This Was My Life With Schizophrenia Before I Was Diagnosed
This year, Syrena Clark was diagnosed with schizophrenia. This is her story:
At 18, I started showing the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. But my doctors were hesitant to diagnose me. Hallucinations, false memories, delusions and disorganized thoughts plagued me regularly. By 19, I was living with psychotic symptoms every single day.
By 20, I was using many forms of art to cope with virtually untreated psychotic symptoms.
But even my art grew psychotic.
Prior to the final diagnosis, I was living out every day by a checklist I hung at the foot of my bed.
By 21, I had tried to take my own life twice.
My symptoms began in 2012, and I was not officially diagnosed with schizophrenia until 2015. But my disorder had been named many other things.
And finally in 2015, after six psychiatric hospitalizations, seven years in therapy, one year in dialectical behavioral therapy, enduring a four-hour evaluation and having tried more medications than I can count on both hands, I was diagnosed with catatonic schizophrenia.
But now I am in the right treatment and seeing the right doctors. I still have psychotic symptoms sometimes, but I’m mostly functioning and living every day as well as I can. There will still always be hard days, or days I have to take hour by hour, but I am healing from schizophrenia.
Living with schizophrenia isn’t easy.
Raise awareness to end the stigma.
Raise awareness to find a cure.
Watch Syrena’s powerful video below:
Warning: this video contains audio simulation of auditory hallucinations and references to self-harm.
If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.