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Lorenz - Interview 11

Age at interview: 50
Age at diagnosis: 20
Brief Outline: Lorenz is a 50 year old Black Afro-Caribbean man who has been in the UK since 1966. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia aged 20 and this is now controlled by the anti-psychotic Aripiprazole (10mg daily) enabling Lorenz to work as a social care assistant.
Background: Social care assistant, married with adult children. Ethnic background/nationality: Black Afro-Caribbean (born in West Indies) in UK for 41 years.

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Lorenz is a 50 year old Black Afro-Caribbean man who came to the UK in 1966. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia aged 20. He describes himself and his parents (who are West Indian) as more English than the English. He believes in God, but takes a “pick and mix” approach to worship and attends three churches.

Lorenz believes his first breakdown was caused by the stress he was under as an apprentice tool maker and the youth work he was doing for his church. He also wonders whether the history of slavery lead mental illness to be passed down through Black people's genes. At the time, Lorenz believed he was possessed by the devil-he thinks that being religious might be a hindrance to psychosis. As a result of his breakdown, Lorenz lost his girlfriend, his job and was rejected by his church. Lorenz could not accept his diagnosis until he had his second breakdown. Lorenz has had 4 breakdowns, and was sectioned twice. He can recognise when he's becoming ill because he begins to believe the television is talking to him and becomes very sensitive to the news. Lorenz has tried many different types of medication but they all had severe side-effects. He calls his current medication (Aripiprazole) a “wonder drug” because he experiences no side effects. He says that if he stops taking the medication the psychosis will come back-he doesn't think it can be cured. 

Lorenz thinks professionals do not understand Black culture and that Black people are treated differently by the mental health system, although he feels he was not treated too badly. He initially thought that the psychiatrist wanted to control him in case he did something wrong, but does not think he was diagnosed with schizophrenia just because he is Black. Lorenz tends not to view situations as racially motivated. He thinks institutional racism is partly due to the low numbers of Black psychiatrists, but says in the past he wouldn't have wanted to be treated by a Black psychiatrist, believing that a white psychiatrist would be more open-minded and willing to work with his belief system. 

The drowsiness caused by his medication has made it difficult for Lorenz to keep jobs and he's had spells of unemployment. Lorenz and his family found it difficult to survive financially, and were supported by their parents. Four years ago, Lorenz attempted suicide in an attempt to claim insurance money to help with their financial difficulties, but this made things worse.

Lorenz originally wanted to become a religious leader, but chose to become a family man. He has now been married for 25 years and has raised his children, 2 of whom are at university. Lorenz feels the support of his family has helped him. His wife has always been involved in meetings with his psychiatrist and GP. It has always been his dream to work in the care sector, and he is now able to work full-time as a social care worker with people with mental health problems. He feels his experience of mental health problems has helped him to grow and be a better person and says his experience of mental health problems is “an experience in learning, problem solving and perceptual broadening”.

 

Having a mental health problem led him to lose one job; in another job, he found it difficult to...

Having a mental health problem led him to lose one job; in another job, he found it difficult to...

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Saying that two factories I worked in I had nervous breakdown they always had to cart me out of the factory [smiles]. They call my, one, the first one come called my mum and dad, they got, carted me off to hospital. The second one called my wife, carted me off to hospital [laughs] so although the first one was my apprenticeship, you know my apprenticeship? And that's the time I said to you, I said to you, I said, they said “You must go and be rehabilitated but you won't be coming back here.” And I said it wasn't like that I couldn't do the job, I went elsewhere and got a job. Second one I did tell them about mental illness and I was slow at my work because basically I couldn't function because of sleepiness and tiredness and so on so I got the Speedy didn't I [laughs] which speaks for itself. So I got the nickname Speedy and coped with that and I had a breakdown at the factory.

But otherwise were they, were they sort of quite accommodating about… 

Yeah they were, yeah they're always understanding to a degree. They, there were no malice, I felt no malice there, I felt comfortable working there, but it's just that I was so precision in my work that it does take me long to do the work properly because I really like just to get it done right. And if it's done wrong I will let them know. If it's, I work to thousandth of an inch so when they, you work to 2000th of an inch sometimes and sometime it's just under the 2000th of an inch and this, I say, “Oh my God it's under the tolerance.” But the foundry man, the factory foreman he said, “No that will be alright, let it go. Although it got a tolerance you can give it a little bit more either way.” So luckily my job is highly scrapped by I always work to a precision size. I do know you can't actual, actual dead size, there's no way you can get a dead size but I work as closely to a dead size as possible. So they're aware of that, so they call me speedy because, but the thing is they're give me the job, they know, want the accuracy so I don't, but they call me Speedy and so on. I get the job which demands a lot of skill and concentration which I tend to lack a lot of after a while so I go round the back to have a sleep often, come back and do the job. And they're not really aware why, what I'm doing as such but they just say, “[Lorenz] had gone out the back again.” But it was only till I'd had a quick nap and feel fresh again. 

I drink coffee all the time, you know, I have, oh saying that about coffee and things there was an occasion where the drug wasn't working very well, I was so sleepy, splashed water on my face, at work, next time different, I thought that would wake me up but water, coffee, absolutely no. And that was the time I was mentioned about almost going into the machinery that was pretty bad. I lost the job about three months after that, they just said you wasn't up to standard but I couldn't really cope with that sleepiness I was getting. Drug was changed, tolerated a little bit better, still got the sleepiness and so on, it's continuously it is sleepiness but with all the jobs I must say the psychosis side of the hearing voices, seeing things, that's all disappeared so that's the good thing about them all. But the concentration sort of heavy head and trying to think through a cloud like remain through almost all the drugs until this present one. And it's the trying to do a job of work under a cloud of heavy head and thinking through a cloud, that's the way I can portray it. It's very, very difficult.

 

Lorenz believes it's important for a doctor to be open minded and to have the same belief system...

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I think the system is partly wrong because there's not enough Black doctors and things like that you see. Although saying that in the early stage I wouldn't have liked a Black doctor to treat me. A Black psychiatrist, not the, not the medical physical doctor but Black psychiatrists I find very difficult to come to terms with, to know if he has, his belief system, it may be geared different from mine and be, his belief system maybe in the, what I used to, what is a voodoo type thing that used to practice in the West Indies or in Africa. I don't know what his belief system is so I was wary to take on a Black psychiatrist to talk to me about my mental health because I'm not for the voodoo business, I'm not superstitious and these sort of things he may portray in some way and categorise me wrong. 

I want somebody with a broader view of life and see, I still want somebody with a belief, they believe I mean in God but whatever their God is but whatever, but the belief system but knowing that Black people's belief system would be geared to some sort of practices which is black magic so I assume I didn't want a Black psychiatrist. Today my view has changed in the sense that education has bought them further on. And saying that education don't seem to have any morals in it so I sort of have a moral standing as well. So having a broad education or being highly education, educated you may lose some of your morals. And I'm all for Black being in the system but having an open mind and not treat you to say, 'Oh or you're from the West Indies so you may have some sort of, some sort of belief which may cause you to have mental illness.' Now I'm saying this is what the Black might be saying as a Black psychiatrist. Where I'm talking about a white society psychiatrist he hasn't got the depth of knowing, he may have hearsay of how the belief system work in a Black society but he's not fully aware of the mechanics of it. So because I'm thinking that Black psychiatrists may be aware of the mechanics of a belief system which is voodoo or black magic they may not treat me in the, with the right medication. Although they have the education with the scientific pills made up with the scientific they would know which one to give you I feel that their system, their belief may overact what they think and say, 'We'll give him this because this will calm him down because of his hysteria for what he did from this belief.' Now where I come to the white society take on, the white doctor look at me and he has no conception of anything of the belief system that I may carry. I want to explain to him the system I carry, each individual should explain to them, to those doctors, psychiatrists I particularly mean, what belief system they carry so they can be more understanding of the, how it builds up the whole person because you need to know how, what belief system the person is carrying to know how to treat him, the whole self because if you just, because he is behaving weird it might be part of his belief system what makes him to roll on the floor or whatever, you know, to get out whatever. But then you can come to say something can be treated or give him education, educate them to say this is not, this is just a form of controlling yourself from your behaviour you've got but teach them or let them understand or try to help them to understand that the brain is, is, is what shall I say organic, organic really, it's like any part of the body and it can go wrong'

So the white doctor is, it's really to do with open mindedness. You, you don't know your options, you look at a open mind and say well he's got this or he's got that but he may not have according to how you can interpret, without bringing your own system, belief system into play. But we all, I'm sure we all have a belief system ourselves'

I'm, wh
 

Lorenz thought he did not need his prescribed medication and believed that the doctors were just...

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I thought I'm ill. they say they're psychiatrists, know about the mind which I think my mind was disturbed or my mind got an illness and so I can only put it down as an illness in the mind. It's not that, it's like a physical illness but a mind illness. So I said they have the drugs to help me to recover so I was relying on them, which I probably shouldn't have, relying on them to get me the right medication. But what I noticed they was, to a degree they was doing they had, they wanted control of me to say because I have a mental illness, I probably might do certain things. They have, a conception, perception of me which wasn't quite right. I didn't want them to perceive what I'm like before I show some sign of doing it, you know. So I felt that medication, the only type of medication throughout the years they were giving me was to say keep me under control rather than saying '[Lorenz], you're, you're being treated only for this illness.' It's a controlling mechanism because I said this because I need to go to the hospital regularly to get injections or I need to have fortnightly check up with the psychiatrist, one or the other, it's either a fortnightly check up with the psychiatrist or monthly with the injection, for many years it was like that. And I just thought this isn't right, nothing I can do. They tell me the medication is right to get me better but maybe this is where I should have said it was my colour [laughs] but I, as I said I never thought there was a colour problem, it was just that it's a controlling system.

 

Lorenz looked at his medical notes - although his wife had to give her permission - and says the...

Lorenz looked at his medical notes - although his wife had to give her permission - and says the...

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I was just going to say the best thing that happened with the mental health service now is the communication we get from psychiatrists to say that we are allowed to see what they wrote, they're writing about us.

Okay

So that is a good improvement, before they have kept everything a secret, I had no, we had to have special permission to see what was written but now you can just sign a piece of paper to say yes you want to see what the psychiatrist write to the doctor or what he puts in your file. And I, saying that when it first came out I think it was probably the '80s or the late '90s I immediately, when it, it's the open policy now, I immediately went to get my file didn't I, well I wasn't physically able, I, although I'm able bodied and my mind was right they still wanted to know if I'm well enough to take any information what was written about me. So they had to have my wife to sign for it type of thing although I gave my permission the wife had to say yes he's in the right frame of mind to take in info. Luckily the information given is correct about me, they got my profile right it's only because I think I was always writing letters to them to tell them basically how I feel. When I'm in hospital I write notes of how the psychosis happening to me so all that I see the copies of what I wrote, what they write about me. So put them together it formed a good picture.

 

Lorenz says his psychiatrist took on a "bizarre" appearance; he felt he was being spun around and...

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The psychiatrist looked really scary in appearance, he could not examine me by touch. I groan deeply at him, he was an ordinary guy but his eyes seem to have, extreme protrusion and his maleness seems a threat. Bizarre looking person he was, I know he was a person. My senses misfunction and my bizarre mind was thinking, 'Oh my God, how could a person look so weird, like a beast, you know. The psychiatrist is somebody who knows about the mind and how can he look so weird?''

The last episode when I still living at home was that I felt like some force was turning me round in a circle in the room. It was literally trying to push me downstairs but the force, I know it might sound bizarre in itself but this is what seemed to have happened to me like you're on this roundabout and you're just turning and you get dizzy but the thing was I feel like there's something pulling me from inside, inside my body and pushing me towards the door to the stairs. I opened the door with my elbow, there's a flight of probably twelve stairs, steep stairs because it's old semi-detached house similar to this one I live in now very steep stairs. So when the bizarreness seemed to be pulling me and pushing me down the stairs, I had to literally sit on my bottom and go down the stairs on my bum otherwise I felt like I would've being thrown forward down the stairs.

 

Lorenz has unusual thoughts and "tangled" thought processes; he knows he's unwell if the...

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My wife was pregnant and somehow I felt that I'm damaging the baby with my mental illness, as if my negative thoughts was getting into the baby and damaging it I didn't want that so I told my wife to sleep in a different room than myself. I was trying to protect the family, you see, and she understood that, in some way, it might not have made sense but she went along with it. I slept in the back room and when I get these sort of feelings like I'm, I'm hurting the baby as she was getting bigger I would squeeze my eyes tight to vanish the bad thoughts. My brain waves I believed were penetrating through the wall and get to our baby. Her tummy was getting bigger, and so, 'Oh my goodness is it going to explode or what', it's caused by my thoughts it's an awful feeling. She had a toddler already looking after. Sometimes my parents had to look after the younger one. It's just a horrendous story, I'm so happy that she stayed with me throughout this period of upheaval really'

I used to hear, when I watched television too much, take too much television news in. I used to believe they're talking to me, not only, not only television news but the programmes I actually seemed to appear this in myself in the programme. If there's black person for some reason a black man is seen as my image of myself is on the person's face as if I can see myself acting in his face. 

This is the thing what makes me think I'm ill and I am ill when, when I begin to see this you see. So I know the difference from my mental illness and when I'm not ill. Television affects me, radio affects me, oh my goodness, it's as if radio is like the commentator is talking to you as a person, as you are in the room, although it's nothing to do with your particular circumstances, he seems to know everything about you, things like that. That's something that happens for me, that's when I'm ill. And I'm aware of it and I, I immediately tell somebody. In fact last time I told my wife, 'I'm not very well,' and she responded to that and called the psychiatrist out so'

I have got what you may think are unusual thoughts, the thoughts processes still could be tangled up but'

In what way?

I have logic, I still keep my logic but your thought processes to, roll into one. It's like you're thinking something and then something will roll over into your other thoughts and then you sort of get muddled. that happens for some time as well and I was working so I wasn't all that well so I have a miller turner type work. one time I can remember at the mill, in, I had to come away from it, I was on, not this medication other medication and my thoughts just seemed like it's rolling, the thoughts seemed to be rolling in my head. And it was as if you lost concentration basically and you're sure you think something and then something else comes into your mind and it's, it's nothing about hearing things mind you this is different, it annoys yourself because you're trying to think something and it's not coming through and something else rolls over on it. So that's a weird feeling. All that is controlled now.

 

Lorenz describes coming to accept his diagnosis of schizophrenia and why he thinks the diagnosis...

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At first I didn't accept it until I had, in fact had about four mental breakdowns. The first mental breakdown was the most bizarre but I couldn't call it what they were calling it. 

Now they call it psychosis as such but it was known as schizophrenia, I was schizophrenic basically and I couldn't accept that word for a little while. And then I had my second breakdown and I accepted it that there is a condition I've got which needs medication really but the psychiatrist simply wanted to, I feel like they wanted to control, to control me in a sense that I might do something wrong or bad.

 

Lorenz also hears different kinds of voices and they mainly say "good things" but can tell him to...

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The thing, the worst, to tell you the truth the majority of the voices I used to hear tell me good things, tell me, 'Get better, you're a bit ill [Lorenz], you need to go into hospital.' I think that's in my own thinking voice but sometimes I had one where it told me stab myself'

No I used to think, I always never known about hearing voices as such or I think, I just this it's my own thoughts coming through my head, muddled, mixed up, confusion, for my own thoughts of thinking. And it's not until the voice seems to come from a distance into my ear drum or close into my self, into my mind and it's a different from my own voice, it's when it becomes different from your own voice and one was lady's voice I used to hear. A very strong male voice as well dominating, wanting to control, telling me to do certain things. And these were when I was, though, I thought this is not the norm because I brought up hearing my own thinking voice, you know, in my own self, hearing my own self so when it comes away from my own thinking voice I said that is not the norm. So I never see that as the norm. For me it's not the norm and I would not associate anybody else hearing anything, coming outside themselves or close into their minds and not their mind, themselves talking to them. Another voice, another accent, these sort of things. So you, you know something weird is happening.

So was there a point before it seemed as if it was coming from somewhere else and it was a different voice from your own, was there a point where it was, it was your voice but it wasn't quite right, it was different from the regular, you know, thinking what you're going to have for your tea kind of thing?

Yeah, yeah mine came, basically I was thinking normally about like a prayer. I think you get a bit of a voice thing when you pray, people won't believe it but you do, you get a sort of voice, you know when it's your own voice and it's not a God thing coming through your head to say when you're praying it's, it's God telling you to do things. This is where I was in bed praying about certain things, I can't remember what it was, this was, and then when I, when I went to sleep I got woken up with a voice talking to me, not my own voice, not my own mental capacity voice and this is where I was, got me frightened, not know, oh my God I thought what on earth is this, talk into your head and just when you open your eyes and you put the light on the light seemed to shine bright, glow bright, I mean these sort of things, 'Oh what on earth is going on?' you know. It's a frightening thing.

 

Writing helps Lorenz express his feelings.

Writing helps Lorenz express his feelings.

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I would encourage other users of the mental health service to write what's happening to them, how they're feeling and as you come out through it you can see the difference of how you were ill and how you progressed out of the illness because the illness, you're still your person as yourself but then the, you feel detached from yourself to a degree so when you get yourself together, if that's the word, you find oh my goodness was I really in that sort of agony state. 

You know you were but there's a detachment, you find that your whole self wasn't together and that, that is amazing. And the write, I think my writing to the doctors in the hospital when I come out and when they're, when I have interviews with them and when they ask about how you're getting on really all these things I put down on paper and express my feelings. I mean some people have a very special feeling by writing but certainly verbally say how you feel about what's happening to you or what has happened to you. I think that's a great relief when somebody is able to listen to you and take it in.

That's, I mean actually one of my questions was going to be do you have any messages for other people in your situation, so I mean that'

That is it

'sort of is, that would be it in then?

That, yeah I really think that they should write down their thoughts, even if you can't share with anybody at the time just write like a diary and keep it near yourself. What I've already said don't always go back and look at it, no don't, it plays on your mind badly. I haven't really done that myself but I know it wouldn't be right. When you get better, when you feel and the people round you can see that you're getting better then after the period of time you can then say, 'I'll look and see how I had been.' But if it's going to get you depressed, it's okay steering clear of it really, it's nothing that got me depressed it's just I was, my seeing what the doctors wrote about me.

 

He says he was open with his wife from the start of their relationship; he told his psychiatrist...

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I have thanking my wife many times for being so understanding towards my illness because many people, many girls really when they heard about mental illness they run a mile, to know that I have a mental ill. The wife was aware I had a mental illness, other girls were aware but they just thought no he's a nice guy I suppose, but could not take the change to go out with who had be crazy/mad. My wife, Thank God, took the risk not deterred by the gossip. I tried to make sure she would not be afraid of me, you know, so I talk to her about my regular dose of injection medication, we were just going out and how glad I am that she accepted my heart. Even at the going out stage I told her about I'd got to see a psychiatrist and she attended psychiatrist appointment with me. So I think I wanted to make her feel comfortable'

She coped with trying to understand how it affected me because, basically I got her involved from the start and if she had any concerns about me she could have ring the GP, she could have gone to the psychiatrists and asked for advice. I said to the psychiatrist if my wife ever has any concerns about me, come out immediately and that was one of the clauses put in the care plan that if she called the GP they come almost immediately.

 

He says that there's a difference between "normal" behaviour and his symptoms and it might be...

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No it's out of the norm. You know yourself which is normal in your life, and when things start to steer away gradually, it, it happens so gradually at first you don't notice this, is that your norm. But when it's, it's ex-, I've got a pronunciation problem, exacerbates I can't say that word, when it escalates to a degree where you say, 'Oh my goodness what is happening to me? Or when you find I can't believe what's going on in my, what's happening in my mind or how I'm feeling. It's, I don't, never felt this way before, I think this is the time you ask the family or close ones to say you notice something not right about me? they might notice something before you do and tell you, '[Lorenz] you're not acting your normal self,' or 'What's the matter?' 

Then you consciously you either brighten up and say, 'Oh probably I'm not, there's something disturbing me.' And I find when I'm out of my norm this is really I become, beginning to get mentally ill and yet again my norm is not the same as another person's norm because where if I sort of shake my head and things like that it might be somebody's norm not portraying a sign of going, you're having nervous problems or whatever, it may be what I used to do as a habit or something, it maybe a habit. People habits are different and confusion can cause where a person's habits can be said to be a mental illness. I think certain habits can be classed as mental illness I suppose but it's their habit and if you recognise their habit is something if they want, if they say they're happy with it and they're living with it and they can control it and it doesn't ex-, what was it, overtake their lives. You know, if they're continually washing their hands or something and they find that it's overtaking their lives, they can't do nothing help it but always have to go up to the sink well it needs some sort of investigation into how they can manage it. Now they might not take it away altogether but they have to manage it to a degree acceptable to them.

 

Lorenz suggests that the history of slavery has been passed down through genes and led Black...

Lorenz suggests that the history of slavery has been passed down through genes and led Black...

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I think I would have liked, I get the one to one with the psychiatrist but I haven't, he hasn't explored really what make me come this, this way, how come the way I am. He hasn't explored my personal self. I think that's the way psychiatrists falls down because they don't look at the whole person, they don't see where you come from in a sense that Black people had, had a history with their race with slavery and I feel somehow it could come down in the genes that , to my generation that we got disturbed. I don't know how true that is but I feel it somehow that's got, you know earlier I was saying about I couldn't find myself, my, who [Lorenz] was and things like that, I feel that I couldn't find myself, my identity was lost it's lost solely because of how we were taught about religion, about what we should expect and so on. But what's surprising me is that a lot of Black people is in, up in mental institution, maybe because of some, something from the race, from ancestors' time coming down into the race. 

And but it's a problem you see that the white race who were sort of wicked to us to a degree they should have, also have some sort of catast-, I can't say the word now, I'm very bad at how I pronounce, have a great deal of mental illness in their, in their race as well because they, it come down to their generation. So how come, this is the only question I'm asking myself is Black people have through slavery and so on developed and pass into their genes down the ages, got them disturbed and have to end up in mental institution and the white people who persecuted us and, and really did terrible things haven't got this guilt or this a shame or this feeling of, it's just somehow mentally ill themselves I feel. Only because looking at today's society if you commit torture and something like that it plays on your mind and I would have thought that would have gone down even the white race would have a high degree of mental illness but they haven't.

 

Lorenz says CAMs, except perhaps for acupuncture, do not change the chemicals in body and...

Lorenz says CAMs, except perhaps for acupuncture, do not change the chemicals in body and...

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The alternative type remedies which I've never used because I was at the extreme end of the, at the hard core what I call it of the psychosis end which is going to need something more than just what we call bush tea [Laughs]. That's an old West Indian thing or herbal cure or maybe, you see the middle stage I feel the alternative medicine can work but when you get past that middle stage and you're on the hardcore side of it I think you need something what can  change the chemical reaction in your mind. Although acupuncture and things can change your chemistry in your own body, to a degree, may you self healing, you need some extra ingredient if that's the word to help that own body healing process to happen. And that only take place when you're at the hardcore of the mental illness and you need medicine really rather than just the alternative, I almost certainly think alternative medication would maybe work in the middle section of the, but after that they'd useless.

 

Lorenz recalls how he believed he was possessed, describes his individual approach to...

Lorenz recalls how he believed he was possessed, describes his individual approach to...

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With this psychosis thing I have To tell you that it's more, it can be a hindrance, it really can be a hindrance. Being religious, being spiritual I live a prayer life and every kind of inward communion or conversation with the power recognised as divine can trigger a psychosis episode, like hearing voice of God etc; I have to pitch my religious belief, so that it look intellectually respectable that can stand criticism and cannot proclaim one's inspired by God to those who knows I am a schizophrenic but the Fundamentalist get away with it and people without a serious in remission mental illness can speak to God and not seen as crazy. I was possessed by the devil, I felt possessed but I never believed in a devil as a spirit of a bad person in a celestial place called hell. The term was widely used in the 70s and 80s to describe negative soul energy from an ill mind that trick the body to do bizarre things. I perceived that I had the devil in me but it really was not it's the mind playing tricks, like I say my mind was disturbed. A disturbed mind, nothing coming from outside of me into me, nothing, you've got your own spirits we all been born and created with spirit and so on. We don't know where anything comes from, we don't know, we really don't know anything really. Most explanation centre on supernatural creator and it is a matter of faith with a science mixture that make up my belief.

People make up ideas on it, when I come to think of it, it's ideas about God, that's what's flying round the place, everybody has got their own ideas about God. Nobody know what God looks like, nobody on this earth, we've seen, we are on a planet, we do not know there's existence out there, we don't know if there's supernatural thing, there are force out there, there's a force in us, a creative thing. I just think it's a force and you can't say it's a person, you can't say, can name it but the only name in the human language you can give it is a god. That's the only name we can associate it as being something we can comprehend. Some people say, call this same God, Jesus or whatever or Buddha or whatever.

 

Lorenz was placed in a straightjacket but says he does not think it was discrimination, although...

Lorenz was placed in a straightjacket but says he does not think it was discrimination, although...

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I think it's general for everybody in the hospitals setting, mental hospital in the '70s and '80s it was pretty horrendous, they sort of treat you like you, like cattle really, you've been put here, been put in a crowd like this. I've been in a straight jacket actually

Have you?

Yeah I've been put in a room which I thought my foot was growing [laughs] oh and that, the difficult thing in a hospital there's more mental disturbance, very much so before I got well. I went in disturbed and it sort of escalated in the hospital until drugs started to work better. But I, one time I thought my foot was growing and I was, I was just as long as the room, it felt that, it's sort of the imagination takes away. But am I affected by being Black? You know, I often say I hadn't, I'm Black but I didn't, I hadn't had much discrimination until I, shall I say I didn't really recognise it as discrimination because of my way of thinking, I said everybody should be right to one another and so on, I never see a discrimination. People now tell me, '[Lorenz] you were discriminated against in certain ways because you're Black and so on.' Regarding, especially with our neighbour dispute where he, he was basically racist with me, saying racial remarks and so on, that was definitely seen as racial. But beforehand I see him just normally taking out his frustration on another person rather that saying it's because I'm Black he's taking his frustration out on me. So I don't look at my colour first, I look at the person to say you, we're both human, you look at each of us as communicating with one another rather than you're black and I'm white or whatever and saying because I'm black you're treating me this way. I really truly, to tell you the truth I should look at more my colour that's where the, but I don't. I can't because I never started doing that.

 

Lorenz says he'll never get rid of his schizophrenia but he can control it.

Lorenz says he'll never get rid of his schizophrenia but he can control it.

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I know I can't be cured really but what can help me to be better. .

You don't think it can be cured?

Well it's like, it's an illness that's, I've been told it's an illness, well I know it's an illness, but I can't see any cure but it can be controlled, it's the controlling of it which is the important thing I think. You never get rid of it, it's like you have a scar there even if it's, you sort of control it, you always have some sort of, how should I say something that's, if you take away the medication or take way certain things it's going to come back, you know, so, that's something you have to live with.

How do you have to live with that though, I mean does that, is that something that you feel comfortable with, the idea of'?

Well now I have, when I first had the breakdown I, I've often say it can't be schizophrenia, it can't be, it's just that I was tired and stressed and so on. But I have it up to four times now and the second time I realised it's something I need to have some sort of medication to control it because it's the weirdness of you're not being yourself. I mean people say about when normality, it varies in other people, you don't know what your actual norm is, but if you recognise your norm and you find yourself out of this sort of what you think is your norm, then you want some sort of help. Now I feel that this was given to me by going to, having medication which the doctor gave me, , as I said before it wasn't right, didn't control everything but it did take away the psychosis and for many years I haven't had the hearing or seeing things.

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