Psychosis (young people)

Green Lettuce

Age at interview: 25
Age at diagnosis: 20

Brief outline: Green Lettuce wants to be an entrepreneur, lives in the countryside, is single. Ethnic Background: White British.

Background: Green Lettuce had problems with anxiety, voices and paranoia. He is now much better and wants to set up his own business. He takes a tranquilizer (Diazepam) and a sleeping tablet (Zopiclone) but no anti-psychotic medication, and thinks time has helped the most.

Audio & video

‘Green Lettuce’ said that he was once just ‘normal’ and had friends, played pool and was his ‘normal self’. Then he started getting really bad anxiety and paranoia. He felt that people were talking behind his back and that people were watching him all the time. Green Lettuce started to hear voices in the third person, conversations going through his head, and found he was able to predict what was going to be said in conversation and on the television. He also felt his thoughts were being broadcast to everyone. Eventually this got so bad that he would not leave the house as the voices said they would kill him if he did. He went to the GP who prescribed him anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety medication and sleeping pills. He said that the doctor ‘seemed to be in a rush’ and that now he has a different doctor and a support worker. Green Lettuce said that he had been taking Risperidone for about a year and it made him feel ‘worse’ and ‘didn’t do much for the voices’. He said that the range of anti-psychotic medications didn’t do much, saying ‘the only thing that’s helped really is time’, although Seroquel did offer help for a very short time.
At one point Green Lettuce was supposed to go into hospital but couldn’t see a doctor there, so phoned his dad up to take him home. He thought that everyone was against him and that they were all trying to make him worse. He even doubted that he was speaking to his Dad on the telephone. At home he thought he was going mad and didn’t ‘have a clue’ what was going on. He didn’t think he could get any help but he found that the anti-anxiety tablets helped more than the psychotic medication. The Lorazepam helped him ‘calm all [his] thoughts down’.
He eventually started going out to see his friends a bit more and felt a lot better. His friends thought that it was because he smoked so much skunk that he was feeling paranoid. At the peak he was smoking 2ozs of skunk a week or ½ oz of hash a day. He was an infrequent user of ecstasy, taking two pills, and was once spiked with ecstasy. Green Lettuce has had some bad reactions to weed and drink in the past, blacking out for minutes at a time. He said that his friends helped a lot to make him feel better, but also posed a problem because they were smoking weed. He found that the more he talked to people the more it helped, as it was blocking the voices in his head. He also had a support worker, who came around every week to see how he was getting on, and appreciated this help. He then had some cognitive behavioural therapy which helped him ‘get back into a normal routine’, and the support worker took him out for walks. He found information on psychosis on Google and read up on it.
Green Lettuce then went to college to do a course at a residential college; this was a success, but he did start getting drunk, which made him feel ‘better than normal’, and it was easier to ignore the voices. He felt he drank less when he was at home. Diazepam helped a great deal. After leaving college Green Lettuce has looked for a job, but because the market is so competitive he is thinking of setting up on his own as an entrepreneur. Green Lettuce would move for a job but likes the peace and quiet of a rural environment, despite the difficulty of getting to places, and living on benefits doesn’t allow him to run a car.
Green Lettuce doesn’t take anti-psychotics at all and is on Diazepam and Zopiclone. Although Lorazepam is stronger (in some people’s opinion) its effects last only a short time. He prefers Diazepam as it has a longer half-life. Green Lettuce spends his time going on short walks, mending computers, and looking for a job. He sees his GP once a month but no longer feels he needs a support worker. 

For more of Green lettuce’s interview see our site on ‘Experiences of psychosis’


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