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In an episode of the documentary series Sinnssykt (i.e., Insanity) which airs on the Norwegian NRK web-tv, we met Emil who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. We get to see how he had plans to take his life, but where care from his friends and seeking help saved him.

Photo: Screenshot from the tv-program,

You can read more about the documentary series here.


Got a psychosis in his teens

Emil has struggled with mental illness for many years. In the episode he is followed by host Cecilie Kåss Furuseth.

- I had my first encounter with psychiatry as an eight-year-old, he says.

- I had a lot of anxiety, and asked many existential questions. 

He says that he got new hope of having a good life when he left secondary school. Then he thought that now he should forget his whole story, and start all over again. 

- Then it hit back, and I got a psychosis. 


Lack of sense of reality

A psychosis is a mental disorder in which the person experiences a lack of reality and disturbed thinking, in addition to having difficulty functioning as normal in everyday life. 

Emil explains in the episode that during psychoses you can get very hung up on things, and these topics can really be anything. For Emil, he engaged deeply in black people's rights in the 1800th and 1900th centuries. He says that he identified with the slaves, and that this became something that controlled much of his life. 

- I wanted to suffer, and hung out a lot on Brugata (i.e., a place in Oslo where many drug addicts assemble). 

He also painted himself black in the skin. Emil reflects on this in retrospect, that he did it in solidarity from time to time, but he later realizes that it was perceived negatively by people around him. 

- I had no control, he says.


Had plans to take his life

In the episode on Sinnssykt, we learn more from his personal story. We hear about hospitalizations and about a struggle to get better, and about how he himself thinks about mental health and mental illness.

Not least, he says that he recently had concrete plans to take his life. He was saved at the last minute by the care of his friends - who asked him straight out about these thoughts, and it became the necessary awakening for him about what he was about to do.

- I think it is a kind of small delusion, wanting to die, he says.

Emil today has clear advice for others who have suicidal thoughts.

- Talk about it, and get it out. It is wise to go out of your own head when you have those things there.



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