Writing about stigma in school paper

So, my school has a really good nationally recognized journalism program and accepts articles from outside the class to publish. I am considering writing an article explaining that a person who is psychotic or has psychotic symptoms is not a psychopath by any means.
People uses these terms interchangeably which is degrading.

I also want to draw attention to the difficulties of sz and other related disorders from both the disorder itself and the horrid, incorrect stigma. I am attempting this because right before Christmas, I was hospitalized after a harsh episode that occurred during school

The school believed I was dangerous and had a police officer cuff me into his car and bring me to the ER where I was sedated without my consent.

As well, when I came back to school, I explained what happened to one of my closer friends and ever since then, she has been avoiding me like the plague even though we sit next to each other in assigned seats.

This makes me feel awful, and I am hoping that if I write this, the school, my friend, and anyone who reads it will gain a better understanding of psychotic disorders.

So, is this a good idea? Am I wasting my time trying to get across? If not, anyone have any suggestions or willing to offer ideas/input?

(p.s. due to the harsh stigma surrounding sz, I will write this anonymously, sadly. (I may even point that out in the article though XD)). -Thanks


I think it’s a great idea. I can proof it if you want. I won an award for a story at my college.

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That would be awesome! I would love your input/proofing :smile:

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Great idea! Are you going to post it in cyberspace, too? I would love to see an article describing the differences in symptoms and behaviors across sz and psychopaths.
I took a psychology of criminal behavior class and the criminal profiler who taught the class also used to work at a mental institution in his past before he moved into the criminal justice system. He spent a lot of time trying to explain to the packed auditorium that psychopaths feel no remorse, they are cold, calculating, manipulative, deceptive. Sz, by comparison, were not like them at all. He then said, “statistically there’s a sz here in this class! raise your hand if you’re sz.” to which I, sitting in the back, pretended to be normal and never raised my hand (tangent, sorry)

Having gone to an outpatient clinic overloaded with recently released felons, I can tell you that sz are most definitely not like sociopaths,in fact, they are kind of like our antithesis. They conform to society and lie to everyone about their thoughts. Sz don’t conform and don’t lie about their thoughts and that’s what often gets us in people’s crosshairs. I did learn something from the sociopathic felons, though. They encouraged me to lie to everybody and pretend like I was normal. They said when I tried to act normal, I could pass. They would overtly tell me to stop telling people I was sz and just lie. I actually listened to them and I have begun a long process of infiltrating the normals. hahaha just kidding! just a joke! Seriously, though, those felons taught me a lot about human behavior and the difference across personality disorders and biological disorders like sz.
Best of luck on your article! If you like writing maybe think about starting a blog?


I wonder what approach would be best for your purposes: a more scientific article that lists lots of facts, or a touching personal account of encounters with stigma. I’m inclined to think the latter fits a school paper better, but may give some people some clues about who the author is even if it is anonymous. The two approaches need not exclude each other of course.

@mortimermouse can probably give you a lot of valuable ideas for this when he is around, good luck!

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Just PM me the article.

@HQuinn, that’s hilarious. It reminds me of this joke by a famous comedian. Not Will Ferral, but I think his eyes looked the same. It went:

“I read a new study by Illinois university. It said that statistically speaking one in every ten men is gay. That means that at least one of those ten men I slept with must have been gay. Isn’t that shocking?”

(I BSed the university name, I didn’t remember that part)


Hahaha that is pretty funny. Good news though! I asked the head of the paper about this and he said that it could be done. The thing is, he has to know who I am as proof that I am a student at the school, but only he will know–everything else be kept anonymous. So, I am thinking about ways to begin it.
I was feeling that it would be best to start off by “ploping” the reader into a first person perspective of hallucinations(i have an interesting story/episode that just includes me trying to clean my drain that ended with a terrible burn) and after go more into statistics with examples and quotes etc.


What do you guys think? Any suggestions? Anyone willing to give quotes, info, or even personal stories? Any input from anyone is wellcome-Thank you! :smile:

Maybe from an outside perspective first. As in describe the negative signs first: flat affect, poverty of emotion, etc. and then go into what that feels like. Start them off slow. Stories like to follow and inverted U pattern. The first is the build up, then comes the climax, and then things wind down for the resolution. (In my opinion) the climax should be when it gets the scariest. That’s the problem with Sapphire’s “Precious”. She kept introducing new terrors when the reader didn’t have any time to recover from the last horror. I think it’s like what one of the senseis told C. If you alternate soft and hard blows they feel the hard blow a lot more.


Maybe making them feel empathy first would help soften the shock for normals? I’d start off with how he had dreams and goals once…and now society rejects him and won’t interact with him…which makes him isolated and unable to interact with his peers.

I’d leave command hallucinations out, though, cuz if there’s one thing normals can’t wrap their heads around is the fact that sz can hear command voices and not act on them.

One friend who didn’t know I was sz brought up the topic while we talking about lsd (acid). His opinion was that because he (a normal) went beserk while tripping on acid and hallucinating, that sz must be violent, out of control people-on-acid types. I was like peh! PEH!



I think it’s a good idea. You’re in a difficult situation, right now, having just been diagnosed(?). I’m somewhat above being stigmatized, as I am 74, and only suffer (I think) from self stigmatization. I think I am too old to be understood by others. You will learn from the school’s reaction, if you get your article published.


I know. However, I am tempted to state that even though I(all of us) get a variety of commands, we are more-or-less rational like all people and will not act on them. I mean just the fact that I’m not expelled proves that I have not acted on these voices.
I will not give examples of those commands though, for last time I told someone(that I thought I could trust), they had the school police officer take me away without hesitation…
I agree that it will scare them at first, but hopefully they can be convinced that we are human beings who work, have friends, succeed, and love just like they do–not ax wielding murderers or unstable coo-coos that should be kept hidden for life.


I’m sorry you had that experience with your friend. normals are that way…
You are brave and I hope that your article is a hit!


Big tip. Go search mental illness stigma or schizophrenia stigma in a psychology databases like psychinfo. Notable names are Patrick Corrigan, Amy Watson, David Penn. search these names and keywords and enjoy the harvest

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I don’t get commands.

Okay :sweat_smile: , change that to “some of us,” my mistake, mate.

Nah don’t worry about it. Everyone is different. If 99% of people have it go ahead and say all. I just wanted to put my name in the hat in case there were other people here who didn’t get orders. My illness didn’t really progress very far before I got medicated so I look at myself as an abnormality.

My my potato it has been a while, but I actually have written most of this article and have a contact in the journalism group who approves of it.

If anyone wants to read over it for feed back please pm me :slight_smile: