Real Voices interview: Edward Jones
Meet Edward, a volunteer with the mental health charity Rethink. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 21
What are the most significant features of your condition?
Anxiety, paranoia and depression are features. But on a day-to-day basis delusions are the biggest problem I have to deal with. My condition distorts perception so I make sure to keep talking to people and asking them what’s real and what’s not. In very severe cases of schizophrenia you can’t actually make the distinction.
How does it affect your life?
I sometimes feel anxious and depressed. I go over and over what people have said to me and put a negative interpretation on it. However, experience has shown me that these feelings won’t last for ever and that I just have to wait for them to pass.
What role do you think your brain has in your condition?
There seems to be a tendency to release too much or not enough of certain chemicals from time to time. You start feeling anxious and get very powerful emotional charges. As time goes by you begin to recognise the occasions when you need to do something about it, such as talk to your psychotherapist.
Do you feel comfortable telling people about your condition?
Yes, and I believe it is important to speak out. There are many people suffering in silence because of ignorance and prejudice. More people like myself need to tell others what it’s like.
What treatment have you had?
The psychiatrist I saw after I was first diagnosed saved my life. He was able to gain my trust and I felt able to tell him exactly how I was feeling. Now I see a psychotherapist whenever I feel the need to talk to someone.
How do you feel people with schizophrenia are portrayed in the media?
When a person with schizophrenia commits a violent crime the media tends to give it so much attention. But as far as I know, the statistics show that fewer people with schizophrenia commit crime than ordinary people. In a way, I don’t really blame the media for this because a lot of people like me aren’t speaking out.
What do you think the origins of your condition are?
I’d say the causes are genetic. My mother had schizophrenia. She twisted everything you said to make it seem hostile. She became angry very quickly and thought she heard voices.