Archive for stigma

Living With The Stigma of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia in and of itself is a terrifying word. It conjures up ideas of murderous intent, lack of control, psychosis and a host of other scary things.

I live with this word though, I am the word and the word is me. There are movements in the mental health community not to let your diagnosis define you but believing that is lying not only to yourself but to the world. I am schizophrenic and I’m proud of it. It’s like a long deep scar across my face that gives me immensely strong character and a resilience that you’d be hard pressed to find in the vast majority of people who don’t have the faintest idea what living with a major mental illness is like.

Words fail when describing both the gift and the curse of it. Read More →

Facing Stigma as a Person with Schizophrenia

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia ten years ago. In that time, I’ve been able to stabilize mostly and regain a sense of self that was all but lost in the first few years I was sick.

As a writer, the next challenge is always, “What should I write about?” and to say the least, schizophrenia has given me so much to put on the page.

There are so many different challenges and facets that someone with schizophrenia experiences that to cover everything I’d have to fill a library.

I won’t lie that the illness is also a blessing though, writing about my experiences has gotten me bylines in some of the most prestigious publications out there and it’s provided a basis for self sufficiency. Read More →

How to Deal With Stigma

I’ve lived with mental illness for ten years now. Throughout that time I’ve become acutely aware of the myriad ways in which our culture treats those who have mental illness.

It seems that, especially this year there isn’t a week or a month that goes by without some kind of tragedy. Whether it’s a gun-toting killer entering a school or a terrorist attack there’s always the subtext after something like that that the perpetrator was unstable.

Mental illness is an all too convenient scapegoat for labeling people who do heinous acts and while it’s true that they may have some sort of chemical imbalance, this narrative which plays itself out across media outlets goes too far in suggesting that all people with mental illness are dangerous and unstable. It’s a sad story to have to live with when the majority of people with major mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violent crime then perpetrators.

The truth is, this stigma is everywhere, it’s in the words that we use to describe the feverish impulses of ex-partners and its in the words that we use to describe behavior that is just even slightly outside the normal scope of accepted discourse. Read More →