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Member Stories – Paul

In the past, I have had two psychotic breaks (meaning: breaks from reality). During the first break I experienced abnormal thinking, voices, and visual hallucinations. I thought that the world was coming to an end. Naturally I feared for my family’s lives, hoping to save them from this great catastrophe. They knew that something was wrong with me as soon as I began describing to them what I thought. Then I received treatment at Clinton Valley Center, a state mental hospital, and it took about a year outside to recover from the shock (of being in the hospital) and depression. At the end of that year, December 1985, the doctor and I talked about schizophrenia. The medicine, Haldol, took away all the symptoms.

In February 1986, I got sick again, experiencing a complete new set of hallucinations, like the one I call the “Sun Dance.” While “sleeping” in bed, I had a Native American drummer pounding a drum, and I’d see these visions. Of course, the whole thing was a hallucination; however, this time I didn’t panic throughout the experience. I sort of had a scientific detachment and fascination with it. After February, I went back to the doctor to resume the medicine.

Then I discovered the SA group to help me battle schizophrenia. The group has helped me psychologically to fight my symptoms (voices), and the medicine does the rest. The voices are not a nuisance, because they usually last a few seconds while I’m attempting to sleep (day or night). In short, schizophrenia is a frightening experience, but that’s in the past. For me, recovery and overcoming apathy are important today.