Schizophrenia is a mental disorder which causes delusions and hallucinations among other symptoms. The illness creates a change in perceptions, thought, mood and behaviour. It is a severe long term mental health condition which is usually treated with a combination of medicine and therapy.
There are two types of symptoms of Schizophrenia, positive and negative. Positive symptoms include disorganised thought and speech and agitation. Hallucinations can occur too, mostly hearing voices but can include other senses. Hallucinations are when someone sees, hears, smells or tastes things that do not exist outside their mind. Voices can be friendly but most commonly they are critical and abusive.
Negative symptoms are when the patient withdraws from the world around them and they take no interest in everyday interactions. They also appear emotionless and flat and lose interest in life.
Research suggests that the cause of Schizophrenia is a combination of physical, genetic and environmental factors. Other triggers include stressful life events such as bereavement, divorce or physical and sexual abuse.
Drug abuse is also linked to schizophrenia, use of cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines may trigger psychotic symptoms.
I have experienced both positive and negative symptoms; during my first episode I was paranoid. I believed I was following instructions and had strange thoughts about others. These were the positive symptoms of my illness.
I was going through a stressful time, I lost my job and was travelling miles away to study for my MA and I started seeing things other people weren’t able to see. These factors combined to cause my first breakdown.
I eventually began to suffer from negative symptoms such as a lack of zeal for life and no interest in doing everyday activities. My hygiene standards slipped too.
Although schizophrenia tends to run in families, there is no family history of mental illness either on my father’s side or my mum’s side.
As a Muslim I believe in Jinn, who are spirits that live in a parallel world, they can possess humans and cause all sorts of problems. We can’t see them but they can see us. Sometimes it feels to me like I am possessed as it would explain my symptoms.
The belief is that Jinn are made of smokeless fire and can possess human beings and cause spiritual harm. Just like humans there are good Jinn and bad Jinn and they have free will.
I take antipsychotic medication which seems to have controlled my symptoms and have helped me.