Affected: Wolfgang Schmitz
Diagnosis: Schizoaffective disorder
Therapy: group therapy; Medication
Resources: Writing, Singing and Playing The Piano
How and when did you learn of your illness?
In 1999 I had a psychotic episode with a three-month hospital stay. In 2004 I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder after a stay in the day clinic.
Why did you decide to show your face now?
Especially in the professional context, one is usually advised to hide the disease.
But I want to be accepted as I am. This contradiction makes me sick, among other things. That’s why I want to stop playing hide-and-seek.
How did your environment react when it learned of your illness, and how would you want your environment (and society) to deal with your illness?
I was very lucky that hardly anyone from the family and friends turned away. Most were concerned and offered me help.
I would like to see more information, less stigmatisation and criminalisation of those affected.
What things helped you most to accept the disease?
I was relieved at first when I learned that there is a name for what happened to me. Today I see the disease as a measure that helps me to determine whether I am on the right track, whether I feel too much and live beyond my means.
What resources do you use in crisis situations?
I write a lot, make music and force myself to go out, even if I want to hide. I meditate. I deliberately take small steps.
What do you want to give to other people affected?
There is no norm or normal behavior. This is all a matter for negotiation at the social level.
In Cologne, where I come from, people say: Every jerk is different. And I think we’re all jerks.
What do you want to give other relatives along the way? How can they best help you (on the one hand) and yourself (on the other hand)?
I am always helped when You meet me with honesty and understanding. And I think patience is important. In open dialogue, it is best to check your perception for imbalances.
What makes your character and what trait do you value most about yourself?
I keep getting up. I usually have an open ear for my friends. I am also trying not to condemn anyone. I am ready to change and develop myself.