The Creative Schizophrenic
I first started writing seriously and becoming interested in filmmaking when I was a teenager in the late 80s and I found books about screenwriting and filmmakers in the library of the prison I was in.
When I was released on parole from a six year sentence at the age of 20, I went to Battersea Basement Studios, a project for young offenders, and I made my first film, researching, writing and presenting a 10 minute documentary about crime and environmental problems at Wandsworth roundabout underpass.
Shortly after I’d completed this film, I started drifting back into crime and went back to jail for nearly two years after I was arrested for burglary and possession of firearms. During this time I completed my first novel, which was 435 handwritten A4 pages.
I went back to BBS when I got out and made another 10 minute documentary, which was about car crime, and I wrote, directed and presented it. And the film won an award for young peoples contribution to crime prevention week.
A little while later I had a co-written article about my experiences of using crack cocaine, published in The Wandsworth Borough News. And I then had a long article on the same subject, which I wrote myself, published in The Guardian newspaper.
After seven months of freedom though I went back to jail for aggravated burglary. I spent another year in prison, and I became a Christian during this sentence, but I was already starting to become mentally ill. This was because of all the trauma I’d experienced over the years, and because of all the drugs I’d taken, and also because I was burning myself out by writing what I guess is a world record amount of letters to people during the final year that I was in jail.
I got released in the summer of 1992, I was 24 and had spent eight years of my life in prison, from the age of 15, for crimes including GBH, burglaries and robberies. And when I got released I quickly abandoned my new Christian faith and within a few months I had a breakdown and was admitted to Springfield psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with schizophrenia. Within 18 months I was hospitalized three times, twice on a section. I was last discharged from hospital at the end of 1993, and most of the time since then I’ve remained on antipsychotic medication.
Even when I was ill though I still kept writing, but rarely got any of my work published.
I started going to church again at the end of 1998, after I’d been out of jail six years. I then met some Christians called Tom and Aideen who watched my old documentaries and encouraged me to go to college. In 1999 I got a City and Guilds qualification on video production. And in 2000 I got a HNC qualification in the same subject. Since then I’ve also made two attempts at studying filmmaking at university, the second time getting halfway through the three year degree course, but I failed some work on the theory side.
I’ve now been married for 14 years to Tara, who I met in church. I’ve got two grown up step children and two daughters. My wife and kids are the most important thing in my life, alongside my relationship with Jesus. And what is also extremely important to me is my creative work.
I’ve wrote 17 mainly slim books now, and have so far had three of them published as ebooks under my previous pen name Christophrenic. I’ve also had many articles published and letters and poems etc. And I’ve made loads of films, ranging from short dramas, documentaries, a music video, video diaries, and I’ve also filmed many weddings, baptisms, parties and plays etc.
My creativity is something that gives me a focus, goals and a purpose in life. It also gives me relief, a sense of freedom and a rich sense of enjoyment and satisfaction.
To see some of my video work go to my Youtube channel under my name Paul Warwick. And to find my ebooks, free short stories, some of my poems and more of my films, please go to my website www.paul-warwick.co.uk.