A photo of podcast guest Daniel, who discusses living with schizophrenia

When Daniel was 17 years old he began to believe that he was a potential vessel for the Antichrist. Believing he was one of millions of potential vessels, he thought it was his responsibility to chose whether or not he should accept this role and allow his body to be possessed to bring about Armageddon. For 10 years he wrestled with his fate, fighting against this role but worrying it was an inevitability. Then he started to develop concerning symptoms including hearing voices and a severe stutter, which he reported to his doctor.

Daniel’s parents both died when he was young, so it took some digging to determine whether he had a history of mental illness in his family. After conferring with aunts and uncles he discovered his father did indeed have a history of mental illness. Daniel began researching what could cause him to hear voices and came across schizophrenia. His research revealed that a common delusion for people with schizophrenia was a belief that one was the Antichrist. He describes this discovery as a psychic shock, hearing and feeling something snapping in his head as his 10 year long delusion unraveled instantly. The checklist for schizophrenia matched exactly with his experiences, and he diagnosed himself before confirming this diagnosis with his doctors.

Getting diagnosed with schizophrenia was the first step in an entirely new journey, cycling through medications trying to control his disease. The first medication he tried made everything worse, triggering visual hallucinations and making the voices in his head louder and more incoherent. Luckily, he has since found better options, but is constantly having to cycle through medications when they eventually lose their effectiveness. He also has to contend with frustrating side effects since these medications are hard on the body, often feeling like he is protecting his mind to the detriment of his body.

In this episode of the Major Pain podcast, Daniel walks us through his history with schizophrenia so far. He teaches us about his disease including the 5 categories of symptoms: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, disorganized behavior/thoughts and negative symptoms. His passion for teaching led him to become a schizophrenia advocate on TikTok, educating the public on the realities of his disease and how negative stereotypes in media have detrimentally impacted countless patients. He proves that people with schizophrenia can live active and full lives, demonstrating the importance of education, awareness and empathy. In just 4 years since his diagnosis he has made massive strides learning to live with his disease, and helped countless others to do so as well.

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The Major Pain podcast was just awarded a creator grant from the Stimpunks Foundation! This is a nonprofit organization providing mutual aid and human-centered learning for neurodivergent and disabled people. Check them out online at https://stimpunks.org/

The Village Tree Health Support Network (founded by previous podcast guest Toya Jules) is launching it’s pilot program! They are looking for individuals diagnosed with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) to participate in a focus group about this disease. If you live in the US, have HS and are 18 or older, click HERE to sign up.

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