Over recent years, it has been hopeful to see and read more people come forward to speak out about their difficulties with mental illness, slowly chipping away the stigma around some diagnoses and experiences including anxiety and depression.
However, it is still rare to hear of the more severe and difficult diagnoses, such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, unfortunately maintaining the stigma around them. These experiences are rarely spoken about and almost always, negatively depicted.
Lauren of Living Well with Schizophrenia takes a bold step to challenge that. I was very happy to come across her YouTube channel that spoke openly about areas of mental health that few dare speak about.
In her first video My Experience with Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder (linked below), Lauren portrays many salient points about living with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, and more importantly the possibility of living well with these disorders.
Significantly, Lauren highlights how medication is often a process of trial and error, and that even with medication and support, some symptoms might persist. Schizoaffective disorder, becomes an on-going process, which includes learning how to live with some of the symptoms and the hard job of recognising when to seek more help or support.
Lauren recounts a story that drives home how meeting a person in the midst of a psychotic episode might be scary, but how it is often more scary for the person experiencing the episode. If you are trying to help, focus on the emotions not the delusions. It is more helpful to say “I know you are scared; maybe we can do something about that”. Rather than “there is no one there, you are imagining things”.
I would urge you all to visit Lauren’s channel “Living Well with Schizophrenia.” And to Lauren and everyone who commented with their own and loved ones experiences… keep talking, we are listening.
Getting help in the UK
If you or a loved one is suffering from unexplained symptoms, have schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder or you are in doubt, seek help.
Speak to your GP or contact the mental health charity Mind on 0300 123 3393
For private psychiatric assessment, contact us on 0207 467 8548