Stigma That Goes Along With Having Schizophrenia

The first thing I thought when I was recently diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia was, “What will people think of me?” Do I tell them? And if so, what do I say?

Well I found out last week why I don’t discuss my mental health issues with others. I went to get my teeth cleaned and the dental hygienist asked me for the list of medications I was taking. I gave her the 4 new ones prescribed by my psychiatrist; one of which is Risperdal. The dentist comes in before the cleaning to talk to me about my x-rays and says, “Risperdal? Isn’t that for Schizophrenia?”

So now I have to tell him that’s what I was diagnosed with. I try to minimize it by saying, “but I don’t ever see or hear things that aren’t there.” Which of course isn’t true. Unfortunately, the hygienist was in there and heard the conversation. For the next 30 minutes she is firing question after question at me with her hands in my mouth. The questions were just so out of line and it really bothered me. It was like I was a monkey at the zoo and she was watching me behind the glass.

For years I wasn’t honest in therapy and I think it’s one of the reasons that it took so long to get a true diagnosis. I was simply afraid of what happened in the dentist’s office. After this incident, I don’t feel like I want to go back to therapy; I just don’t want to share anymore. Problem is, I won’t get meds.

I’m just curious what your experiences have been when telling others about your diagnosis.


I’m sorrry you had to go through that experience. It’s never easy to come out with our diagnoses at first. I didn’t tell anybody the first year, then I started telling people.

I haven’t come across people that are mean, some were mean during my psychosis, and the ones I met after just asked a bunch of innapropriate questions. Than there’s the ones that are cool with it and don’t ask questions or say something innapropriate… It depends.

In medical care you need to say it, in personal relationships is ultimately your choice.

I wouldn’t stop going to the psychologist just yet, you’ll get used to talking about it and it’s his/hers job to make sure you feel confortable with the illness.

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Sitting in the chair at a dentist’s office is always a little strange. They always seem to want to chit chat while they’re poking around in your mouth.

I don’t have a problem telling people but it is a little awkward sometimes. I don’t tell everyone I meet but almost everyone I know has been informed.

It is what it is, nothing to be ashamed of or to hide. Others can only accept our illness when we accept it ourselves.

And welcome to the forum.


In my experience as well, the attitude I have myself when tellling makes all the difference. People have a sense for insecurity, shame and worry. Like a dog smells fear, and then acts accordingly. They either don’t know what to do when we disclose with such attitudes, makes them unfomfortable, or they may sometimes perceive it as a weakness and take advantage of it. When telling comfortable and confident, they just listen and swallow what you have to tell like a good doggie.

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Better not to discuss it. In lots of places, a ton of people hear the voices anyway and govt won’t give them disability pay. These are the angry people doing social problems to some schizo like weirdo stalking, verbal harassment (thought broadcasting), vandalism and worse…Some churches even have a lot of people turn to them to make the voices stop and they set their people on newer schizos like it is ethical issue to be getting disability pay following mental care as their people do not usually get any money, but sometimes take easier work (physical) to deal with symptoms. My opinion, NOTHING about schizo will get positive reaction, I would NEVER discuss it.

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I’ve never had bad experiences with sharing my diagnosis. My dentist asked what my diagnosis was and I told her and that was it. No follow-up questions. Maybe they were just trying to chat with you.

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