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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.

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By 20, I was using many forms of art to cope with virtually untreated psychotic symptoms.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

But 2.4 million American adults do it.

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.