Spotlight on Schizophrenia

For Phil and many people like him, living with schizophrenia is a constant battle that affects every part of his day. 

Diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager, Phil openly speaks about the challenges he faces living with the condition, which he describes as a “cruel disease.”  

“It’s not easy, but I’ve learned to live with it,” Phil said. “Tears sometimes fill my eyes when I’m really suffering badly from it, especially the paranoia. “Sometimes I think, why me? But I’ve had this since I was a kid. I just do the best I can.” 

Phil joined our recovery program at Community Options in Mount Claremont in 2009 after spending some time at Graylands Hospital. Over the last 15 years, he has learned important skills that help him manage his condition and has embraced new hobbies that add joy to his life. 

“I’m learning to play cricket, and I’m learning to laugh at myself when I can. The team in here has helped me get better with cooking and cleaning.” 

Senior Recovery Partner Theresa said there were many misconceptions about schizophrenia and the impact it has. 

“I don’t think people realise how hard it is for people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia,” she said. 

“There’s a misconception that schizophrenia is scary. But it’s actually very complex, and it impacts people in many different ways. 

“It can be hard for families to see their loved ones go through, so it is really good that there are places like this to support the individual and their families.” 

By focusing on personalised goals, recovery programs like Community Options play a crucial role in helping our clients achieve their recovery goals of living independently, having career success and maintaining healthy relationships in their community. 

“Everyone has their own goals they work on. So, Phil has been concentrating on his cooking, personal hygiene, health-specific goals and getting out into the community more,” Theresa said.  

“Phil loves his sport. He has a pool table here and he goes out and plays sport three days a week. So, through the challenges we find lots of good.” 

Phil is now working towards his goal of giving up smoking.  

“I’m working on it,” he said. I’m not smoking as much as I used to.” 

On 24 May, we recognised World Schizophrenia Awareness Day. The day reminded us about the importance of reducing the stigma that is still associated with schizophrenia and the need to advocate for early detection and intervention to ensure people receive the support they deserve. 

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