What was you’re concept of or attitude towards mental illness and schizophrenia in particular before you’re onset? Had you known anyone who had a mental illness? Did you have any misconceptions about it? Was it something you even thought about at all?
Me, I had only really been vaguely acquainted with one person with schizophrenia and when I say vaguely acquainted I mean he was this guy who used to buy beer for my friends and I in our teens. But his was a very unique and unusual case of schizophrenia. I was more accepting of him than a lot of others back then who would heckle him as he walked by or call him “the schizo”. I remember being very interested in him as he presented with bizarre symptoms and would seem to at random go off into another world.
I struggled early on with depression and anxiety and had been to see psychiatrists off and on since I was seven for ADD and stuff so I guess it was no big jump to be diagnosed with a mental illness. I guess by the time I was diagnosed with sz I had been expecting to lose my mind for some time. I was always different in a way I couldn’t really put my finger on. So it wasn’t really that much of an adjustment to think of myself as having a mental illness, not that I truly wish to be normal, I don’t.
I suppose I was a little more aware of MI than you’re average joe before my onset, I can remember people saying things like “Mentally ill, retarded, what’s the difference?” stuff like that. I guess I was always a little more accepting and even admiring in a way of people who differed in some way from the herd…