The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: Rising Above the Voices – A Deep Exploration of A Nigerian Living with Schizophrenia
For more than 15 years, I have battled with pulsatile tinnitus (the closest diagnosis I have been given) – a condition that equips me with the ultimate pleasure of hearing my own heartbeat (24/7) in the form of a pounding or whooshing sound in both ears. I have done all kinds of series of test ranging from MRI, Doppler scans, to hearing conduction tests, but everything checked out. My symptoms are worse at night, away from the humdrum of the city, causing me increased irritability. Using ear plugs and not thinking about it has helped considerably. For the most part, I have been able to cope with it. It doesn’t really affect me except when it does. I think it’s bad enough having this.
Now imagine that scenario but rather than your heartbeat, you hear actual voices – three distinct ones to be exact. Voices with their unique characteristics and personalities with names to boot. This is a tidbit of what those diagnosed with schizophrenia go through. Schizophrenia is an umbrella-like diagnosis (meaning very broad) with symptoms ranging from delusions, hallucination (auditory and/or visual), disorganized speeches or behavior to some negative symptoms. Suffice to say, each person’s condition is unique to their own.
Take, for example, our guest for today (let’s call her ‘Sis’) loves the color pink and get excited by it whereas, in another TEDTalk video I watched, the speaker therein talked about how the color red triggered them negatively. Today’s guest is based in the south south part of Nigeria. Sis was diagnosed in 2012 and attributed this to being sexually abused for a prolonged period. Noises from a running tap or generator set trigger her.
For a while, she was catatonic when she was first diagnosed – meaning she could not speak, move, or respond. Getting on medications not only helped her regain her activity, reduce the number of voices to three, but also to harmonize the characters and rule over them. She regrets delaying treatment.
In this episode, we explore her life from diagnosis till date, the impact of this condition on her social life, relationships, activities of daily living, and so much more.