What’s your story? An anonymous submission

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Over the next couple weeks, The Baron will be highlighting some students’ mental health stories and their experiences to help bring awareness to mental illness, its many different forms, prevalence, and surprising solutions. The following story was submitted anonymously.

One of the scariest things in life is not having control of your own head. When I was 15, I started to lose control. I started to hear things, see things that weren’t there. I was too scared to tell my parents, to see the reaction on their faces. I quickly found a loophole. I knew that the guidance counselor at school would be forced to tell them if it was anything major, so I booked an appointment, and I spilled. At the time I thought I was Bipolar, I had no real idea what Schizophrenia really was but I was about to find out.

Soon it was a variety of people in the mental health profession. I had to repeat the same facts over and over. Yes, I heard voices. How many? Five. I had them named: Sam, Vicky, Bethany, Susan and Rodriguez. They would bicker and argue with each other, pick on me and other people, and were generally just aggravating. As well, there was a constant barrage of the voices telling me that people could read my mind, that they were watching me. I couldn’t go on walks anymore because I was paranoid people were following me.

It wasn’t just the voices, I had horrific images forced into my mind. I saw decapitated heads floating above me, children standing over me when I woke up. I see animals and people walking by, there one moment and gone the next.

I felt things as well, bugs crawling all over my skin. Rain pelting me on a sunny day. I smelled things too, such as: urine, burning, chlorine, my close friends, my mother, and it wasn’t real. Food didn’t taste right either, it would taste metallic or sour, and the food was perfectly fine. Because all five senses were affected, I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia.

They did a multitude of tests such as bloodwork, EEG, and MRI. Then came the constant trial and error of medications to see what worked for me. They tried 5 different kinds of anti-psychotic medications before landing on the one that is helping me the most. You should see my daily medication regiment. I cannot afford to miss one pill. And don’t get me started on the costs! These meds have awful side effects: drooling, hysteria, fatigue, hunger, memory loss, shakiness in my hands and weight gain. A lot of weight gain. I’ve gained over 80 pounds since I started with the medications.

I have been through many ups and downs with my Schizophrenia. Depression goes along with Schizophrenia. How would you feel if five bullies were screaming in your head constantly and telling you you’re worthless? It is an illness, and yes it can be scary. Most of us are nonviolent, and it hurts when people use the term “schizo” so flippantly. If I was a danger to anyone it would probably be myself, that’s why the suicide rate is so high among schizophrenics.

Most people don’t know what it’s like to have a mind that’s not their own. You have to be strong; you have to push through. Do not believe what you see in movies and TV shows. It’s difficult for us, but we’re not trying to hurt you or scare you. We’re just trying to deal with it and push on. We are not a Halloween costume or a badly written play, that depicts us as “pyscho”. We’re just everyday people trying to live our lives. Please respect that.

– Anonymous

If you’re interested in submitting your own mental health story to be published, please send your 250 – 500 word write-up to: baronstorysubmission@gmail.com.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.