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Living With Schizophrenia: Four People With the Illness Tell Their Stories

Here, four people with schizophrenia explain what life is really like with the illness. They talk about how they have battled for the right care and support, but now they finally have it, they are able to live the lives they want to lead.
10/09/2015 01:35pm ET | Updated October 9, 2016
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This week Rethink Mental Illness has been running its Schizophrenia Awareness Week. The illness affects 1 in 100, and our new survey has highlighted that far too many people with schizophrenia are not getting the support they need, and that's having a very real and devastating impact on the day to day things most of us take for granted. Work, studying, relationships, a social life, and keeping fit and healthy:

Nearly 9 in 10 people (89 percent) reported not getting the right support has had a negative impact on their overall quality of life, while less than a third (28 percent) received the recommended minimum of 16 hours of talking therapies, and a quarter (24 percent) had to wait over a year to get any at all.

Nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) say this has had a negative impact on the severity of their symptoms, and 4 in 5 (79 percent) say that lack of support has affected their ability to stay in or return to work.

Here, four people with schizophrenia explain what life is really like with the illness. They talk about how they have battled for the right care and support, but now they finally have it, they are able to live the lives they want to lead.

Alice

I first started hearing voices and experiencing paranoia in my early 20s while at University. I totally lost touch with reality which was terrifying and made me feel incredibly isolated. I moved back in with my parents, but I spent the next 10 years in and out of hospitals.

Andrew

All people think of when they hear the word schizophrenia is the ramped up media headlines about the very rare occurrences of people with the illness turning violent. The majority of people who experience schizophrenia are only likely to do harm to themselves.

Paul's story

I was only 20 when I experienced the quick onset of psychosis and began hearing voices and having visual hallucinations, which left me completely confused.

Sonia's story

The one message I'd like to give to people about schizophrenia is that yes, it is severe illness that can affect your life in a very complex and negative way. But people who have it are just like you and me, trying to make ends meet and to live their lives as best they can, just like everyone else.

Join Rethink Mental Illness' fight for fair funding for mental health services by going to www.rethink.org/letsrethink

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