you to seek professional help. The name is Brian Scallan and my profile picture is me in the middle of Stephen and Noel Hunt
By Brian Scallan