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Ben Hall was 33 and living in Ohio eight years ago when he began having delusional thoughts. “I thought the police were out to get me; that people were trying to do me in. I felt like I was being watched,” he said. “I would go into the grocery store and think everybody was looking at me – the people walking into the grocery, the people driving down the road.”

Hall, who was soon diagnosed with schizophrenia, has been helped by the drug clozapine, commonly used to treat patients with schizophrenia, but he still has trouble functioning in society.

He speaks haltingly – trying to organize his thoughts into words as he talks about the difficulty he has had holding a job and having friends and a girlfriend. Recently unemployed from his job with the State of Tennessee, he says his friendships are “few and far between.”

When asked to describe what it’s like to have schizophrenia, Hall has trouble finding the words. He apologizes. Then they come, effortlessly. “Schizophrenia, untreated, is like riding an endless roller coaster,” he says. “For some people this might be fun, but it’s an emotional spin of downs and ups. Sometimes you’re
feeling OK, and everything is looking positive. Sometimes you have these racing thoughts and delusional thinking. You know something is wrong, but everything is happening so fast.”  continued>>

WRITTEN BY NANCY HUMPHREY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEAN DIXON
 
 

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