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Living With Schizophrenia


Martin Norris

In February of 1958 I had an extremely awful dream which would change my life. I dreamt that I was at home listening to “Sing It Again”, which was the prequel to “Sing Something Simple”, in this dream
my Father took me upstairs, but instead of my bedroom, there was a ramp and a door at the top, my dad took me up the ramp and pushed me through the door and shouted: “Let the Fotfos deal with you”.
The fotfos were big and round and when they walked, they stamped their feet. I awoke and I was screaming for my Grandma. The Housemother came to get us up and instead of her soothing me when I told her
about the dream, she told me: “Pull yourself together and get dressed”.

This dream was a recurring one. Ever since that day up until the time I left Shelton Hospital in May 1970, I was actually afraid of going to bed. There was one incident when I was at home and
David (my Brother) got into bed first. I heard the Fotfos shouting, and I got into bed so quickly that I unintentionally bumped David. Other similar things happened. In 1960 I heard Brian Johnson’s
“Looking high, High, High” which was the UK entry for Eurovision. I remember going to bed, and while I was getting ready, the Fotfos were shouting “High high high”. Later on that year (1960) I was
getting ready for bed and I heard voices saying: “Go tish bed”, and I burst out crying. Miss Nicholl was on duty and she soothed me and after I told her what was going on and why I was crying, she
assured me that nothing was going on.

When I went to Secondary School (Rowton) I was called “Norris” my Surname, all the boys were called by their Surnames by the Male teachers. However, I hated it so much so that I insisted that I should
be called by my Christian name: Martin. I was also bullied by the other students (both Male and Female).

In 1968 my Aunt took myself and David on a walking holiday to the Lake District. We firstly went scree walking and I couldn’t hack it. I used to stay at Grandma’s at the end of my Summer Holidays.
She used to put on Mid Day Spin, but when I went to see her in 1968, things changed. I was given a dressing down and told that if I wanted to listen to the radio I had to earn the privilege by walking.

When I went back to RNC it was the time for me to study for my CSEs. I also had to take work home at Christmas which I hadn’t had to do before. It was the 2nd Sunday after we got back to School and Mr. King
(who was on my side) saw the bags under my eyes, and he asked me: “Martin when was the last time you had a good night’s sleep?” I told him that I slept the first night that I was back. When he asked me why,
I told him everything about the scree walking and my Grandma’s treatment of me. I told him that I will carry on until I had finished my CSEs, because my Grandma thinks that I am a “Greenicoza” and a weakling to boot.
(The definition of a Greenicoza is “someone of little consequence who does nothing but listen to music and nothing else.

Anyway, at the beginning of 1970, I had just had enough, and one Thursday, after tea, I went to the Surgery to see Sister Mollinue, and I let it all out about the fact that I couldn’t sleep, that a voice
called “Ohne Yea” was tormenting me, my Grandma was against me (preferring David) and I was a weakling and Miss Salt was cruel to me. After I told her this she said that the next time Dr. Gemell
(the School Doctor) comes, you will be seeing him. Well, Dr. Gemell came, and he referred me to Shelton Hospital.

When I went home for Half Term in February of 1970, my Dad gave me such a lecture. Words to the effect of: “None of us have seen a Psychiatrist, why do you have to be different?” Also: “Your Mother won’t
know what to say to the neighbours, and if she tells them, she will be shunned by the town.”

On the 3rd March, 1970, I had an appointment to meet with the Head Consultant of Shelton, Dr. Littlejohn. He asked me all sorts of questions, and finally, he asked me “What shape is an Orange”? I freaked out
and said: “It’s round like the Fotfos who terrorised me”. I was then told that I suffered from Schizophrenia.

On the 11th March at 11 a.m. I was taken to the Hospital by a member of staff from School. When I was in there I was given 6 “Treatments”, the treatments were ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy). They were
Humane in 1970, so I was given an injection in my left arm (Pre-med), and I was then taken to the Treatment Room, where I was told to lie down on the bed. Then I had a rubber gag placed in my mouth so that
I wouldn’t swallow my tongue whilst I was asleep and I was injected with Anaesthetic which put me to sleep for about 2 minutes necessitating the treatment. When I came round after the first one, my head felt
as though I had drunk 7 pints and 7 Vodkas. The headache was unbelievable. The treatment cured me of the Fotfos, they got rid of those creatures.

If the Staff of Wavertree School for the Blind had been caring, they would have told Dr. Wilkinson (the School Doctor,) that something was wrong with me, and I could have been seen at Alderhey Children’s Hospital
(Liverpool’s answer to Great Ormond Street), and they could have given me treatment then, but the Staff at Wavertree hadn’t a clue. The only Teacher who soothed me was Miss Nicholl.