I have been living with schizophrenia for years, I was a teen when I first developed it, and now I am an adult. It has been a tough journey yet I found many eye awakening experiences and also discovering who I am as a person despite suffering from schizophrenia.

I was put on antipsychotic when I was a teen and I stopped before I reached adulthood as I felt like I was going symptom free. I was on olanzapine for years ever since I was a teen until last year before I reached adulthood. The antipsychotic I was on which was olanzapine helped me to an extent. It helped me in terms of the voices being lesser, however, lesser visual hallucinations, and lesser paranoia. I decided to stop taking antipsychotic drugs because of the side effects last year before becoming an adult and I was symptom free. 

I was also having a stressful year last year as I had my first job and eventually left because of the unconducive working environment and I deserve a better job and better work treatment. Due to that , my symptoms came back. 

I have symptoms now mainly such as hearing voices which are a form of auditory hallucinations. 

I have many negative voices that would degrade me as a person and tell me insults that I am not. I would also have command voices that know what I am doing and they would comment on what I am doing. It has been difficult for me to process what they were really saying as I knew what they are saying does not define me but in other times, where I feel really overwhelmed, I would not know how to process my emotions. I always had that problem ever since I was a child, I did not have a good childhood. I learned to embrace my emotions more healthily now so I can help myself to process my problems better. I started to write in a journal, not particularly about my problems but more of what I am experiencing and what I want in the positive outcome and end with a positive mantra I reflected on and it would acknowledge my difficult feelings I am going through. 

I also have hallucinations along with the voices that would threaten me about my safety and it would induce suicidal thoughts but I am always protective of myself and believe that it is not true, and I am safe where i am. 

I am also hypersensitive to sounds and lights, most particularly lights because when i am out in public like in a shopping mall, the lights from the stores or just the sunlight itself would cause me to be affected and would cause me to see auras and it would induce hallucinations. I sometimes hallucinate people’s faces I know in strangers walking past me. I learn to ignore it, and go about my daily errands or if I am out with someone, I would just talk to that someone. 

I also learnt not to be too paranoid in relationships and trust more to build good relationships with my loved ones. I also am on my way to self discovery now that I am not on olanzapine now, it was a terrible antipsychotic, and I like that I am more aware and capable of being myself more than with it. 

It still is difficult to live by each day, but I learn to appreciate every day. I do not advocate to live without antipsychotics as I believe that is the main treatment for schizophrenia and psychotherapy which I did both. Every person with schizophrenia is unique and they will have their specific treatment. If they are relatively stable, or they opt not to be on antipsychotics, they could do so but with the psychiatrist’s approval and if they can manage their symptoms well without the antipsychotic.  I just try to live without antipsychotics as they give me terrible side effects, I try to do the natural treatments, essential oils like lavender helps me to de-stress, taking b12 vitamins, and try to eat healthier. Exercising or taking walks should help overall and benefit health and quality sleep. There is still hope and we should never give up. Learn to appreciate little joys and yourself, for life is precious. 

Schizophrenia

Atiqah Natashah

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