Their messages became extremely scary and confusing.
Based on his rigorous training as a professional athlete, Aldridge was not one to quickly turn to get help and admit his problems. So, for a while, Aldridge kept his schizophrenia to himself. He attempted to rid himself of them by simply ignoring them. However, the voices began to get more and more intense and Aldridge had a harder and harder time keeping his illness a secret. The voices became incredibly antagonizing and tortured Aldridge with delusions of incompetence and extreme self-loathing. Eventually, he could no longer control his reactions to the voices, "I started talking back to the voices, bickering and pleading and cursing," (Aldridge 2009:1). Thus, with this erratic behavior, rumors began circling about Aldridge being on drugs and in an unstable mental state. His declining state led him to loose his job, family, and friends. He lost everything and became a nomad dominated by his illness. Eventually he agreed to be hospitalized by the urgings of his old friends. There he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and "slowly the doctors hit upon some drugs that helped. Little by little my condition improved, the voices gradually subsided," (Aldridge 2009:5). After a long, uphill battle, Aldridge began to regain his hold on his life and his mind. When he recovered, he made it a point to be open about his battle with the disease to help provide the support of a successful recovery case that was not available to him when he needed it based on the stigma attached to schizophrenia; "After finally receiving beneficial treatment and achieving recovery from his illness, Aldridge became an outspoken mental illness advocate, working with such national organizations as NAMI," (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill 2005:1). His charitable work now lives on with the work of his two daughters.
Aldridge, Lionel. (2009). He was a star with the champion Green Bay Packers, then a popular TV commentator with a golden future. Voices. Guideposts. Retrieved November 1, 2009 at http://www.guideposts.com/story/Lionel-Aldridge-Green-Bay-schizophrenia
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. (2005). Lionel's house -- football star charity to benefit community. Schizophrenia Update. 2(31):1. Retrieved November 1, 2009 at http://www.namiscc.org/News/2005/Newsletters/Summer/Schizophrenia2-31.htm#lionel
World Health Organization. (1992). Paranoid schizophrenia. Schizophrenia.com. Retrieved November 1, 2009 at http://www.schizophrenia.com/szparanoid.htm