To bust the stigma of mental illness, is it better to be upfront about your struggles or downplay them?

I hear so much talk about busting the stigma of mental illness and I want to know how to do this. For example, I have a blog where I am upfront about my struggles. (sort of like on this website) I know of a professional schizophrenic writer and mental health advocate who seems irritated by my rants. It is as if my honesty is making schizophrenics look bad. Do you think being too open about my delusions and hallucinations publicly makes us look bad? Do you feel like pretending to be like everyone else does a disservice to busting stigma? Is there room for both points of view?

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I don’t think you can be too open but what my psych docs have always said were delusions were reality for me. I still believe most of my delusions but I now recognize that others think I am just delusional if that makes sense.


@TomCat I am definately delusional too. Today I thought I saw someone driving through my neighborhood from this website. (probably not them) LOL

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My general rule: don’t tell anything to anybody. I’m not concerned with politics or breaking stigma. I’m concerned with healing myself and blending in. That’s just me though.


I think it’s more a matter of where we are with regards to breaking stigma.

We’re still young with breaking sz stigma, so maybe getting our foot in the door with “we’re just like you in most ways” is a good place to start. Then after a while when people start to not think of us as dangerous freaks we can start being more open with the real severity of the struggle.

Does that make sense?


This is probably the reason why I can’t seem to publish anything. Everyone wants to put a positive spin on things and focus on recovery. I keep talking about the worst of times in terms of my mental illness. Call me delusional but I do think my blog is ahead of it’s time. I just write for fun and to vent. I hope no one who reads my blog gets scared of schizophrenics. I do think there are a lot of misconceptions in the media. Last night I was watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and a lady called someone two-faced or two different people. Her husband replies “Do you know what that is called? Schizophrenia.” Oh brother!


im open and upfront about it and what i experience/experienced because i dont think its anything to be ashamed of

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I hate reality I would probably love living in a dream and working while living a normal life. Everything is boring now.

I’m upfront with people I trust, like close friends and family. I know they won’t judge me, and they’ve always helped and supported me.


One time I went to a mental hospital and no joke… Have you seen The Strain that evil vampire lived there! That place was haunted!

There was that groupe anonymous for alcoholics I was sitting with them and nobody seemed to care it’s like they couldn’t see him! It got close to a girl and it seemed it was whispering to her. The girl then started talking weird. Only I could see it for some reason it was crazy!

Wished I could go back and visit that place to do some recon. But I’m thankful I beat this far. Everything now just seems pathetic wished I could make a dent near the Pacific Ocean. In a good way but come to think it’s probably not a good idea.

I find that when I disclose my health condition as in, “I have an illness, I deal with it, I kick ass”, people are down with it and there is no discernible stigma. I went through a phase early on when I was unwell and my idea of disclosing was more like, “ALIENS!!! SURVEILLANCE!! OMG, WHY IS IT MELTING?!? THE PAIN!!! AAAAIEEEEEEEE!!!” Yeah, that doesn’t really go over well or bridge any sort of gap between us and them.

Any sort of disclosure works best when it is delivered with a strong dose of self-assurance and the perception of stability.


I am still delusional which keeps my reality exciting I guess. I am on Vraylar and have breakthrough symptoms. Are you happy with your antipsychotic? Mine isn’t perfect but I am too scared to try a new one that doesn’t work for me.

I have a WordPress blog with only 36 followers. I think I am mostly ignored because I am open about the schizo and put it out there for a curiosity. When I ask them if they are scared, the answer is no. I think that mostly they perceive that my delusions are delusional and a waste of their time.

I too am on Vraylar. It doesn’t work that great, although today was a good day. I came home from group for alcohol & drug and realized how hurtful it is when people level accusations at me, sometimes for little stuff. Dunno, but something turned my day around. I’m treated mostly with respect, but with a little suspicion, too. However, the non-schizos say some outlandish crap, too. Maybe that’s why I felt better :smile:

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This is the assimilation argument, an argument that communities which have been historically disenfranchised need to adopt the ideas and culture of mainstream society to be accepted. We’ve seen this argument in the civil rights and gay rights movements, respectively.

I do not think that being open about your delusions and hallucinations makes people with schizophrenia “look bad.” You have a podcast, but you’re not the only person with schizophrenia who has a podcast, so I don’t see you having undue influence in the representation of a person with schizophrenia.

As to pretension, I do believe it’s counterproductive in overcoming stigma. In fact, it creates stigma within our community, and harms people who are more symptomatic than others. A distancing, or chasm, based on a degree of symptoms.

I believe the most effective way to reduce stigma is not by suppressing those of us deemed unacceptable, but by embracing the experiences of all people with schizophrenia.


I suppose it depends on the reader. I know when I read memoirs and blogs I want to read how it really is for that person. I want to hear about their challenges, their thinking, what they are going through and how they are trying to handle it. I mean otherwise I feel like it’s sugar coated and I learn very little about their struggle.

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I think it’s important to be open about when it becomes relevant.
If your illness is all you talk about, people will get bored of it and think you have nothing else on your mind.
But if you share it when it’s relevant, people will respect you for being open about it.


I think open is better… but i heard another sz say they want their work to stand on its own without the sz label or not at all…

I understand both and i think this choice
Is individually decided … but could change at any time…and sometime best intentions fall short of realities…

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I’d rather be known as “that photographer” rather than “that schizophrenic photographer”. Whenever you’re an artist, people will attribute your creativity to the SZ rather than to you. Seriously? SZ kills creativity. Those things I’ve accomplished artistically have been in spite of having SZ, not because of it. Please don’t give a crap illness that has degraded my quality of life the credit for my achievements, thank you.


I’ve got a blog too, and I’m an open book about my struggles,

but I don’t just talk about schizophrenia, all my creative writing and art
is on there too, and activism, and stuff on my kids.

What exactly are your ‘rants’ like? I’ve never gotten anyone say
I’m doing more harm than good to break stigma. By having a very prolific blog open to anyone, I was harassed in the work place over it. The guys was constantly putting down “crazy” people, and the mentally ill anytime I was within earshot of him. It wasn’t sexual harassment, it was over my disability. There should be laws that prohibit use of social media to cause you distress.

I’m open book on Facebook too, but you have to be willing to take some heat,
though I’ve proven I’m not a total crazy woman, I do get called names by certain groups.

Also, I’m a published author, and my first book of poems,

This Sky I Know

is a lot about schizophrenia. so, yeah, be upfront about it.
It was a lot easier to do that to sit down on Day 3, and tell Phil.