What's your schizophrenia story

Cordt Winkler on his illnessSchizophrenia: I and the other

Delusions, panic attacks, uncontrolled behavior: when Cordt Winkler was in his early twenties, he found out that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. He has written a book about how he lives and copes with the mental illness.

It started out quite harmlessly: Cordt Winkler is new to the university - and at some point he thinks: "Something is wrong with me." He is often sad, withdraws, and can no longer concentrate properly on his studies. "I hardly ever left the apartment," he says. "That was very different from what I usually thought I was."

Cordt Winkler was sensitive to schizophrenia from an early age, because his father also had the disease. "Accordingly, that has always been a term," he says.

"The disease is very complicated and difficult to reduce to a common denominator."

Schizophrenia has many forms

The harbinger of his illness - the so-called prodromal phase - crept into him very slowly. The symptoms were still mild. At first, Cordt Winkler thinks he is depressed. But he's also worried. Because strange conditions that he cannot classify keep coming back. Sometimes he trembles all over. Then he gets caught up in confused thoughts. In his book "I am sometimes someone else" he describes how he felt: "I was at the same time quite confused and helpless," he writes.

"For me it was mostly delusional - that I put myself in very strange situations in my head and imagined things that most likely do not correspond to reality."

Cordt Winkler says the disease is very complicated and difficult to reduce to a common denominator: "There are very many different symptoms and it is different for each person." For himself and his symptoms he finds the word "psychosis" more appropriate. Some psychoses, he says, also had funny moments, which then quickly turned into a state of anxiety.

"Then the disease came over me with full force. At that moment it was so that I could no longer control it."

At some point Cordt Winkler realizes that it is not depression that troubles him, but schizophrenia. After the diagnosis, he was almost relieved, he says. "Because I now knew what I was dealing with." He hoped that everything would be fine and that the psychosis had been a one-time thing. But that is not the case with Cordt Winkler.

Medicines can bring stability

He needs acute help four times and is in the clinic several times. And he continues to take medication on a regular basis to this day because he has decided for himself that it will make him feel better. Even if he feels the side effects, sometimes feels listless or gains weight.

In an interview, Cordt Winkler tells us more about his experiences with schizophrenia: How he once wanted to stop a taxi with beef and glass cleaner in hand to go to the psychiatric ward. What role does humor play for him. And what help there are for people who discover symptoms in themselves - for example, several early detection centers.

More on the subject:

  • Elyn Saks: The Schizophrenic Professor | Elyn Saks was 16 when she first heard the voices: You are bad, they said to her. Elyn keeps hearing voices, later the diagnosis is: schizophrenia. Today Elyn Saks works as a professor at the University of Southern California.
  • Psychiatry: To err is human | Four stories between madness and reality - in the "One Hundred"
  • Voices in the head: help through magnetic stimulation | Hope for schizophrenia patients: Scientists were able to drive away the agonizing voices in the head with magnetic stimulation.