Stigma: Time to get over it?

We never feel stigma for the things we’ve done. It is always because of something that someone else has done that we feel stigma is created.

Yet we’ve all, most of us at least, done stupid, embarrassing and bizarre things when ill. We’ve probably all done our share of enabling stigma. Stigma just doesn’t appear out of nowhere.

Is it time to drop the self-righteous victim act we all play when confronted with stigma? While we may not have contributed to that person’s feelings about our illness, we certainly have contributed to someone else looking poorly at it.

I know I’ve had trouble dealing with stigma. Maybe it’s time to just accept that this disease is deserving of such a negative reputation.

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Hi Malvok - I just wanted to emphasize that Schizophrenia does not deserve a negative reputation. Too many Non SZ people forget or dont take the time to educate themselves of the fact that Schizophrenia is a brain disorder, it is a severe illness, ranking up there with Alzheimers, Parkinsons, ALS etc… Its too bad that SZ gets a bad reputation, when it is an illness many times that is difficult to treat and control. The movie industry has generated lots of the stigma, and yes stigma does exist. We as schizophrenics do not cause the stigma, we did not ask for such a miserable and disabling illness. Its not a weakness, its not a psychological condition that can be controlled easily. Once the masses understand the mechanics and science behind this brain disease, then just maybe the stigma will go away or at least diminish

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The thing I’m saying is that people didn’t just one day, for no reason, pick schizophrenia to stigmatize. They do it because somewhere a schizophrenic did something that caused their belief.

When a schizophrenic cuts off a head it causes stigma, when one shoots the President it causes stigma, when one stands on a street corner naked shouting their delusional thoughts it causes stigma. We need to accept that we have caused this stigma ourselves.

We may have not asked for it, but we’ve caused it.

We do cause it, but many times our actions cannot be helped. False portrayals of people dxed with schizophrenia can be found in the movies and tv shows. This really generates a false misinterpretation of what SZ is really all about.
Where there is ignorance, there will be stigma. People believe what they see in the media. This is not helping our cause. You can be against what a schizophrenic did or said, but when you know the reasons behind it, and consider why he did it it - explaining it medically, there really should be no stigma. Stigma and ignorance usually go hand in hand

Stigma is hard word for me. I prefer prejudice. Acting without knowing all the facts. Although I guess technically stigma is a form of prejudice, so I have been told.

While Malvok’s post may be a little harsh I do see his point. Until those being stigmatized are willing to stand up and help get rid of ignorance then ignorance will continue to win. I won’t say anymore :heart:


This is why racism continues, and people call my Dad a lazy Mexican when he only works 8 hours in a day. This is why gay marriage is still dominating congress and not the jobless rate, this is why MacCarthy’s red scare was able to go on and on. Ignorance and the spread of ignorance.

The people with the warped ideas are the ones screaming the loudest, and they were screaming the earliest. But now things are changing.

Bit by bit people are standing up and saying… NO, that’s not right at all. Education always takes longer to grab hold then previously held perceptions.

@mortimermouse posted one simple line the other day that stuck with me. It was something along the lines of not being a schizophrenic but being man with schizophrenia.

I like that. I usually call myself a schizophrenic. But I find his line much more eloquent and apt. I am no longer “a schizophrenic” … I’m a man with schizophrenia.


Yeah I guess it is. Another way of saying it is that we, and I include myself, need to not be so terribly defensive when stigma arises. Instead we should state that while not everyone commits these acts, that we recognize that some of us do.

I’m referring to myself as much as anyone. For years now I’ve been very anti-stigma, very defensive. So easily offended by words and misconceptions. I’m just saying that some of us need to relax a bit.


I totally agree. I didn’t realize that I used to say that my son was schizophrenic until it was pointed out to me. A mere changing of how it is phrased can make a big difference. My son has schizophrenia. He is more than that and it is only a part of who he is.


:boom: I’m right there with you. I’m learning to relax a bit. It’s not all said to be mean, it’s lack of knowledge and a chance to open that dialogue. I’m learning that an honest “just not knowing” is vastly different then willful ignorance.

A friend from my very young age has re-entered my life after a 10 year absence. I was SURE he split due to my SZ. But I guess he didn’t want to keep putting up with me when I was always drunk and verbally abusive.

Now that I’m not consistently drunk off my butt and cussing him out, I’m easier to hang out with. (Image that?)

He has been a really good friend these past few months that he’s been back, and when I had my episode a two months ago, and I got really paranoid and started getting a little unhinged, he was there, ready to help. He’s been just as good a friend as I remember back in the day.

But he just says all the wrong stuff. He back peddles and he’s trying to learn, but he is cursed with foot in mouth syndrome. When I call him on it, he’s cool about it and corrects his behavior. I’m learning to relax about the verbal misstep.

Same thing on my end… In the time we were apart, he’s come out of the closet. I get foot in mouth syndrome too. But when he corrects me on it, I stay cool about it and don’t do it again.

It’s teaching me that there has to be some tolerance in there somewhere or things will never change.

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I get stigmatized because I always tell people I’m schizophrenic. But I’m proud of what I have over come. Unfortunately, I’m only proud of what most people can’t understand. Had a great job as therapist and was doing great until I told human recourses why I took Zyprexa and so they quickly fired me. Should of said it was for depression.

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Maybe Im wrong, but isn’t a 'schizophrenic" a word to describe someone living with schizophrenia?
Nevermind - I see the point you guys are making, it does make sense. The word schizophrenic might even be a stigmatizing word! Depending on the intent

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I think that all, on one level, ties into being defensive. You don’t hear diabetics say “I’m a person with Diabetes” or a homosexual say “I practice homosexuality”, or a painter say “I am a person who paints.” They just say, “I’m a diabetic” or “I’m a homosexual” or “I’m a painter”.

When I say I’m a schizophrenic it doesn’t mean that my entire existence is based on the disease. No more than being a diabetic makes my whole life about diabetes or a car salesman’s job makes him nothing more than a car salesman.


Yeah, it is. You are correct… I’m just taking my own verbal spin on it. Playing with the words as I often do.

It might not be this way for everyone, but I get in these ruts were I feel that my Sz is me and the rest of me is secondary. I am schizophrenic first, 29 year old male second. I am open about my Sz, but also want to be known for what’s beyond the disease.

I’ve been joking around more that I want to be know for positive action not positive symptoms. (oh, I crack myself up :laughing:)

So for my own semantic twist, I’ve just decided… I’m a male first, with schizophrenia second.

You can most likely tell what’s going on with me right now… :coffee: :coffee: :coffee: :coffee:

Oh dear…


Maybe by adding an ‘a’ to the sentence makes a positive difference?

  1. I’m schizophrenic - negative?
  2. I’m a schizophrenic - more positive and less stigmatizing? by adding the ‘a’

A little further down in the forum there’s a lady with schizophrenia who gives a good talk on stigma.

Here is the link:

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i was giving a diganose of schizoaffective i accept their opinion at the time of such a disorder. time moves on and now i feel im fully recovered ive beaten it.

Yeah I did think of that little word play difference. I just don’t like the ring to the label “schizophrenic”, and I think people unknowingly use it to label people who are controlled by the symptoms of schizophrenia. I like to say that I am a person who has schizophrenia, and that you either have schizophrenia or it has you.

I explained this to the NAMI group and they really liked it. I noticed that my friends started to say that “he has schizophrenia” when I began to recover, before they would say “he’s schizophrenic” or even “he’s psycho” or “he’s literally crazy”.

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this has probably been stated here or somewhere else but i just always tell myself that people with schizophrenia are more likely to harm themselves than anyone else on this planet,

it is very rare for someone with schizophrenia or similar diagnosis to do something really bad and every time there is something on the tv about it i tell myself that these people are in the minority and they dont represent the majority of people who suffer every day with this disease, its like they are tarring us all with the same brush and that is not fair.


I’m going to put my foot in my mouth and risk getting some negative feedback but I think this ties back to the original post. If the news reports that a Caucasian female robbed a bank then are all white women being judged by this one persons actions. I could take it that way if I wanted to. Or I could say I’m a Caucasian female and not like this person that robbed the bank. Just my thoughts.

We should all be the new poster child for Sz…hold up our head proudly, and say, this is what Sz looks like,(but naturally, do it while behaving properly.)