When Justin was 15, he seemed like a typical teenager at home. Suddenly he stopped going out on his bike, and instead spent long hours in his room on his computer. He did not show any interest in doing the engineering degree at university, his childhood dream. Instead he said he could create his own lab and make amazing discoveries.
I brushed aside this as fantasy, but over next few months he only talked about this more and more, and spent most of his time on the computer exploring science websites, books. He seemed to talk like he knew everything, but it actually none of it made any sense.
He started collecting batteries, wires in his room, staying awake at night, not bothering to talk, eat or sleep. I got really worried when he refused to go to school after shouting at the teacher.
My neighbour told me to go to the GP. She had someone in family with mental illness. I was really scared, felt devastated when our GP referred Justin to the Child and Family Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
It was really difficult at first, even to get Justin to the appointments or to talk. But the mental health nurse and practitioner were very good.
They knew immediately that something was wrong. Once Justin had been put on medication, they met with the school to help him complete his subjects.
Justin was upset and depressed once his strange thoughts went away. He even thought of suicide, but CAMHS were there all the way, never made him feel it was his mistake or that it cannot get better.
They were even there when Justin moved to adult services and supported accommodation. He is in College now, even has a girlfriend. He has had few ups and downs, but schizophrenia doesn’t seem to be as bad as they show in movies.