The Stigma of Schizophrenia

Monday, September 7 |

So you what if you have schizophrenia? Schizophrenia, like most other mental illness, are a attached to a stigma that is not easily shaken.You of course are a beacon of mental health but many people out there have had to struggle with mental issues that has left them feeling alone and isolated. I would love for you to take a moment to imagine how your life would change if you were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The unique combination of characteristics that made you special, sexy, or silly are now associated to your sickness. The people who know look at with pity and try to keep their distance just in case... At what point do you share your diagnoses with an employer, your dates, your family, or your neighbors?

There are a many unfaltering characteristics attributed to schizophrenics: weird, egocentric, delusional, impulsive, unstable, unsafe, homeless, poor, uneducated, learning disabled, sociopaths, multiple personalities, violent, and incapable of recognizing reality. When someone suffers with extreme symptoms of mental illness their behavior can become a eradicate and scary but those are behaviors and not an expression the person. Most people with this diagnoses never become violent, able to manage this effectively thorough appropriate treatment methods, and maintian "normal" productive lives.

I first become interested in psychology are the age of 9. My parents had medical encyclopedias and I loved scanning for illness and diseases, both physical and medical, but for some reason schizophrenia struck a chord in me. My heart went out to people who suffered from the list of symptoms that I read. I'd guess the discrimination that I'd experienced lead me take on stand that everyone deserves to live a life free of stigmas and discrimination. Still I'm sure there was a part of me that wondered about my own psychosis. After all I've seen some dead people, had several weird experiences, and wondered if one day I would be classified as crazy. I imagined having to work hard to attain the life that I wanted because the stigma in-spite of the fact that I was a normally functioning adult. I have been to several therapist through out my life and my only diagnoses has been depression (...BORING...).

Still I had some experience with schizophrenia through my work in health care. Each person that I worked with that shared a diagnosed but did not share the same manifestations of the illness. Each person had their own unique personality and set challenges. If I had to guess I would say that I've personally worked with 30 people that had schizophrenia, all but one also had a traumatic brain injury.Most of my clients have earned a permanent spot in my heart because of what I've experience with them. A lot of coworkers looked at me crossed eyes as I built a personal relationship with these individuals; how unprofessional is it to listen to advice or lend a shoulder to cry on for these people.

Thank God I stopped caring about pleasing my coworkers and instead learned to trust my instincts because I was able to get to know some awesome individuals who have taught me a lot about life and love. Never have I felt personally unsafe or uncomfortable around them; however I must say that our program was not equipped for extreme cases so someone working in a mental hospital might have a different perspective. Still I think its important to always look at people as people, not illness. My clients were people in a difficult situation focusing on developing skills to regain their independence through working their customized rehabilitation program...and a lot of them made it. Many left the rehabilitation to center to work full-time, continue their education, get their own place, or to go home and raise their kids.

So if you have a negative stereotype of schizophrenia I encourage you to take a minute and visit one of the blogs bellow. I found them and thought it would be good way for people to get familiar with the disease and with those whose suffer from it. If you yourself have been diagnosed with any mental illness take comfort that society views are changing with the influx of information that's on the internet. In the mean time take pride in yourself for who you are and not what you have.

Removing Stigma Mental Health Part 1

Schizophrenia Blogs:

Kristin Bell's Video Blog
My Life's Adventure
The Wife of a Schizophrenia


Shadow said...

sympathy, help and understanding is much more productive than judging...

Hypnotransformations said...

Thank you for bringing awareness to schizophrenia. I used to work specifically with dual diagnosis clients. (schizophrenia and substance abuse diagnosed) I am so glad there are medications and independent living programs to help people with schizophrenia live happy healthy lives.
It broke my heart to see the stares and cruelty people exhibit when they don't understand about mental illness.

Nivedita said...

great article, good read :))

Thanx for sharing the information my dear :)


LLnL said...

Thank you all so much for the encouragement.

saritameow said...

very interesting! Thanks!