Terry: "I am much more than a set of symptoms, I am a human being"

Below, Terry, a Mind member gives us a sneak peek of his interview from our next magazine, out soon. To read the whole article and much more, join us today.

Terry

On why he doesn’t like the name ‘schizophrenia’…

Just the word ‘schizophrenia’ alone is enough to freak most people out. People think you have a split personality or that you’re dangerous. But that’s not true at all. I think the name is so spiked with negative connotations that it can no longer be rescued. I'd like to change the name so that the condition isn't as scary as it is now to a lot of people. In the same way that Manic Depression became bipolar disorder which did a lot to de-stigmatise that condition.

On what it’s like to experience a psychotic episode…

When you’re psychotic, you don’t know you’re psychotic. I hope that by openly talking about my experiences more people understand how real psychosis and delusions are for the person experiencing them. It may not be objectively real but it’s real for me, at the time. This makes it a hugely powerful experience that can easily overwhelm you and affect your sense of self.

On how schizophrenia affects his life…

Being rejected by other people because they know I’ve got schizophrenia is the worst thing. When I’m experiencing a serious psychotic episode, I’m suffering, but that always goes away. Once my medication kicks in, I always feel better. I wish people would judge me by my character instead of my condition. I am much more than just a set of symptoms - I am a human being. 

On experiencing depression as part of his schizophrenia…

The depression is what sticks around and stops me enjoying my life. It means I sleep a lot, that I struggle to form relationships and I just don’t feel like myself – it’s like my personality isn’t firing. For me, the depression is harder to deal with than the psychosis. But by staying active, eating healthy food, and getting plenty of exercise I can usually deal with it.

On recovery…

My medication has completely stabilised me, and my quality of life is so much better now than it was. I still get depressed sometimes and the schizophrenia bubbles away in the background, but I’m able to live my life now. Through a process of trial and error, and self-
discovery, I have learnt to self-manage things so I could get back into the world. For me this means I am in recovery and I know many more can get there too.

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