New therapy for patients suffering from Schizophrenia

I have just discovered this BBC article about some researchers in London, using a new form of therapy on people suffering from schizophrenia who are not responding to medication.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22691718

This is a new method involving the use of avatars. Patients were asked to imagine what these voices would look like, and design an avatar to match the voice. Personally, I think this could be a really effective idea, and this is why…

When I was a teenager, and I started to develop symptoms of Psychosis, one of these symptoms was believing that there was someone who controlled my thoughts and that I had to do what they said, however I could never talk to that ‘person’ directly, it would always be messages through other voices.

In a way, you could say that this person was God-like. All seeing, all knowing but I would never see their face. This, I feel, made that person so much more fearful.
By attaching a face to these voices, it takes away some of the not knowing, which in turn makes them a bit less scary to stand up to. It’s terrifying to try and stand up to an unknown presence, but easier to stand up to a person with a face.

I know that this won’t work for everyone, but I think it’s a great idea to get people to confront the voices in an easier way, and I really hope it helps a lot of people.

What do you think?

@MaisySmiles

🙂
x

Workshops with young people

Today, as part of my volunteering, I went along to a secondary school to do some workshops on mental health and the service I volunteer for, at some point in every session we asked the students (ages 12-13) what they knew about mental health and mental health issues. Some of the answers we got back were really interesting and I wanted to share a few recurring ones.

1)      Although students were not clear on what Schizophrenia was, no one suggested it to be multiple personalities! (During college, this is what the majority of people I knew believe it to be). So I was very pleased with that! The most given answers were “paranoia” and “hearing voices”.

2)      A large number of students asked if dyslexia was a mental illness, this is something that was asked across all of the sessions. The students, however, did seem to understand the difference between learning issues and mental health issues when it was explained.

3)      When asked what beneficial stress busting tips they could come up with, a lot struggled to come up with ideas of what they could do when they were stressed. Punching things and throwing things seemed to come up a lot!

The workshops were really great and it looked like the young people took a lot away from it, so that was fab! We put across that anyone can suffer from mental health issues, and that they can lead a normal life and recover from those issues. There were no negative comments about mental illnesses and a lot of really interesting questions- was great to see them really engaging.

 

Anyway, I’m off to eat chocolate, watch a movie and think about how much work I’ve got to do…!

@MaisySmiles

🙂 x

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

If you have read my first post (“Psychosis and OCD- My Story), you will know that I have suffered from OCD for over 10 years. It wasn’t until last year that I made real progress, and can truly say that it no longer rules my life- it barely plays any part at all!

This is a stage that I never thought I would ever reach, but since I have overcome this, I feel like a huge weight  has been lifted off my shoulders and I have the ability to enjoy life a lot more than I used to.

My OCD was based around ‘routines’. At first it started with me thinking “well, I had a really good day yesterday, so maybe if I do things the same way today, I’ll have another really good day” and grew to “If I don’t do the same things I did yesterday, I cannot leave the house today”.

For example, when I was at school, I would have to watch the TV in the mornings and I would leave to catch the bus when the TV clock said 7:09- not even one minute before or one minute after. One morning, I popped to the kitchen and when I came back the clock was 7:10; so I put down my bag and refused to go to school that day- I was certain that something terrible would happen if I did.

This was a common occurrence, I felt trapped with no freedom; and being impulsive was out of the question.

However, last year during CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) I was really encouraged to think more into what ‘bad things’ might happen, and even if they did, how bad would it actually be?

My therapist asked me why I was anxious about going for a night out with friends at the weekend, I replied ‘something bad might happen’. He responded, ‘what exactly? What do you think might happen?’ I actually had to think about this for a while. I had always thought about ’bad things’ but never knew what the bad things were that I was afraid of! So, after thinking what bad things I could be worried about, I responded ‘what if someone tries to start a fight?’, he replied ‘So what would be so bad about that?’ Again, I had to think about this one before I could explain. Obviously, it is something that I would hate to happen and would be very upsetting, but then he asked: ‘do you think this is something you will worry about in 5 years time?’

This question really made me think. I thought, actually, no. Even if it did happen, in 5 years time I would probably barely remember!

I had so many anxieties and they really got in the way of everyday life. I would find social situations really difficult and I was constantly in fear of things that may happen, even if there was no evidence that they would!

Since last year, I have come so far. There are so many things that I would have never done a year ago that now I can do without even thinking about it, this is something that really makes me realise how much OCD was holding me back.

However, there were still things that I didn’t have the courage to do. For example, this blog. Doing this blog and launching MaisySmiles is something that I have thought about for at least two years now, always thinking that I didn’t want to do it because I was afraid of what other people would think. There is one reason I gained the courage to do this, and it was coming across the question:

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

My immediate answer was: I would start my blog. So, I thought to myself, why haven’t I? Even if my fears do come true and people didn’t like it, is it really that bad?

If I do it, and it fails…Will it still bother me in 5 years time? After all, people say it’s the things you DON’T do, that you regret the most…

 

@MaisySmiles

🙂 x