Stigma is real and we all feel it’s unfair and sometimes we are treated as invisible and we lament (with good reason) about how we’re treated. But think about it. Think about yourself before you became ill. Did you care about people with schizophrenia? Did you have any friends who were schizophrenic? I bet a million bucks that you were like me before I got sick and I bet schizophrenia was not anywhere on your radar.
I was just living my life and anything having to do with schizophrenia was a million miles away from my life. That takes the mystery out of how we are treated as schizophrenics now. Normies haven’t changed; we have. I am not putting us down just trying to point out that it’s all about perspective.
Yup. My cousin was schizophrenic. My parents told me when I was 10. They said she thought her mother was hitlers wife and she was Jewish so you can imagine how damaging that delusion was. I thought it was interesting but didn’t understand how bad that was for the entire family. Next time I saw her I smiled at her because I thought she was interesting because she was “different” and she became very scared of me…a paranoid glare at an 11 year old. I felt dejected. Then she passed away at a young age (30s) a couple years later.
Well that’s my only real experience with schizophrenia before I was hospitalized.
Yeah, prejudice is a two way street. We think differently of those who started the stigma- we sometimes stigmatize them!
I always thought schizophrenia was like split personality mixed with disorganization…like incapable of speech or rational thought. I thought they didn’t feel pain because they didn’t know they were crazy. I was a naive yet noble 17 year old…now I’m not exactly naive. Been there and done that with too many things.
I think I deal with ignorance more than stigma. I get a lot of “so and so has schizophrenia and they have a job, why don’t you get a job”. I’m like, Jesus Christ I plan on it, let me heal a little first. Maybe so and so was treated sooner. Maybe he doesn’t have it as bad. It seems like I went from everybody wanting to throw me in the hospital at the drop of a hat, to everybody saying I’m fine now there is nothing wrong overnight. Ugh. Maybe that is stigma I don’t know.
**Ignorance is a big part of all kinds of stigmas.
The older you get though, you tend to see it in all kinds of things. I
m amazed at how ignorant some people are about life-all kinds of life ( not saying Im perfect ).
My experiences are similar to yours. I encounter ignorance much more than prejudice, the latter I associate with stigma. Accordingly, many times if I disclose, I will have to explain what schizophrenia is like. I don’t mind that too much. I think ignorance is way more preferable to us than some already formed conception of schizophrenia, one that has been shaped and carved into the minds of these people for years already. That is tough to change.
With ignorance, though, we will be the first encounter with schizophrenia for these people. Both in what information we tell them, but maybe even more importantly, in how we present ourselves while doing so. Ignorance is like a blank sheet, and the first few strokes on it will be decisive for the picture that can arise on it. When encountering ignorance, we get to put those first strokes down by the impression we make on others. In that sense, we have some power here, and also a chance. With strong prejudice, we do not really get a chance.
I agree with @77nick77 in the OP: many people won’t have given schizophrenia as much as a single thought. Indeed, it is not on their radar. And should it be? To be fair, I do not think we can reasonably expect extensive awareness campaigns to educate most people up to the point that they will have a reasonable understanding of schizophrenia. That’s important to us, but we are just a small group. I think the distinction between ignorance and prejudice is a good one, and I think ignorance is the best we can reasonably hope for. And then, I believe, it is up to us to inform, educate, and impress these ignorant people when we disclose in personal encounters. The question then becomes how to get rid of prejudice, and I am not sure if misinformation can only be countered with more information.
I think that if some people experienced what we experience they would be more understanding. I haven’t experienced too much stigma, though. People make an effort to be kind.
I have never experienced it as a us against them mentality. Basically some people are ignorant, others are insensitive, others are uninformed, others are misinformed and some are afraid of what they do not know. Still are others that try. I think we can help the situation by being ambassadors for our own cause.
People are people. What’s a “normie”? You’re never going to understand them or relate to them if you make a distinction between yourself and everyone else.
Well your 17 year old self was right in one regard Mortimer. I research schizophrenia occasionally and I read a big article last night that said people with schizophrenia don’t feel pain as much as so called “normal” folk. They gave several examples including one guy who had a perforated bowel which I understand is very painful and while he was being treated for it he seemed to be in very little pain.
Yes, but when they stigmatize us it is different from us stigmatizing them. In both cases we are the ones who suffer, not them.
Here is my latest YouTube posting.
How to help people with mental illness who don’t realize they are sick, is the big problem.
For instance, there are a large group of doctors that are absolutely convinced that the so called schizophrenia is a mental illness. And so the question arises, how can we reattach such doctors back to reality. How can we convince these doctors to drop their endless practice of assumptions ?
A simple test to detect such a detachment from reality, is the car test. These people are convinced that if they press the foot on the accelerator peddle, then the car will speed up, or if they press the foot on the brake peddle, the car will slow down. Now of course this is not true at all. Pressing these peddles simply changes the direction of travel of the car and the occupant(s), and it does so as the car and the occupant(s) continue their constant motion within that 4 dimensional environment known as Space-Time. Just as stated by the popular physicist Brian Greene, in his book The Elegant Universe (pages 26, 27), all objects are constantly in motion within Space-Time, and all that can be done is change the direction of that constant motion.
However, the small minded can not see the truth of reality and thus they find this difficult to understand.
The son of a friend of my mother’s was born with sz. He was maybe 8 years older than myself. I met him as a teen and just thought he was very withdrawn and not really interested in me.
Most people including me think they know something about life. it always amazes me too how the general public and even people I have contact with can make such big errors and misjudge so many things in everyday life.
You’re right, the lines are often blurred and overlap.
The problem is that 99% of the people of this planet think that they are attached to reality, rather than be detached.
If you are attached to reality, then obviously you know what reality is, and you know how to create it. However, if you do not know what reality is, yet you claim to be attached to it, then obviously you are as nutty as a fruitcake. How the heck can you be attached to that which you know little of ???
In turn, for the few who have flown over the cuckoo’s nest, life is lonely indeed.
Good point that in both cases we suffer and they don’t. Very good point.
Another point is that doctors and we ourselves don’t fully understand schizophrenia. If we don’t understand it ourselves, how can we expect Joe Blow sitting at the bar drinking a beer after an 8 hour day at the factory to understand schizophrenia or care about us?