There are a few people who have treated me so akwardly after finding out I have schizophrenia. Even months or years later they still don’t understand that they are falling into the typical stigmatized attitude towards people with schizophrenia.
I have tried so hard to forgive and forget. I just can’t seem to let it go and stop being angry about it. I hate having schizophrenia and especially the stigma.
It physically hurts me thinking about the stigma I’ve had to deal with.
I agree it’s hurtful sometimes it can make me feel less whole but you know what if that’s their attitude they are far less "whole’ than we. At least we have that empathy.
You have to be careful who you tell. Very very few people know the extent of my mental health issues.
Just immediate family and a couple friends.
It might seem rediculous but sometimes keeping it simple as saying you have some mental health issues or a chemical imbalance or something vague keeps anyone’s alarm from going off.
Even bipolar has less of a stigma
Just the way society is.
I hear you, and I have learned not to tell too many people since I’ve had bad experiences with it.
But there is such a huge push everywhere for social change and acceptance of all people regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation etc. People with schizophrenia and mental illnesses should fall in that category. We have enough to deal with already.
Tiptoeing around such a major part of my life isn’t always easy, and not feeling comfortable talking to people about it doesn’t make I any easier either.
That being said yes it’s definitely smart to share it with only those you really trust. Hopefully this will be less stigmatized as time goes on
Yeah it’s tough I wish I could chat to more in person about it. Tried that with family members but they usually end up overwhelmed or confused or withdrawn.
But it is what it is.
Also try to remember that schizophrenia is not you. It’s not your identity. It’s a part of you as in that you deal with it daily.
You are yourself whatever that may be and just strive to make the best of it.
I have the same thing with my parents, fits in nicely with our family-culture of ‘let’s all pretend everything is alright and it just might be’! That sounds rather cynical, and it is - but otherwise I love my family.
With my friends it has been totally different. They have been so supportive and to be able to talk about things that had and still have a great impact on you, to me that’s part of a friendship, and in this particular case with my schizophrenia, it has been such a relief. I feel like having shared this hardship has strengthened the bonds with some of my dearest friends. They ask about it, and open up about feeling guilty not helping me out more, or having done so in the past. I tell them that just being able to talk about it is already one of the greatest gifts they can give me, their ears and their acceptance. They tell me they are proud of me, and then we usually hug or something Also at university, some professors I disclosed to have been extremely kind about it. I remember disclosing to some fellow students after we had discussed the nature of hallucinations, they were in awe that I was a sz and managed to go to university. Had some of their prejudices shattered right away, and again, bonds strengthened. I suppose for a long time, it will remain a leap of faith, to disclose, and there’s a real risk to it. But there is also so much to be gained.
I live at an assisted living center for the mentally ill, so I am surrounded by other sz’s… I don’t feel the stigma as much, but sometimes when we go to town and somebody does something stupid I get embarrassed, because it reflects on all of us.
My parents are open just not entirely understanding. It’s okay though. But I love them very much it’s all good.
One of my best pals is a doctor now.
He wished he had known sooner about my illness so that he could help. And he is very accepting and supportive.
So yeah it is true with risk there is reward
People are not treating you awkwardly; people are treating mental illness awkwardly, so don’t personalize what they’re saying. And don’t be defensive. You can ask questions that will challenge their beliefs, and if you feel the situation would benefit, you can tell your story. There’s nothing a person can say about your story because it’s your story. Also, you’ll feel empowered if you write your Congressperson and participate in organized events to raise awareness.
Some people will always discriminate against people with mental illness, so you need to know when a situation is a waist of time and walk away.
You are who you are.
I used to get a lot of stigma, but now not so much. I guess I’m lucky the stigma has worn off.
Some cities/towns have worse stigma, aka discrimination, problems that others.
If it is conservative area and the churches got involved in ‘saving’ some people or shaming ‘thieves’ who went on disability check following mental care, can be VERY ugly situation. People start to go to these churches to get their own mental symptoms to stop, then they accept they have to follow orders from the dirty businessman who runs these church people around. Really is nothing more than anti-christ situation (devil worship?) these cannot leave or really speak up on their own again if they accept it, will be harmed/crime/robbed for trying to leave or saying it is unethical…Some churches even had the pastor teaching people how to ‘preach stalk’ new schizo cases especially. Really was enlightening to see one author describe some of the Christian churches as ‘embracing the sniveling’…However, as a woman from a sex abuse area with governor and cops covering up women developing PTSD after being around some sex abuse victims and other sex abuse victims called schizo later to silence the abuse issue, the discrimination/hate mongering this is quite misogynistic and will result in blackballs by professional networking or screwed out of good jobs by sex harassment and unemployment denied. Some of these former ‘friends’ have just plain lost it as they turned to the churches to be ‘healed’ and started to harm all their previous friends who met the wrong thing or pissed off a wealthy (ex-wives too)…These will do some very problematic public displays of hatred that could get a professional ruined. Was best put by one of my high school teachers when he said, ‘You just have to accept someone people are weak and went off the deep end after attending wrong kind of churches. Have to let them go as they are dead to you. These will harm you for staying around.’ This teacher got fired and called crazy later btw, so we got Masters to teach at college where you can say whatever you want.
Warning about ‘healed’…most of the people on disability checks got publicly shamed and thrown back out onto the streets with more crazy folks bothering you, maybe even left unable to work nearby. Some of the Christians are no longer practicing ethics, just showing the ‘hateful GAWD’ if you will. I strongly caution against checking these churches out as they RARELY keep a full-blown schizo case as you have a harder time than their newer members (many who just experienced a psychotic episode and turned to the church out of fear) and your mental problems may not completely ‘heal’ and allow you full function as your symptoms went on longer. I stay away from these kind who bad mouth people in public, showing disrespect or worse… These ‘social problems’ are just pre-planned arrangements by pressured people to mistreat the people in the community who have the psychosis continue. This is called ‘delusion of reference’ btw but care won’t discuss how to handle. I find it best to just ignore these people as I don’t hear a mental response to these folks’ loud verbal abuse as a ‘secret handshake’ if you will as I obviously hear something different as I’m from another kind of mental problem/abuse situation than these. I only inquire at my job if someone is hearing it but my city’s discrimination system has gotten so badly, some workplaces are just a verbal harassment situation (hostile work environment). Situation here is so bad I’ve heard stories of family members threatened/harmed if the new employee questioned or complained much – so can benefit to just explain your story to a complaining coworker and see if the verbal abuse continues – if the verbal abuse continues on a new job, you go to lunch quietly and just don’t return. Can help to just keep story private in smaller communities and only take employment where you know people so you have a clue about coworkers/management problems…Outside work, eventually the loud verbal
abusers will stop if you don’t answer them…
Really, had to choose which people are ‘optional’ and just quit talking to them. Some of the baptist churches tell theirs they have to quit talking to long-term psychosis cases, but usually results in such bad defamation you won’t be able to work locally again. So, be prepared just to cease contact and maybe unfriend and get lost. Can deal with some family by only seeing the person in your own home if they bad mouth you in public or try to attack nearby people…Only go out in public with the people who treat people okay and just don’t talk about very much private stuff in public to avoid being noticed by another of the nuts who may be sitting nearby.
I haven’t had that many incidences of the stigma because the only time when I told people was when I was psychotic when I was going to school. I don’t know exactly how it affected me though. Maybe that is why I had a hard time with women. Maybe it impacted my grades(from the stigma point of view I think the sz itself surely impacted my grades). Maybe it changed who was to be my friend. Still had a good number of friends in college. Other than that I’m pretty sure it cost me a job.
The stigma sucks. I guess you had a recent experience. I wish you many stigmaless endeavors in your future.
I feel the same way this is why I’m never telling someone I have this ever again because nothing good comes from it.
Just keep your chin up and continue on to be the person that shows them how decent a person with Sz can be.
I think the more people open up about their illness, the more accepting the world will be. I tell anyone and everyone I have schizophrenia (except at job interviews. I wait until I already have the job). I have been met with a lot of fear, but people usually come around after they see I’m not dangerous. @thomas, you already do a ton to combat stigma with your YouTube videos. It is so important for those of us who are higher functioning to act as a voice for everyone else.