Schizophrenia might sound haunting to us but in the TEDTalks video above Eleanor Longden beautifully explains what it is like living with the condition she has dealt with.
Here’s the description of the video:
‘To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized, drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn't know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.’
She explains in detail how the strange commentator arrived in her life and what were its consequences.
The video generated a thread of comments on Reddit in which people shared their experiences. A few of them are mentioned below.
I have too suffered from schizophrenia, paranoid schizophrenia that is. I am going to attempt to lay out my own experiences here. I may not be as eloquent and listener-worthy as this woman, but I will try my best. -It all started in my apartment one night. 9:00 pm I just finished smoking a cigarette on my back porch. I lived on the bottom floor of my building, three stories tall. Smoking was not allowed on the premises, but not strictly enforced. After coming back inside I laid in bed and loaded up facebook. I began to hear people talking on the other side of my window. From the courtyard outside I could hear them scheming to get me kicked out of the complex, then calling the police to investigate my illegal smoking. Of course now all of this sounds rediculous, but at the time it was entirely convincing. I quickly ran to my back porch and got rid of my ash tray and pack of cigarettes. I turned off all of my lights. Who wants to be arrested? During the next three hours I listened. I heard the police arrive. Enter the apartment above me. Leer down onto my back porch, then notice nothing illegal. After this was done, I heard the police issuing warrants and citations for those who falsely accusing me. A few years later I realized that none of the noises I heard that night were actually there. For the next few months I became very skeptical of my neighbors, always listening, being very cautious of my movements. I started to recognize vehicles following me that were sometimes parked in my complex. Of course none of these cars were actually tailing me at the time. I worked just a few miles from home. A 15 minute drive if I was slow. This trip began to take a few hours because I did not want people tailing me. I started to me erratic turns. Left, right, all to lose the person behind me. When I lost someone, they would send backup, and shortly another car would be behind me. During this period I was convinced beyond belief that someone was always watching me or talking about me. It was a very terrifying time.
I have history of this illness in my family, i fear to have it sometimes too. The most distinct line at the start of this video to me was "i started to see this as a symptom and not an experience". This is such an important thing that i never put into terms and a really beautiful way too look at it, it removes guilt, resistance and isolation and is a reinforcement of intellectual stimulation and interest. That can be empowering and distinct. Great Video.
Longden is a brave lady indeed who spoke extremely well at TED. She explained the condition in such a manner that it changed the way I see it now.
The video is a must watch!