Cold Specks' ​Ladan Hussein Opens Up About Living with Schizophrenia

Cold Specks' ​Ladan Hussein Opens Up About Living with Schizophrenia
Photo: Matt Forsythe
Ladan Hussein, who formerly recorded and released music under the name Cold Specks, has penned an essay about her recent diagnosis and ongoing treatment of schizophrenia.
 
Though Hussein has previously spoken about her mental health with publications, she put her own words into a piece for Toronto Life that was published online yesterday (May 8).
 
In it, Hussein explained that while touring her third Cold Specks album, Fool's Paradise, in late 2017, she stopped sleeping and eating properly, spiralling into a psychotic break in January of the next year.
 
"I became convinced that several pop stars were members of the Illuminati, trying to recruit me through their music," Hussein wrote. "I thought they had set up hidden cameras in my apartment and tapped my phone, and I'd talk for hours alone in my apartment, figuring they were listening. I'd see the giant video ads at the Eaton Centre outside my window and assume they were sending me hidden messages. I cut off contact with most of my friends, and feigned normalcy when I spoke to my family."
 
Hussein explained it away as depression, but multiple episodes led her friends and family to unsuccessfully seek professional treatment for her. It wasn't until she broke into her former apartment and police brought her to CAMH (the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), where she was involuntarily held for two months, that she was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia.
 
"When my doctors diagnosed me with schizophrenia, I refused to believe them," she wrote. "There was no history of mental illness in my family, and schizophrenia seemed too heavy, too scary."
 
But when Hussein was given her first paliperidone injection, she recognized her delusions for what they were. She continues to receive injections every three months to mitigate the symptoms of schizophrenia.
 
While recovering at CAMH, she began to write words, then music again, and will eventually return to the studio.
 
As Hussein concluded, though, "The next time I record music, I'll use my own name instead of Cold Specks. Because I finally feel like myself again."

Read the powerful piece in its entirety here via Toronto Life.