My long-time reader may recall that I have paranoid-schizophrenia; this is why I have a generally low-intensity life writing opinionated drivel about booze and food. I developed it during the late 90s whilst I was studying at Oxford for my doctorate. The screaming intensity of the paranoid delusions and hallucinations became so powerful and intolerable that at about this time (2am) on the morning of 24 January 1999, exactly eleven years ago, I tried to commit suicide by slashing my wrists in the bath.
As I am sure you can deduce, this attempt and my subsequent efforts were unsuccessful. It has been quite a struggle living with paranoid schizophrenia, but I remember this anniversary of my first attempt to kill myself because it reminds me that, no matter how difficult things have been, I have still managed to survive. So this is really a happy anniversary; well done me for keeping going all these years!
At the beginning of last year, after literally years of being on a waiting list, I started a course of psychotherapy (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, aka CBT*, to be specific). I cannot claim to have enjoyed the experience, but it was incredibly useful. I applied myself to working out different techniques and new ways of thinking to deal with my psychotic experiences and found that they worked a treat. My life has become a lot more tolerable, and whilst I still experience the paranoid delusions and hallucinations, I am not terrified and anxious all of the time. I am so happy to be able to be at home and not feel constantly harassed and scared. Good stuff, eh?
I may not be the thrusting academic I once was, and a low-stress lifestyle seems like the way forward for the foreseeable future, but I am quite happy to be celebrating this eleventh anniversary and even happier that I know I will not have to try such a thing ever again.
*When I told one of my more colourful friends I was going to have a course of CBT he looked rather surprised and said he didn’t think I was into that kind of thing. I asked him what he meant by ‘that kind of thing’. He revealed another use of the abbreviation CBT that he knew and I didn’t: Cock and Ball Torture. I am glad the National Health Service did not send me for that kind of CBT.