PsychOdyssey has come across a poignant, very personal YouTube video by an articulate young Englishman calling himself JohnJustHuman. For families with a loved one having a psychiatric disability and hearing voices, this video helps improve understanding by personalizing the experience.
John first heard voices when he was 10 years old. In the beginning he thought it was an angel inside his head, and that everyone experienced the same thing but just didn’t talk about it. Over time things grew worse. The angel become a devil. He thought there were cameras watching him everywhere. Suicidal thoughts arose. Depression ensued. He went off to university. Things got worse. He went to hospital. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Things didn’t improve. Again he felt suicidal. He ran away to central London, to the Waterloo Bridge. He climbed over the rail and prepared to jump.
Just then another fellow came by. “I was in your position once,” he said. “But today I’m on top of the world. I have recovered.” Hearing just then for the first time about recovery, John was persuaded to relent. He climbed back over the rail, and there began his own recovery journey. He learned to realize that there were really no cameras watching, no devils taunting. Medication proved important, but cognitve talk therapy proved vital. “It really changed my way of thinking.”
Life improved. John returned to university in 2009. Two years later he had recovered enough to go completely off medications with his psychiatrist’s approval. John concludes his video essay with advice for those who struggle. “Instead of saying to yourself, ‘I’m schizohprenic’, say instead, ‘I have schizophrenia.’ You are not your mental ilness. You are still you.”
Here’s the link to the video. It is well worth its 25 minutes.