Saturday, 2 March 2013

A Step Closer to Being Revealed

With my book nearing completion, I'm getting closer to revealing who I am.  Outside of my family, only a few people know who I really am.  I've only met one person 'in real life' who knows who I am, that person was the Time to Change Wales volunteer I met up with a few weeks ago.  A few people know my surname and have seen a picture of me through Facebook.  Many people have heard my voice though, from the radio interview I did last week (if you're the only person on Earth who didn't hear about it, a link to the interview is here).

I've written personal things about me here, mainly daft things I did when younger but it still doesn't actually identify me.  But soon, I will hopefully be self-publishing my book, baring all about me.  So long as I have the courage, it will have my full name (not middle name though, that's a bit much!) and if every single camera that is pointed in my direction will stop spontaneously breaking, maybe even a picture.  Although as I'm no longer very photogenic, it may have to be a picture from when I was younger.  I was really cute when I was little, if I do say so myself!

The reason I am nervous about identifying myself nowadays though, is because of my family.  I have always tried my best to protect them, even at the risk of my own health.  I've always protected them from my illness in one way too.  At first, I protected them from the symptoms of my illness but now, I protect them from my diagnosis.  Schizophrenia is a scary sounding diagnosis to those who don't know what it actually is.  'Schizophrenic' and 'Psychotic' conjure up images of axe murderers and scary people.  While people who meet me for the first time might think I'm quiet or distant, I'm actually just very, VERY shy!  I'm not an axe murderer though, and I'm only scary when I'm really hyper.

Having schizophrenia means that I just went 'a bit weird' (the words of a nurse in hospital number 2, said in a nice way).  At the time, her description upset me a bit but looking back now, she was spot on. I didn't turn into some vile, evil person, murdering anyone who gave me a funny look.  I just went 'a bit weird'.  Everyone has a bit of weird in their personalities.  Some try and hide it while others let it out.  However, schizophrenia just means that somebody's 'bit of weird' got out of hand.  It doesn't make us bad people!

Just to make my point about schizophrenia, I created a 'meme' (sounds like it rhymes with 'cream').  For those who don't know what a meme is, it's usually a picture with a funny caption in large white letters.  Another type of meme is the 'What I really do' meme, which I've used to make my point.  Memes can be quite rude though, so be careful when searching for them!

A Picture to Show What Schizophrenia Really Means

The picture on the top right represents the multiple personalities that people with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) have.  DID is more commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD).  It's commonly mixed up with schizophrenia but the two conditions can be very different.  Some sufferers of DID can also suffer with psychosis but it is their different personalities or 'alters' that makes their diagnosis different.  A blog by a woman I follow on Twitter with DID explains it a lot better than I do! Her description of herself is here and some of her 'alters' are here.  It's a very interesting blog which I read from time to time.

So if I could get the message across to the whole of society that schizophrenia is just an illness that makes people go 'a bit weird' from time to time, I would immediately say who I really was and be completely open with my diagnosis in real life.  But as the misconceptions about schizophrenia are still rife, I remain hidden, to protect both me and my family.  Maybe one day, opinions about schizophrenia and all other mental illnesses will improve and sufferers like myself will no longer have to hide.  However, I know this society isn't exactly utopian so it could be a long way away.  I'll keep trying to change opinions about my diagnosis though, as I'm definitely not the only person with a schizophrenic diagnosis!

Hwyl Fawr!


  1. very well described and a brave decision to make. i look forward to your book release.

    Adam Silke

  2. Thank you Adam, I'm hoping that my book will be published in the next few months! Watch this space!