Hello,my name is Cecilia McGough.
I’m an astronomy and astrophysics majorhere at Penn State,
and the founder and president of the Penn State Pulsar Search Collaboratory.
In high school,
I was lucky enough to have co-discovered a pulsar
through the Pulsar Search Collaboratory.
A pulsar is a super dense neutron star
that emits dipoleelectromagnetic radiation.
Basically think of a starmuch, much larger than our sun,
blowing away its outer layers,leaving behind a dense core –
that core could be our pulsar.
This discovery opened some doors for me,
such as helping representthe United States
in the InternationalSpace Olympics in Russia.
And also, being a Virginia aerospacescience and technology scholar.
I know what you must be thinking:
“What a nerd!”
Well,for the longest time,this nerd had a secret.
A secret that I was too scared and too embarrassed to tell anyone.
That secret is that I have schizophrenia.
But what is schizophrenia?
It’s important to think of schizophreniaas an umbrella-like diagnosis.
NAMI shows these different symptoms
as a way you could diagnose schizophrenia,
such as delusions and hallucinationsbeing the hallmark characteristics.
But it is very important to know
that a person could have schizophrenia
and not have delusionsand not hallucinate.
Each person’s story with schizophreniais unique to their own.
Today I’m going to be talkingabout my story with schizophrenia.
It has been thoughtthat I’ve had schizophrenia all my life.
But it became very prevalent in my junior year of high school,
然后 步入大学 它就滚雪球似的变大
and then it just snowballed into college.
February of 2014,my freshman year of college,
my life changed
when I tried to take my own lifethrough suicide.
“Why?” you ask.
Because my life had becomea waking nightmare.
The following images have been editedusing Microsoft’s artistic effects
because they are justtoo triggering for me.
At this time, I had started hallucinating.
I started seeing, hearing and feelingthings that weren’t there.
Everywhere that I went,I was followed around by a clown
that looked very similarto the Stephen King’s adaptation of”It”.
Everywhere that I went, he would be giggling,
嘲弄我 刺激我 有时甚至还咬我
taunting me, poking me, and sometimes even biting me.
I would also hallucinate spiders, sometimes little spiders.
And these are actuallythe most intrusive sometimes
because we seelittle spiders in real life.
So sometimes this is the only timeI ever have difficulty
discerning whether it isa hallucination or real life.
I’m very good at knowingwhen I’m hallucinating
and I know that it is a chemical imbalance inside my head.
I don’t even givethese hallucinations names.
I also hallucinate giant spiders though.
One spider, in particular, comes to mind.
它有巨大的体型 坚韧的皮肤 黑色的腿和黄色的身子
It was rather large, leathery skin,black legs and yellow body.
No voice ever came out of its mouth.
However when it moved its legs,
the creaking of the legs sounded likeyoung children laughing.
It was very disturbing.
But it started becoming unbearablewhen I started hallucinating this girl.
She looked sort of likein the movie”The Ring”.
The thing with her was she
was able to continue conversations with herself,
and would know exactly what to say and when to say it
to chip away at my insecurities.
But the worst was,
she would also carry a knife around with her
and she would stab me,sometimes in the face.
这使我在学校的检测 测验 课外作业
This made taking tests, quizzes,and doing homework in general
extremely difficult to impossiblewhen I was in college.
Sometimes I wouldn’t even be able to see the paper in front of my face
because I was hallucinating too much.
I don’t usually speak so openlyabout my hallucinations,
because people usually look at me in fear
after I tell them what I see.
But the thing is,
I’m not much different than the rest of you.
做梦时 我们都会看见 听到并感觉到一些东西
We all see, hear, and feel thingswhen we are dreaming.
I’m just someone who can not turn off my nightmares,
even when I’m awake.
I’ve been hallucinating now acutelyfor about over four years.
So I have gotten very good at
just pretending I’m not seeing what I’m seeing,
or ignoring them.
But I have triggers,
such as seeing the color red is very triggering for me.
I don’t know if you guysnoticed this or not,
but they changed the carpet that I’m on.
They changed itto a black carpet instead of red.
I sort of laugh at my life a bit
像黑色喜剧 因为 当然了
like a dark comedy, because, of course,
the only color combination that I have issues with is red and white.
What are TED’s colors?
But I have issues with those colors
because those are the colorsthat the clown has:
red hair and white skin.
And how I’m able to ignore him is I just don’t look at him,
but I’m able to know
where that hallucination is in my peripheral vision,
because of the bright colorsof red and white.
But you would never knowthat I’m hallucinating.
The clown is actuallyin the audience today
and you would never know.
On a lighter note,who is looking forward to the Oscars?
I knew you guys would be interested!
Well if there were nominations for peoplejust acting”normal” in everyday life,
people who have schizophreniawould definitely be nominated as well.
When I first became openabout having schizophrenia,
it was a shock to eventhe people closest to me.
It took me eight months,
eight months after my suicide attempt
to finally get the treatmentthat I needed.
I didn’t even havethe diagnosis of schizophrenia.
And because of that,
what kept me from getting help were conversations like these.
I remember very distinctively within that time on the phone with my mother.
I would tell my mum,
“Mom I’m sick,
I’m seeing things that aren’t there,
I need medicine,I need to talk to a doctor.”
Her response? “No, no, no, no.
You can’t tell anyone about this.
This can’t be on our medical history.
Think of your sisters,think of your sisters’ futures.
People are going to thinkthat you’re crazy,
they are going to think you’re dangerous
and you won’t be able to get a job.”
What I say to that now
is”Don’t let anyone convince younot to get medical help.
It’s not worth it!
It is your choiceand it is also your right.”
Getting medical help was the best decision that I have ever made.
And I am confidentthat I would not be here today
if I didn’t get the proper medical help.
This led into my first hospitalization.
I had been in the psych ward four times within the past two years.
But I still was not openabout having schizophrenia
until my second hospitalization,because the police were involved.
One evening I realized I needed
to check myself back into hospital,
because I needed some changesin my medication.
So I admitted myselfinto the emergency room.
I talked to the doctors, they said, “OK,
let’s fix the meds,you can stay here overnight.”
It was all good.
After the brief one-night hospital stay,
I came back to my dorm roomhere at Penn State,
and to very concerned roommates,
which I understand why they were concerned – if I was in their shoes,
I would have been concerned as well –
but also the RA and a CANHELP person.
We all talked and we decided that I needed another psych ward stay.
我恢复的不错 我并非一直都拒绝 我很乐意去
And I was OK on going,I wasn’t at all refusing, I was willing to go.
But what happened next was inexcusable.
They brought police officersinto my dorm room,
in front of my roommates,they padded me down
and I had to convince them not to put handcuffs on me.
They then brought me,escorted me into a police car
that was parked on the road
next to one of our diningcommons: Redifer,
where friends were passing by and seeing me put into a police car.
从那时起 当我回来时 消息已不胫而走
By that time, when I came back, the cat was out of the bag.
People knew something was up, so I had to set the story straight.
I opened up about my schizophrenia
through a blog, but I posted all my blog posts on Facebook.
And I was amazed by how much support there was out there.
And I also realized that there are so many other people just like me.
I was actually amazed!
A few of my friends opened up to me that they had schizophrenia.
Now I am dedicated to beinga mental health advocate.
I’m not going to wallowin self-pity about my diagnosis.
Instead, I want to use itas a common denominator,
so I can help other peoplewho have schizophrenia.
And I’m not going to rest
until anyone who has schizophrenia worldwide
is not afraid to say the words:
“I have schizophrenia.”
Because it’s OK to have schizophrenia,
it really is.
Because 1.1% of the world’s populationover the age of 18
has some sort of schizophrenia.
That is 51 million people worldwide
and 2.4 million peoplein the United States alone.
But there’s a problem.
Because one out of ten peoplewho have schizophrenia
take their own life through suicide.
Another four out of tenattempt suicide at least once.
I fall into that statistic.
You would think that there wouldalready be a nonprofit
focused on empowering college studentswho have schizophrenia,
especially since the peak age to have a schizophrenic break is early adulthood –
the same age rangeas a typical college student.
But there isn’t.
There is no nonprofitin the entire United States
focused on that.
And a general nonprofit focused on mental health in general is not enough.
Because even in the mentalhealth community,
schizophrenia is shied away from,
because it makes peoplefeel”uncomfortable”.
That is why I have decided
to found the nonprofit”Students With Schizophrenia”,
where we will empower college students
and get them the resources that they need,
so they can stay in collegeand be successful.
Because you could be successfuland also have schizophrenia.
We need to change the faceof schizophrenia,
because the representationcurrently is inaccurate.
Don’t let anyone tell you
that you can’t have a mental illness
and also not be mentally strong.
你很强壮 你很勇敢 你是一个战士
You are strong, you are brave,you are a warrior.
Unfortunately,this nonprofitis too late for some.
Since I’ve become openabout having schizophrenia
I am asked to comeinto different classrooms here at Penn State,
and talk to the class about my experience having schizophrenia.
One class stands out in particular.
Earlier in the semesterone of the students
opened up to the classthat she had schizophrenia.
I commend her for her bravery.
However,by the time that I came and talked to that class,
she had taken her own lifethrough suicide.
We were too late for her.
I was too late for her.
Here at Penn State,
we have to make an example to the world,
because this is not just happeninghere at Penn State,
it’s happening globally.
But here at Penn State, we have to show
that we are here for our students,
we are talking about mental health,
and we are not afraidto talk about schizophrenia.
My name is Cecilia McGough,
I have schizophrenia and I am not a monster.