“I looked at the wall and thought I saw the cartoon” how to manage schizophrenia

Marina Kalinina* created from scratch a successful business. She has a loving husband and young son. Most of the friends doesn’t know that Marina had schizophrenia. The girl learned to manage his condition, due to ongoing work with a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Our heroine learned to live with the disease and was told “Pravmiru” his story to help others.

*The heroine’s name changed at her request.

Photo: www.silviagrav.com (fragment)

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“I had a strange friend”

My parents and I moved to Omsk, when I was a year old. My mother taught in the Institute for almost his entire life. Dad was a store Manager, then worked in the supply Department of a large company.

I had a normal Soviet childhood: I was an Octobrist and pioneer, he loved to read books, study well. After the seventh grade enrolled in school, in the philological class. Easily entered the pedagogical University at the faculty of Philology and “excellent” attended the first two courses. However, I was already interested in the school we taught the teachers from our University, a lot of things I already knew.

After the second course, I had a strange friend. His name was Sergei, he was about 40 years. At that moment I was 19, but the age difference didn’t frighten me. This man used to invite me to ride around town on his dark green car. We went, talked for hours, and then he drove me home. More nothing happened between us.

During our trips, I began to notice, that for us it is the same car, only black. His companion said nothing, but cringed. He himself once uttered: “Some strange man. We like to play catch-up”. I realized that Sergei watch. Suspected that he was connected with the crime. In his speech sometimes slips words from prison slang.

Once caught a glimpse of his rights when he came out of the car. Reported friend of the police. The “shot” on him, but really couldn’t say anything. Say, the case on the part of the FSB, not MVD. I was scared. We certainly have seen. With Sergei, I stopped to chat.

At the same time began the winter session. It was given to me heavier than usual in Philology I was disappointed, so was not so hard. Mom insisted: “Take all five.” She’s a teacher, as she’s in the Department says that the daughter is no longer a student. I was very worried. And so it was that the first exam passed four. Remember, even afraid to go home.

But the family was not up to my estimates. There was a trouble. My grandmother found a lump, it was cancer. Mom immediately went to her village near Novosibirsk — took her to the doctors, were supported. Dad and I remained together. Then I stress — because of my grandmother’s diagnosis, a heavy session and the situation with Sergei is sick for the first time.

“It seemed to me that they’re watching me”

The holidays are over, the students went to class, and I started to have symptoms of delirium. It seemed that watching me by the police. Even from a distance when I saw people in uniform, I began pounding: “This is for me!” I quickly ran home. Father at that time worked a lot, went to eight in the morning and would be back only at ten. So about the strangeness of my not know.

I started skipping University classes. Invent some reason not to appear at the University — I think that is where I will be looking for.

It was a little scary. I refused to leave the house. Was looking out of the window. If on the side of a parked car, thought it was me.

Stopped to sleep or eat, lost weight. Talked about my fears to my father, who could not understand what was happening to me. It was the first signs of the disease, I realize that now.

Dad took care of me as best I could. Brewed oregano, drip Valerian. I could sleep when he was close and held my hand. In the evening the father led me to a walk, soothing: “Now we go, you have a good sleep and in the morning going to University.” When I heard about it, I was hysterical. In the end, he asked the mother to return immediately. Together parents found paid psychiatric clinic and put me there. I refused, because I was willing to try anything, if only it all stopped.

Photo: www.silviagrav.com

Private hospital is not similar to a psychiatric hospital. There I did not put a specific diagnosis, talking about having a nervous breakdown or neurosis, sedated. I finally started to sleep and eat. Although for a long time I was sure that even in the hospital are under the hood. I was discharged only four months later. By the end of may I appeared in the University and even passed the summer session – teachers and classmates helped me.

The disease came back to me. In this clinic, I was lying three times. But that didn’t stop me to finish school.

“Off the track and miraculously survived”

At the undergraduate I met Ivan. He also studied at the University, just for the math faculty. That happens to me, I told him immediately. He took it calmly. I felt better, I fell in love and were happy.

When we graduated from high school, then to work in the specialty did not. I chose to trade — have a job in a company selling building materials. Ivan worked in advertising – he and his colleagues printed business cards, made some signs. A few months later, my boyfriend suggested: “let’s open up the business.”

I have a very good memory. So by that time I already knew all the suppliers of building materials in Novosibirsk. We signed a contract with the factory steel dealers in Omsk. I communicated with clients, and Ivan was the team recruited and studied technical wisdom. We are well-earned, in-season revenue reached one million rubles. But the cause took more time and effort.

Started a quarrel. The work was too much, we were both tired. At the same time it seemed to me that my boyfriend’s someone in there… I left for 10 days in a dispensary outside the city to rest and recover. I was on my way back Ivan. He has not coped with management. We flew off the track at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour. Say exactly, because in this moment looking at the speedometer. On that day we miraculously survived. After that I again became ill. From stress a few days, I have the disease.

The attack was particularly severe. I thought we loved not only another woman but a child. I pestered him to talk about it again stopped sleeping. In the end, the house was locked and nobody was let in. After work, Ivan went to sleep to the mother. Don’t remember what else I happening then. Tore some books, a gutted pillow. In the morning my parents persuaded me to open the door for them. The chaos in the apartment shook. They called in a private clinic, but there I did not take — during this time she changed her profile. Had to call an ambulance. So, in November of 2003, I first went to a psychiatric hospital.

Looking ahead, say, with Ivan we broke up after my discharge. The suspicions were not groundless.

“There’s no one with you is not considered”

In the emergency room I took all my things and clothes. In return was given a hospital — an old, shabby. So come with all. Yes, it is unpleasant. But the comfort in this hospital the least I think. More concerned about basic security.

In each compartment of the chamber numbered: zero, first, second… the higher the number, the, I remember better the condition of the patients that are there. I started, of course, zero. To get all “heavy” patients. Next in the first ward were those undergoing psychological-psychiatric examination in criminal case. For example, some of my “neighbors” were accused of murder. When I found out, I was not myself.

In the early days I always fell asleep because I was drugged. Wake me up, only to eat again and took drugs. On the ground floor, I spent about a week. Then the doctors noticed an improvement and moved me up to where was lying calm the patient. Around the same time I first heard my diagnosis — paranoid schizophrenia.

We were fed poorly. Three times a day was given porridge, with some chicken bones, slightly reminiscent of hot, in a soup. I was visiting the parents brought food. Directly food the patients were not given — it could get in the dining room at tea time, and there had to have transmission. The room for meeting visitors, as I explained later, there are sanitary conditions for food intake.

But it is especially hard for me was the lack of water in the house to keep it were not allowed. Supposedly, the bacteria will start. And tablets have all dry the throat. In fairness I will say that in 2017 I was allowed to carry a bottle of drinking water.

The Department had patients that have never been visited. These people lacked proper food and simple human participation. It seemed to me that they are here for a long time — gaunt, with glass eyes.

Remember, I eat chicken, which gave parents, to me is a woman and asked: “Let the bones then”.

My stomach turned over at this point. I broke off a big piece of meat and handed it to her. She was happy. This I saw for the first time.

With single people the staff is very rude. They have no relatives who could to intercede for them. Generally in mental hospital nobody believed there constantly yelling at patients. Do not beat, but are you tied to the bed by the arms and legs, this is called “binding”. Once I was tied up and not released out to the mother only gave milk that she brought. I still remember his cold taste.

Photo: www.silviagrav.com

We had duty in the ward — every day we washed the floors, sink, mirror. On working days I had to clean toilets. Nurses don’t do anything like that, all falls on the sick. And nobody cares how you feel, go and do it. None of us will complain, everybody understands that.

Patient stories

At the hospital, I met Lena. She was much younger than me. Beautiful, like a Barbie doll — long blonde hair, blue eyes and slim figure. It was frequently visited by parents very young. They looked like good people. But happiness in the family was not — the daughter was ill, son is a drug addict. Lena then told him all home made, and the father refused it. She’s all that worried.

We were friends, talked on the phone after discharge. And then she was gone. Only later I learned that during a trip to the country her parents quarreled, my father bought in the village of alcohol, was poisoned and died immediately — he turned out to be counterfeit. Brother destroyed because of drugs. Lena didn’t take it well, drank a lot of pills… She is not saved…

I have encountered aggressive patients. One girl, Nadia, I even had a conflict. She waited in our hospital, the decision of the court. Grew up in a dysfunctional family, had kept at Bay the whole district of the small town from which it was brought. Wasting students money and mobile phones. The court decided, where Nadia will be treated in Omsk or in a specialized psychiatric hospital for prisoners in Kazan. In the house she tried to bring the prison culture, intimidated other patients. Tried to pressure me, but I told her no quarter given — we even once had a fight. The confrontation did not last long — one came for her convoy. To stay in town as she wanted, did not happen. She was only 14 years old…

But it is rather a special case. The majority of patients — people with broken lives.

I always say: in a mental hospital patients. They live miserable, which did not happen life. Many of them are not relatives, and the villains.

My neighbor once was a woman of about 60. She has many years ago, it was postpartum psychosis. She was in the hospital twice, for a very long time. She raised a son all his life worked as a plasterer-painter and earned for a hotel type room. When she again felt sick, adult son did not understand her condition. Passed mother in a mental hospital, took her keys. Never visited. This woman was not discharged for a long time, because she simply had nowhere to go. She lost the only angle that earned heavy physical labor! And such stories… there are a million Bitter to listen to them. Especially when I can’t help you.

My husband just found out the truth

Future husband I told him about my diagnosis two weeks after Dating. Was it scary to talk about it? No. I am convinced that if a person decides to stay with me, he should know the truth. So it was no surprise when relationships go too far.

Sasha responded quietly. Moreover, it was interesting. “Oh, shiz is a gift”, he said then. I said, “What a gift, sheer torture. And for me and for relatives.” But he still thought I was special, unusual.

Four years later, he found out how serious this is, when my condition worsened. We at that time had a business — a small shop in Omsk. We got married in the winter I like to go on a journey through Italy, planned to visit several cities: Milan, Florence and Rome. The tickets were for January, I at that time already was not good. I’m in constant stress was — before New year we had the maximum revenue, we worked 14 hours a day. Neighbors began calling in early January, and I couldn’t rest — house was noisy.

First, the trip only made us happy. And when we got to Rome, I felt bad. There was a spring, I have it and in Siberia are hard to tolerate differences of pressure, terrible headaches. They were followed by worsening, and quite heavy. During the walk I told my husband that we were being followed. Suspect everyone – the hotel staff, random passers-by. In the room, I looked at the wall and thought I saw the cartoon. He was scared, he realized that I was sick. It happened to me for the first time in his eyes. Before returning home he did not really slept or ate, worried, ran to the pharmacy to buy any sleeping pill for me…

Photo: www.silviagrav.com

Then Sasha called my mom’s parents met us in Novosibirsk. Fortunately, during the flight I was calm. When we returned to his hometown, I was immediately placed in a psychiatric hospital. The husband visited me every day. The incident only strengthened our relationship.

Pregnancy and fears

I wanted to have a baby, but I was afraid. Didn’t know what I would do — from the drugs I will have to give up even before the pregnancy. When I spoke about this with the psychiatrist in the clinic, she snapped: “stop taking drugs”. Answer: “what do I do?” And I hear: “do you have any Hobbies?” My only passion was his own business, which I worked on for five years. But how could it replace my children?

Found a specialist, who supported me. My local psychiatrist said, “As a doctor I have no right for you to solve. But as the woman goes, while you can — to give birth. How pregnant call — we drug cancel”. At that moment I was already 35 years old. At the same time I was observed by a psychologist. With her we discussed my fears and doubts.

I haunted that I can’t stand the pregnancy or the doctors force me to get an abortion, if you start the escalation…

Two years later I got pregnant. My husband was happy. But in season trade I worked a lot in his shop. I have again started worsening. In 6 months of pregnancy I was taken to the hospital and put back on the drugs. I then explained to the attending psychiatrist, modern drugs can be taken by pregnant in the last trimester. There were many cases that the patient had a new medication and they were born healthy children. I prayed that all was well.

An acute condition managed to remove quickly. I was transferred to the second floor. Remember that the hospital I wanted to eat. Relatives brought food. I was allowed to carry a bottle of water. Father every day to take me on walks. After discharge I went to the hospital for safekeeping. The time passed quickly. Our baby was born in the summer, in 40 weeks, perfectly healthy.

From breastfeeding due to medication had to be abandoned. The doctor who attended the birth, said: “If you do not drink drugs, you risk to get into a psychiatric hospital, and the child will remain in the custody of her husband. He will have you torn between”. I listened to him, began to take pills to suppress lactation. After a few days my son and I came home. Husband was around to help me, there are nights he fed son from a bottle so I could sleep during the day to care for the child independently.

How to help themselves

The disease for many years come back to me. It’s hard. Every time I don’t know if I can get back to adult life or remain in a world of delusions and hallucinations. Sometimes I don’t remember what happened to me in the period of exacerbation. But I was lucky, the memory returns. However, there are times that I just can’t know the truth or fiction is. No one is clear. They lie in a separate compartment of my memory.

Photo: www.silviagrav.com

I learned how to control their condition. Enough mental health to be in shape. Try to sleep well, therefore, refuse to work at night, even during frantic rush and do not agree with late-night meetings with friends. Do not read tragic news, I watch movies and programs that can cause exacerbation of my disease.

Of course, stress is inevitable. I live a normal life and, like all emotionally react to its events. When there are hard days, I give myself the opportunity to rest, to recover. Can spend the whole next day in bed or not get out of the house.

I constantly observed the specialists, psychologist and psychiatrist. Very grateful to them for contributing to my mental health, without their support I can not imagine my life.

Relatives also help me. Dad buys and brings food. Often ask my husband to babysit or to do the cleaning so I could meet up with a friend or go alone. Despite the small amount of time, once a month I get a manicure and pedicure, go to the hairdresser. Don’t forget that I need to eat properly and to drink products every day.

Unfortunately, nowadays tend to be multi-tasking, trying to catch as much as possible — at the expense of his rest and sleep. This is unacceptable. The brain cannot long time be in tension, it requires proper rest. When we work physically, we have sore arms and legs. The head can be overloaded, and it will result in unpleasant consequences for health. Take care of yourself, your psyche.

What to do when sick close

Marina wrote for husband instructions on how to behave with her in the period of exacerbation. “Pravmir” publishes it. Perhaps it will be useful to people whose loved ones live with mental illness.

1. Watch as a loved one and treat his behavior calmly.

2. Remember that this is not a childand an adult who was ill.

3. Help to wash dishes, to cook, to clean. Person with an illness not laziness, it is really difficult to do, as it weakened the focus on specific cases or things, he goes into their fantasies, thoughts, dreams, memories, it is difficult to focus. He can grab two or three different things at once and none to finish within a few hours.

4. Keep the daily schedule for themselves and close with the disease. Such patients are very sensitive to even quiet footsteps and a soft light. Be sure to watch the diet: eaten or not eaten, how much and often he does it, how much sleep and at what time. This is very important!

5. Patiently treat requests, if possible, take them. If you understand that rather, it is a Caprice, not a request, politely explain why you will not do it, or ask the person to do it myself.

6. Do not deprive a loved one of bodily contact and not leave the house for a long time. If you leave, you specify at what time, and stick to agreements. If you don’t, then growing concern and may result in hysteria or psychosis, when you come home. If you do not have time at the appointed time, call and inform, explain calmly you will understand and will not worry in vain.

7. Don’t insist on “eat, sleep, walk”, if the person does not want it. Better to say, “Okay, I’ll do it later” or “you Decide – do it yourself”.

8. Keep your calm, do not succumb to provocations, not to offend and not be offended by close. Better honest and open communication.

9. Do not scold or criticize, may worsen feelings of uselessness, loneliness, people shut down, and then make a fuss or hysterics, depending on condition.

10. Be sure to walk every day in a quiet place, if not this, then walk slowly to where the patient wants. On the walk are close, keep the hand, don’t run ahead and not go back.

11. Pay more attention to a friend, when you are at home, not utilities in computer, TV, tablet, phone. Your attention is needed him like water for a flower.

12. Keep a close person, assure that all will be well that you are near and will not leave him.

13. Show that you love and appreciate him, make him happy (massage, stroking of the back or head, a welcome gift, not necessarily expensive).

14. Read aloud his favorite book, watch a favorite movie or cartoon, just sit and be quiet embracing.

15. If you wanted to relax, sleep, work out his own Affairs, politely explain this to the patient that you are not giving it up that you are close and ready to go if needed.

16. Don’t ask questions that promote intense mental activity: “Why so?”, “Why did you do that?”

17. Never ask about the contents of delusions, hallucinations, thus you re-immerse the patient in it, and he is now so difficult to know where reality and where a dream world.

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