Portrayal of SZ in Literature

Hello everyone!

I’m an english student working on a novel and would like to include a character with SZ. My late grandfather had SZ and some of the ways I have heard people talk about him have been hurtful, completely wrong, and unfounded. By including this character I would really like to help people understand more about what it actually means and is like to have SZ. I am really nervous because I myself don’t have SZ and I really don’t want to portray it poorly, or offensively. I also am trying to keep the novel more light hearted to show that those with mental disorders should not be ostracized in any way, but I do not want to trivialize anything that anyone has gone through. If you have the time, would you please comment anything that you think I should know, be aware of, look into, or advice on this concept. I am open to any and all feedback. Also please let me know if you think that this is a bad idea, I shouldn’t write about it, etc. I want to help your community the best I can!

Thank you all!!

Whatever you do, don’t make them violent. I’m so sick of seeing that cliche.

Is your character in treatment/medicated or not? Because that will make a difference.


I think it’s a great idea, it’s very hard to find literature that accurately portrays a person with sz.

You should definitely write about it.

I can tell you that some people hear voices of people acusing them of being something they’re not like or asking to do violent things (but if you use this try to not be a cliche like LED said, because most don’t follow the voices), others see things like shadow people and demons, scary things like blood on the floor or the walls for example, fire… Most of us have paranoid delusions and delusions of reference (thinking people are talking about him, or that there are signs of the universe that are directed to us), thinking we’re god or the messiah (this one is what I went through most), …

The little details on behavioural issues you can read as research on this book:

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I would like to see you portray some of the pain of schizophrenia. Show a person in his lucid moments who is a very decent person who is terrorized by the things sz does to him. Also, it might help to portray some of the bad effects of the med’s we need so badly. You can get a sense of the bad aspects of med’s by asking about it on this site. You could also maybe show caretakers who are at a loss how to take care of their sz dependent.

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I like the idea of trying to write a character with sz and the above suggestions.

I agree not to portray violence and not to “romanticize” or quirkify the illness.

Since you are a writer, give the character an arc, a real story. Round not flat.

Though I don’t know how to gauge the accuracy of this portrayal of a protagonist with sz, I enjoyed reading this book: http://us.macmillan.com/wherethemoonisnt/nathanfiler

Why not base the character on your grandfather?

Is your novel going to be about schizophrenia? The reason why I am asking this because my life doesn’t revolve around schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder are pretty much like everyone else, except for the fact that most of us have to take medication.

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Thank you so much for your input! I will definitely avoid any violence. I was thinking about switching from non-medicated to medicated and treated throughout the course of the novel (or the other way around). Does that seem like a good approach or too much to take on?

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Thank you for being so encouraging! It means a lot to me! Those are all really helpful things to know because I would like to include stuff that is different from what the media portrays. That book looks awesome!! I’m going to order it right now, thank you so much!

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Okay I now figured out that I can reply to multiple posts at once by tagging people. Sorry if I ended up sending way too many notifications to you all! Thank you all for your support!
@crimby that seriously is such valuable input. I didn’t think about including the perspective of the caretakers, that is a fantastic idea. I’ll also definitely ask about the negative effects of meds too. I will definitely try to portray the pain and terror to the best of my abilities. I think that’s so important to recognize
@Hereandhere I will stay as far as I can from romanticizing sz. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for that. Thank you so much for the book recommendation! I’ll check it out!
@Tetsuo The main motif of the novel will be about what makes us human, and how our emotions and capacity to care can unite us. So this character I’m writing about will play one of the bigger roles in the novel but I am hesitant about them being the main character because I don’t want schizophrenia to be the biggest focus of the book, and I’m really looking to demonstrate how absurd it is to ostracize people affected by schizophrenia or really any other mental illness. That’s a good idea to incorporating elements of my grandpa into this character, I hadn’t really thought about that!

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You could do it like Faulkner and have it be stream of consciousness.

Going from non medicated to medicated would be a story of triumphing over the illness (for a little while at least). If you went from medicated to symptomatic it would be a tragedy. Which one suits your tastes? It is better to write for ourselves. If you want people to treat people with Sz better, maybe stick with the triumphant story arch.

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Your sweet for your concern, id focus on the light hearted moments of living with Saz.Last time i thought every body new what iwas thinking,a society joined at the heels for being a positive dominoe, i felt funny, probably like you would feel, but ive been through so much,and it was kinda funny wayching my delusion shake its head in wonder of my courage, fearlessness,it was actualy kind of pleasant and funny,light hearted,like try me…haha.Then it went away after a fight holding those attributes

The novelist F.Scott Fitzgerald married a beautiful schizophrenic named Zelda. Therefore, I believe he knew the disease pretty well.

I was very eager to watch some of his novels tuned into movies to see if there were any characters with schizophrenia, and I was not disappointed in that regard.



You seem like an intresting dude. How old r u? And still overcoming schizophrenia?I think we can learn a lot from u. Schizophrenic veterans surving the war of SZ. I think you may have something invaluble to share,stay tuned in …ha.:v:

I never knew that. Interesting to hear.