SCHIZOPHRENIA Success Story: DIANE CULLEN & SCOTT BEDARD, Bonded by their demons

Schizophrenia Update, December 2002

Windsor Star
October 11, 2002 Friday Final Edition

By: Veronique Mandal Star Health-Science Reporter

On March 7, 2001 Scott Bedard began hearing voices that existed only in his head and it frightened him.

Asked by his mother to record what was happening to him, the 17-year-old wrote:

"I heard voices saying to pinch myself. ... I got mad and threw a fan because I got mad at the voices. I think people are making fun of me when they're not. I said shut up to my mom. ... I did not want to go to school because of the voices. I am scared of the voices. ..." He was sent home from Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital with a drug prescription and an appointment at the mental health clinic the following week. On March 8, Bedard heard a woman's voice in his head combined with a radio playing music and a beating sound. He wrote:

"The radio is still in my head even though I took my meds. ... I did not take a shower because the voices are telling me don't take it yet. .. The songs on the radio change every time. ... I grab the back of my neck for no reason. ..."

Bedard stopped taking showers, became withdrawn, wasn't responding to his parents and began missing classes.

A doctor increased his meds. On March 15 he wrote:

"After I took my meds I am hearing voices of both men and women. They are telling me to hit myself. I am scared."

After a year on risperdone, Bedard says he is doing better and can be around people for more than five minutes. Epival was added to his medications to still his racing thoughts because in a moment of uncontrolled anger he hit his brother.

His mother worries Scott, six feet and 230 pounds, will hurt his dad. "A lot of that is because of the meds," says Laura Bedard. Recently, her son began hearing a man and woman whispering, telling him to hurt people. Terrified, his mother took him to the doctor to adjust his medication.

Most of his friends don't know about his illness, but Bedard says it would help if they did. He wants to finish school and open a business.

Schizophrenia runs in the family. The Bedards are aware of at least five immediate relatives who have it.

Scott's aunt Diane Cullen, 25, suffers from bipolar and schizo-affective illness. Her bizarre trip into the disease began in 1999 on her way from Windsor to Hamilton. In the car she kept blacking out. At her aunt's in Glencoe she thought the devil was talking to her through tapes.

In Hamilton, she thought Spaz her cat was possessed by a demon. Her boyfriend took her to McMaster Hospital where she thought everyone around her was dead.

She told a doctor she felt like the "Father, Son and Holy Ghost," then passed out. When she awoke she was in a confinement room. Looking out her frosted window she thought the people on the ground were monkeys.

She spilled orange juice on her right foot to remember which foot to walk with first. In her journal she wrote:

"I'm getting really frustrated, please help me God. I didn't mean to harm anyone."

Over the next four years she fought hard to get back some semblance of a life. It worked. The last entry in her journal reads:

"My knight asked me to marry him on April 1, 2002. I hope everyone has a good life and remember to take care of your health. That should be number one on your list of things to do."



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