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‘Discover More’: The REAL reasons living with ‘schizophrenia’ is so challenging

Person from shoulders up with long blond hair smiling at camera. They are outside and there are trees in the background.

I thrive with my ‘diagnosis of schizophrenia’ but there are still challenges for me that I feel aren’t well understood by others.

So, what are the REAL reasons that my life with ‘a diagnosis of schizophrenia’ is so challenging?

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'Discover More': How my brothers’ experiences with schizophrenia sparked my decision to become an advocate.

Sarah is wearing a blue jumper and leaning against a stone wall smiling at the camera.
Sarah Sutton is a sister, a daughter, a psychologist, and a sibling carer for her two brothers, both diagnosed with schizophrenia. For over eight years, she’s been a passionate advocate for increased recognition of the work of carers and their unique lived experiences.

This Schizophrenia Awareness Week, Sarah invites others to ‘discover more’ about her invaluable experiences as a carer, as well as a SANE Peer Ambassador.

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‘Discover More’: the power of choir and community to expand horizons

Jenni and Niall standing in front of the Voices of Frankston banner at the Frankston Uniting Church

From singing alongside acrobats, community and acceptance, to improvement in mental health symptoms, Niall and Jenni chat about the empowerment that comes from ‘finding their voice’ in Voices of Frankston.

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'Discover More': how my husband's schizophrenia led me to Oxford University...twice!

Sandra is standing outside, smiling and wearing a patterned shirt. Sun is shining on her and the trees and plants behind her.

I eloped with my partner in November 1985, wearing huge ‘leg of mutton’ puff sleeves and listening to Starship’s ‘We built this city’. I worked in marketing and he was a registered nurse. He was funny, quirky, different and we were in love. We did what everyone was doing; buying a house, partying, dinners, birthdays, Christmas and in a blink, ten years had passed.

In 1998 our son was born, and everything seemed perfect. Seemed.

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'The death sentence didn't eventuate': the importance of discovering hope and purpose

Sandy is on a hockey pitch with her hockey stick in position to hit a ball. She is wearing a purple uniform and rainbow coloured socks.

From poet and violinist, to hockey player and advocate, Sandy Jeffs OAM is also one of SANE’s longest serving Peer Ambassadors, sharing her experience of living with schizophrenia for 45 years to shape public policy and help others. 

This Schizophrenia Awareness Week, which coincides with SANE’s 35th anniversary, we chat to Sandy about the ‘heady’ early days of SANE, becoming a public figure, and ‘curating’ a life towards wellness, despite the daily challenges.   

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Finding a way through your own bushfire recovery

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Bushfire recovery is different for everyone. Finding a way back can take time, but there are green shoots on the other side.

Experiencing disaster takes a significant toll. The added pressure of being responsible for others – whether they’re family members, friends or people in your community – can make it really hard to find time and space for important self-care. But not doing it can have devastating effects.

Butch lives in Moss Vale, in the New South Wales Southern Highland area. In January 2020, a fire jumped a river and raced towards homes, sandwiching his town between two major blazes. Although he and his family were safe, Butch got a call asking if he would be part of an emergency response team in Batemans Bay.

When he arrived, the town was cloaked in smoke and lit by the red glow of flames.

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Nine great books about living with mental illness

Illustration of an open book that is also a park

Reading can be a tremendous source of solace as we navigate the ups and downs of life. Books that contain characters we relate to can provide a way to transcribe the messiness in our minds and understand other people's emotions. Mental illness can sometimes make it challenging to find the concentration required to read, but these nine books are wor...
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Breaking down the stigma, the final barrier

Sandy standing side on and looking into camera she is in a park

Sandy Jeffs remembers her diagnosis of schizophrenia in 1976 as "an absolute death sentence".

"I thought, 'Where do I go from here?' It seemed there was no future, no hope. You were on the scrapheap."

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Four things people get wrong about schizophrenia

Person with their palm up in front of the camera they are outside

When someone says schizophrenia what do you think?

Sadly, many people have little or no idea about what it's actually like living with schizophrenia. Instead their preconceptions about this illness come from movies and the media which, more often than not, can be inaccurate and sensationalised.

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Explaining the voices in my head

Man is standing in front of moving train with his head turned to the side thinking

I think I should feel fortunate when it comes to hearing voices. While I have the ever-curdling mixture of psychosis in the background of my thoughts, the voices I hear are still my own. 

It is still my own internal dialogue. It's just that most of the time, it's not there to help me.

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