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Schizophrenia
True Story on Schizophrenia

This is a true story taken from the Straits Times on a woman who suffered from Schizophrenia.

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This lady suffered from Schizophrenia but was lucky enough to be able to receive treatment and made a recovery. She is one of the more fortuante patients.

 In 1992, Miss Lisa Low heard whispering voices in running water.

Then, the third-year National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate heard television personalities talking to her from the TV set.

It all got too much for her, so she tried to kill herself.

Her friends prevented her from jumping out of a window and took her to the National University Hospital (NUH), where psychiatrists diagnosed her condition as schizophrenia with manic depression.

Miss Low is one of 600 people in Singapore who develop schizophrenia every year. It affects 0.7 per cent of the population.

Those suffering from it hear voices, experience mood swings and, in extreme cases, become violent.

Its causes lie in genetics and the environment.

In Miss Low's case, stress was the breaking point.

"I'm an over-achiever, was working too hard, not getting along with my mother, in a bad relationship and my grandmother died," she recounted.

"It was living hell."

With treatment and rehabilitation, Miss Low, now 29, is today on top of her illness and her mood swings between depression and extreme joy.

She also picked up her degree and acquired different skills by taking on various temporary jobs.

Her parents, a retired technician and a housewife, forked out $18,000 for her treatment at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

The vocational training she had at the Singapore Anglican Welfare Council's (SAWC) day-care centre for the mentally ill helped her clinch a job as a secretary with a church organisation.

Now, she earns $1,300 a month and gives private tuition in order to take home an extra $340.

She controls her mental illness with nine pills a day, prayers, work and support from family and friends.

"I'm a stronger person today. I can tell people I have an illlness but I'm not mad," said the articulate woman.

"In the early days, I felt the stigma against me as people gossiped about my condition - people think that the mentally ill can't speak well, can't stand well, can't think well.

"But they need to shake off prejudices and know that, if well managed, those who have the illness can excel and be productive too," said Miss Low, who hopes to train in family therapy.

Source: The Straits Times: Friday, June 22, 2001

By: Braema Mathi

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