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A Positive View
How pleased I was to read Sophie's article about her experiences of schizophrenia in the Spring issue and how she is now working part-time. I also work part-time after sixteen years of unemployment owing to my experience of schizophrenia which started slowly and eventually resulted in two suicide attempts, paranoia etc. Fortunately after my hospital admission I attended a good day hospital for a number of years where part of the therapy was meeting other people with mental health problems where we discussed them, played games and had a meal and I think it is important to stress that we can survive schizophrenia. Through my attendance at mental health groups I have met people who have eventually killed themselves, perhaps they thought there was no future because they could not work and a life of usefulness was denied them. Also there is the general view promoted by the media that schizophrenia people are dangerous and possibly evil so what do people feel when they are diagnosed as schizophrenic when they have no knowledge other than that taken from the media - depression - failure - emptiness - loneliness? It may be strange to say that although I have missed out on sixteen years of working life I have gained hobbies, met people I would not have met before I have probably had a fuller yet materially poorer life than if I worked. I have had time to explore life for myself which other busy people do not have until they retire and sometimes then it is too late for them. Although schizophrenia is a horrible illness I think it is important to stress people can come through it and it is important for local health services to provide a service for people with mental health problems, not just drugs but resource centres where people can enjoy a range of activities. I still have problems with my health and take medication but I encourage my friends to look at the positive things they can get from life.