Schizophrenia.com

Researcher says we should model our coming out as mentally ill after gays

I just read some of Corrigan’s work and he said that we should take after the homosexuals in their coming out. This is the guy I want to work with for a PhD. He’s the leading expert on stigma in America, maybe the world. He’s written over 250 articles and a dozen books. I wrote a special personal statement for him because I want to be public about my illness if I work under him as a doctoral student. This struck me because I am bisexual and I came out a little over a year ago. I came out as achizophrenic before that. Like shortly before that.

I’m proud of being the way I am. I handle this ■■■■. I worked out late in an empty gym with a buddy of mine from way back who works at the gym and has keys, he’s a neuroscience student and just graduated. He’s got issues too. Part of how we became friends way back when we were teens.

I’m sick of how so many of us are ashamed and self stigmatizing themselves. I go do what I am supposed to and I do it well and can say that I do the best I can. I try to be nice to people, I’m quite friendly…in most cases.

I want us all to come out. It’s unhealthy to keep it a secret, go state it and take people’s breath away, leave them speechless, and if necessary, intimidated. Inspire the rest.

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I recall having exactly that thought when I opened up to some of the first people I told: ‘This is what it must be like coming out as gay’.

With sz there’s a lot of ignorance included as well though, so the coming out sessions turn into me educating people on what it is, how it is treated, what changes when psychotic etc. I believe coming out reduces stigma for I think people tend to trust stories they heard first-hand from someone they know who’s been there over rumours they may have heard somewhere. So that way you can reduce stigma in the little circle you’re a part of.

I think it is easier for people that are high-functioning though. I am a MSc. student and will graduate summa cum laude depending on my thesis, so if I tell fellow-students, they are usually baffled, ‘ah so that’s schizophrenia too?!’ you can see them think. Nowadays I do not feel a big burden to tell people, I just do it when it comes up in a conversation or when I need to explain something. I can imagine that coming out as gay goes more casually as well once u’ve told it so many times already.

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Supposedly up to 25% of the population have a mental health issue during their lifetime. But I think many of those will want to put the bad times behind them once they’ve had their short lived period of mild clinical depression. Still I think a lot of them will be sympathetic to the idea.

But rates of sz are high enough - around 1% - that many people will know someone with the disease. It may surprise a lot of the population, but most people do have a hundred friends and acquaintances, and it’s likely that someone in that group will have the condition.

For me personally, coming out as gay was a lot easier than coming out as psychotic. Everyone pretty much knows what to expect from a gay person, but there are all kinds of horror stories surrounding schizophrenia, thanks to the media. Also, growing up in New York, being gay is pretty widely accepted as a totally fine way to be. When I was living in Oklahoma, it was a lot scarier, but I only lasted there for about six weeks. And then I discovered I’m not 100% gay after all. It was more that I had been traumatized by the idea of heterosexual sex, so I rejected it completely for a few years. These days, I like mostly ladies, but also one particular guy.

Coming out as psychotic is a lot harder for me. I work with children, and I worry if my employers or the parents ever find out, they’ll be demanding I leave. I did tell one family about the PTSD side of things, because their child also has PTSD, but she’s nonverbal and can’t express what she experiences. So I helped them get a better understanding of how to help her when she has a flashback. But I dont think I will ever tell my boss over fear of getting fired. Maybe this makes me a coward, and maybe I should be speaking out more to break through stigma, but at least I’m a coward with a job.

I am very open with all my friends and family though. My friends don’t care at all. They just find it interesting. My family wishes I would be a little less open with them, because they prefer to never talk about mental health. But I put it all out in the open and kind of force them to deal with what I say. Over time, they have become less resistant to talking about it. Yesterday, my mom even asked me where I think this all came from (my two brothers also have schizophrenia symptoms, but have never been diagnosed or treated).

So this was all really long-winded, but basically, I think coming out as gay is a lot easier, depending on where you live, because it is more widely accepted. But that’s only because some strong people started the acceptance movement a long time ago for us. Maybe now we have to be the pioneers of acceptance of mental illness. It’s a scary thought.

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I’m not sure about this great purge of information, you know I had the bullying at work, so I told the management for first time, I have schizophrenia

and they took it very well, and asked if I needed any accommodations. But I heard others on the low end talking about a guy who used to work there having OCD

and they always said “his problems with OCD, that was his downfall, or he was really messed up,”

it might have been a test for me to react or to open up and say oh yeah, well, I have schizophrenia.

When I’m pushed, I won’t open up. But when there is support, and it seems necessary I will. I tested the waters there. Guys on top, yes, but contractors and guys on bottom, no.

You mean that there can be a closet within a closet even? …hahahaaaha… Hell, may be some of us will never make it out at all.

Coming out as a psychotic in a University setting is not the same as telling coworkers or employers that you suffer from a severe mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar.

There is a lot of stigma attached to the schizophrenia label, or bipolar for that matter.

Confessing to others about your psychosis, especially in a work environment is a recipe for disaster - it will bite you in the ass eventually.

Employers do not like to know this about you, for them, taking on someone who is prone towards psychosis is a liability for them, this is what they are thinking. All kinds of stereotypes pop up in their head - sad but true.

I made the mistake of telling someone at work whom I thought I could trust, that I suffered from bipolar disorder, and soon everyone was treating me as if I was ( pardon the word) “retarded”

You cannot avoid Gossip at your work site - it exists.
Frankly speaking, its no ones business really - if you need an accommodation, then this is a different story - you have to tell Human Resources.

We do not live in a perfect world that is filled with sunshine and roses - there is a lot of ■■■■■■■■ that goes on!

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@wave i agree 100% with your statement

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Im quite open about my mental ilness, though I certainly didnt used to be. But I usually dont bring it up unless I need to explain why I am not working much or otherwise. As with my sexuality as bisexual, I sometimes say and sometimes dont. I most often se no reason to tell unless I know someone well.

agreed it is silly to hide it. I don’t but some people i know might want me to keep it to myself or think i am weird and crazy. but there is always going to be someone somewhere who doesn’t like me. in fact most people don’t and most of their reasoning are superficial and judgmental anyway.,. so oh well. sometimes i think i should try harder to fit in. but then i realize that people won’t like me no matter what because they can read my thoughts and think i should not be allowed to be in public places and such because it is such an annoyance. i have thought of suicide but i am too much of a scaredy to actually do it.

I admitted to being mentally ill before I admitted to being gay. I’m not ashamed or anything it’s just hard to talk to family and friends about.

There is a big difference between people not liking you and being mind ■■■■■■ everyday on the job because you’re schizophrenic! !

Nobody can actually read your mind. Though, I’m sure saying this probably doesn’t help much. I hope that gets better for you.

I think the public need to be educated on schizophrenia more as there has been a lot of negative portrayal of the illness in the media. I even had someone ask me f there were bars on the windows after I came out of hospital lol. I also had someone telling others I had split personality disorder which also was a bit annoying.

Maybe it is up to us to educate people ourselves.

I would be less open about my current dx(paranoid PD) than about when I was still seen as schizoaffective. That’s because descriptors of paranoid PD are very negative and suggest you are a shitty person if you have it. It’s not the kind of thing you want to confess to unless on a forum like this.

Who is this author? Can you share a link to the author’s work at all online?

https://humansciences.iit.edu/faculty/patrick-corrigan

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=corrigan+stigma

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I’m applying to work under him. Already contacted him and he said he’s accepting PhD students

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Please become a psychiatrist and come to rural America. We’re hurting here.

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Ditto on bi, came out in vegas. Now I have a girlfriend of almost two years. Guess it’s a demonization either subject truthfully.

Just having both was hard for me, but I reconcile with the past today. But won’t ever use the drugs I used back then. I’m a week sober and I hate life.

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