September 03, 2007

Being Me and not who the psychiatric services think I should be!

Schizophrenia can be so destructive and can leave the sufferer feeling powerless and weak, demoralised and broken. Yet, in my experience the condition can be so powerful, not only in a destructive way, but in a very creative way, which has often left me feeling I could achieve much in my life-Writing the greatest books, painting the most wonderful pictures, designing the greatest buildings. Yet, on other days, I have felt incapable of any achievement beyond coping with my condition. That's because of the overpowering symtoms and the poor attitude from 'others' believing I would not be able to achieve much beyond coping with my diagnosis.

In the past and when under psychiatric services, I often experienced wonderful visions of my capabilities and still do, but unfortunately, it was easily assumed by psychiatry, that my dreams in life were a 'delusions of grandeur' a symptom of schizophrenia. It has been assumed that wanting to climb Everest is a 'delusion of grandeur'. I had the same attitude when I trekked to Everest Base Camp in 2003 and other activities I have now succeeded with.

As though my diagnosis would stop me from achieving or things I wanted to achieve were simply beyond my true expectations.

There have been many sportsmen in my family who have achieved much in the judo world and I, myself, have achieved in sport from an early age. I have designers in my family, architects, there have been painters and writers too but because of my diagnosis of schizophrenia, it has been was assumed I was somehow deluded about my suggested capabilities, yet it is accepted that others without the diagnosis can reach their dreams.

I have strong belief that the the majority of the destruction caused by schizophrenia, in my own case, equal to my symptoms, has been down to the lack of understanding of the condition and how to treat symptoms correctly. The ignorance shown to me by psychiatry, psychiatric nurses, people in other regions of the mental health world has been demoralising and heart breaking to say the least.

Frankly, people with schizophrenia can be very creative and I feel a lot of the symptoms we experience should be encouraged and understood more. We are powerful indiviuals with good vision and dreams and this needs to be recognised far greater than it is, rather than be opressed by negative attitudes, poor understanding and poor treatment.

Im my own experience, psychiatry and those outside psychiatry who should have greater understanding of schizophrenia, not only mistreat the condition and show poor understanding but also take away hope and dreams, vision and capability, where hope and dreams and vision and capability should be encouraged for the greater purpose of self belief, where self belief has been lost.

With the treatment of my own condition, I was viewed as a symptom and nothing more. The services that were there to help and guide me knew nothing about my past and did not seem to care about any true potential I may possess. It was assumed that my true capabilities would never really stretch beyond coping with my condition of schizophrenia.

Since leaving the psychiatric services, which I had to do for self preservation, I am becoming a photographer, I am also writing and have high hopes and dreams and feel in time, I can reach my desires. Breaking away from the psychiatric services has helped me to find confidence and flourish. I dont feel so held back in life by the negative views of psychiatry towards my condition.

Hanging onto my own dreams and faith has helped to create my life. I believe that if I would have continued being involved with the psychiatric services, then I would not be in the more fortunate position I find myself in today.

Not too many years ago the services that were there to help and guide me would not have believed or encouraged the things I would start to achieve in my future. I would have been told, that its too much for someone like me!

If my dreams are beyond me as others have suggested, so what!

Dreams are wonderful and without dreams and hopes a big part of life will always be lost. Dreams and hope gives us direction, a path to follow. Maybe its about time some 'delusions of grandeur' were seen as possible goals that can be reached. We would not question an undiagnosed man or woman about their own personal dreams!

If it wasn't for possible 'delusions of grandeur' man would not have achieved so much. There would be no progress, no art, no mountain climbed, no space exploration, no scientific breakthrough, no philosophy, no theory, no purpose.

Im my opinion, those with schizophrenia are good thinkers, creators, artists and writers, good at many things, which are too often taken away from us by those who simply don't understand or encourage us for the great values and powers we truly possess.

Stuart Baker-Brown.

Posted by Stuart Baker-Brown at September 3, 2007 11:10 AM
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