A Schizophrenia Diagnosis Is Not The End Of Life

Mental Illness Awareness A Schizophrenia Diagnosis Is Not The End Of Life

I previously made a post  (When the only way you can be is to not be) about my schizophrenic friend Dwight and how he woke up one day and heard radio waves in his ears. I talked about how the medication had basically turned him into a robot devoid of all his normal emotion and feeling.

I have another mentally ill friend called Isabel who was given a schozophrenia diagnosis by her doctor. I met Isabel through another friend when I was 13/14. She was my other friends kind of step sister. Their parents werent married but were living together. So basically we all used to hang out on a Saturday at Trocadero. (That was the spot!) When I first met Isabel she was very quiet and withdrawn in contrast to her very outgoing and brazen step sister she kind of lacked confidence added to that her step sister was mixed and she was dark I think that gave her a complex about her colour as guys would always talk to her sister and never her.

Over the years so many things happened to Isabel that could have fukked her mind over. There was abandonment, abuse,  drug addiction,  depression, marriage to an illegal immigrant, childbirth,  death of a child, a second child, anxiety attacks, child being taken away and sent half way across the world. Also added to the fact that there is a history of mental illness in her family it was not shocking to me to learn that she had a schizophrenia in the way that it was shocking to me to find out that Dwight did.

I remember the first time that I knew something wasnt right. Another friend and I had gone to see her where she lived. We were around 18 and she was living in a hostel as her fathers home had been repossessed and he had moved in with a woman he was seeing leaving her homeless a few years previously This had happened when she was 15 and she was taken in by a friend from schools mother and then when she was 16 and considered adult she moved into a hostel. So we had gone up to her room and she shouted through the door that she was tidying up and we should wait for her in the guys room next door. The guy next door was called Wesley and they had kinda of been seeing each other Well they would basically have sex and then he would ignore her and she would turn crazy and start acting stalkerish Other times they would be friendly and you wouldnt imagine that they could fight and argue so viciously.

So we went next door to Wesleys room and waited for her. We watched a whole episode of Family Affairs (I think that thats what we were watching) and she still hadnt come by. So we were wondering what was going on? We ended up waiting an hour until another girl came down to Wesleys room to tell us that Isabel had gone to her fathers house in Kent (An hour and half out of London) We couldnt believe that she wouldnt even come to the door when we came to see her, then she had run off and not even told us that she was going to do that. So from this time I knew that she was acting strangely but mental illness had never really occurred to me then.

After this happened I called her to express my displeasure at her actions, to which she cussed at me over the phone and told me that the reason she had left was because me and my friend were trying to steal Wesley and that we were doing something with him in his room that day. I couldnt believe that she would say such a thing considering that Wesley looked kind of crackish and not desirable in a sexual way to either me or my friend. So we argued about it and stopped talking. Then a week later she came to my house and gave me a Friends card which basically said sorry for accusing me and my other friend of trying to swipe her pretend boyfriend. So after this I forgave her and we were friends again.

Over the years we saw each other but not as much as we had done. I had heard from a friends mother that she was very skinny and walking around with a scarf on her head and mumbling to herself. This friend had told me that her mother had cried when she saw her. I saw her after that when she had been put on medication (I didnt know that at the time) She didnt tell me outright about her schizophrenia but she told me that she had been prescribed pills by the doctors. When she would take them she would talk so slowly and her eyes would droop as if she were falling asleep. I didnt understand at that time why she would take them as she wasnt able to do anything effectively whilst taking them, but then apparently her episodes while not on them were so bad that she feared going back to that state.

After some shuffling of medication and differing doses you could no longer tell that she was on medication Gone were the droopy eyes and slurred speech and the old Isabel was restored. In fact she was so well that after 5 years of being on anti psychosis drugs she made the decision to come off them, as she felt she could do better without them. Unfortunately coming off the drugs was not for the best She became extremely paranoid and her behaviour was erratic to say the least. She had a second child after her first child died and when we (the other friend who had been accused with me of trying to swipe Wesley) went to the hospital she seemed traumatized (I think she had post natal depression) She had asked us to bring some things like olive oil, food and baby stuff. When we gave it to her she accused us of trying to harm the baby with poisonous olive oil.

At that point I knew she was relapsing, but she was too far gone to be concerned about medication or anything. After she had gone home with the baby she began avoiding calls from me and my friend as well as her family. Then one day at 7 am I got a call from her screaming down the phone calling me all kinds of names and telling me that I was a bitch and that she never ever wanted to talk to me again.

Shortly after this early morning phone call I saw her father and he told me that he was looking after Isabels daughter as she had had a panic attack one day and the ambulance were called and the daughter put in foster care. He had found out about this and got together with his sister and arranged for them to look after the child. He said that he was at the end of his tether because she would not take any medication and was progressively getting worse. They had even bribed her and told her that if she took the medication she would be able to have her child back but she wouldnt do it.

In the end the child was taken to Australia by her aunt and adopted. This story sounds like a sad on and in a way it is, but Isabel began taking the medication again and although it is too late for her to get her child back as the aunt adopted her she has got her life back. Whereas before she didnt care enough to take the medication to get her child back, she now does everything in her power to be someone that her daughter can look up to. Although she hurts at not being able to be with her daughter isnt it better to feel emotion than to be devoid of it? It is these memories and emotions that drive her. Her ultimate goal is to be a social worker and help those that are in a position that she once was in and struggles to not be in and unlike Dwight she can be rather than being by not being.

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