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Case story: Man 25 years old

Time before coming to the TRIGON

As a little boy, I was gifted, I made my parents happy, I enjoyed painting, mathematics. We had a good time as a family. The big turning point came when I entered the sixth grade, I was thirteen years old, and my parents divorced. I took it very hard. I felt that my parents didn’t care anymore, so I started doing bad things. I spray painted elementary school with graffiti, sometimes I stole something or I was just naughty at school, friends of anyone around me. I wanted to draw attention to myself that I am here, that I miss my family, my love. But it was in vain. Everyone was arguing at home. They were only interested in their problems, I tried to escalate my problems to point at myself, but it was futile. Later in high school, I had to earn money because we didn’t have money. I started taking care of myself more and more. But I couldn’t go to school and work, so I didn’t finish my degree in auto mechanics.

Although I still lived alone with my mother, we drifted further and further apart. She was more and more at work when she came so we just argued. I feel a little ashamed today because she worked hard to pay the rent, utilities and food. I was mean to her. I was angry because it was no longer my mom who was laughing, hugging me. She was a woman who walked home tired, without a smile or cheerful mood. She went home and to work and so on. My father moved away a long time ago and forgot about me. I was left with my mother, with whom I argued more and more, until one day everything culminated in a situation where I ran away. I started sleeping over with my friends, later I jumped on the street. I felt more and more like I didn’t belong anywhere, I thought about suicide. I experimented with drugs. It was a really bad time very bad.

The situation now

At the age of twenty, doctors diagnosed me with paranoid schizophrenia. I didn’t have the money to pay for the medicine, so I very often ended up in a psychiatric hospital. I have had a total of ten hospitalizations, some of them shorter, others longer. My longest stay was about half a year. No one explained to me how the medicines work and so I took them irregularly, later I understood that the irregular use of medicines is the biggest mistake. It took me 5 long years to learn to live with my disease and accept it as part of my life.

During my longest stay in the hospital, I met a social worker from the TRIGON Association. She was the only one who came to see me, we talked a lot, I showed her the park that I fell in love with in the hospital. We observed squirrels, which are abundant in the hospital park. She told me once that I could try to leave the hospital and live my life. I got really mad at her and told her I didn’t want to see her anymore. I was scared. I would have to be on the street again, I wouldn’t have anything to eat, I wouldn’t have anything at all. It wasn’t good in that hospital, I had to follow the regime, but I had a place to sleep and I also found friends there. Later, the social worker from TRIGON explained to me that I had the option of entering sheltered housing, I would have my own room and about 3 other roommates would live with me in the same house. I told myself that I would pay nothing for the exam.

I remember saying goodbye to the hospital with my other friends in the ward. The head of that department told me he never wanted to see me again. It meant that he wished me good luck and, above all, that I don’t go back there and find a new way to freedom. A new life has begun for me.

I have been in my apartment for three years. I still have the same social worker, who also helped me with housing and living benefits. The mental health center helps me a lot because I don’t feel alone. I learned to cook in our house, I can make ends meet. I don’t know how to deal with the authorities, it always stresses me out a lot, so I’m glad that my key worker goes with me. I trust her. Sometimes I save up and I can go to the pub for a beer.

On the importance of the Community 

My relationship with other people is affected by being sick. I have a few friends that I have known since childhood, but we don’t hang out much because everyone has their own life. I’m all the more glad that we’re a good bunch in the house. Finding new friends is hard, people look at me and I think I’m special and different in some way, I don’t like when people make fun of me out of pity. That’s why I’m perhaps too attached to the community I have at the Mental Health Center and in our house. We spend time together, we watch TV, I feel a sense of safety and security. I know that respect, decency, and understanding are necessary in establishing relationships. My big dream is to go back to school and finish the education I gave up years ago. I’m an introvert, so it’s rather important for me to have peace, security and my own world, but I realize that it would be very nice to have friends and meet them. Currently, the social worker is looking for a psychologist for me, because that’s how I could start. I have trouble trusting people and I know that trust between friends is the basis of communication.

Characteristics of a good community

The most important thing is not to be afraid. Trusting people and being able to deal with challenges. I don’t like it when someone mocks and laughs at the way another speaks. And that’s also my fear that I won’t say something clever and people will laugh at me. I feel part of the Trigon community, and even if I don’t speak, I feel that people around me accept me as I am. It’s hard for me to talk about how a good community should be, because I don’t really know myself. The most important thing for me is that I am not afraid there and that others do not laugh at me.