Views of Society: Schizophrenia.
Let’s talk about stereotypes and the stigmas against Mental Health — Schizophrenia
As a young person who has been diagnosed with a plethora of mental disorders and illnesses, the stigma that comes along with it is, at least my own, greatest struggle. Sure, the disorders themselves are already a struggle on their own, but the stereotype that is hash tagged along with them makes life just that more difficult.
Here, let me elaborate; I was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the rather young age of 14 years.
That label, that diagnosis, changed my way of being. It changed not only the way I see myself, but how others perceive my being as well.
As you may or may not know, schizophrenia is a rather “infamous” mental illness for being portrayed rather heinously by social media and those that don’t know what it’s like to experience the criteria of this disorder.
Schizophrenic people are often shown as ruthless killers, people destined to become criminals — people who are dis-functioning, unstable, maniacs.
But this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
As a schizophrenic individual, I can confidently say that I am no murderer, criminal, or some sort of sinister person. And as an individual who has interacted with many other people who have been plastered with this label, I can also confidently say they aren’t either.
The sigma and stereotyping that follows along with mental illness is almost as debilitating as the illness itself. (In my own opinion)
I have lost friends, been turned down opportunities, and above all; have been shunned for the stereotype society has placed upon me. People assumed I was dangerous, a criminal who was going to harm them in one way or another. But in reality I was just a lonely, angsty, kid. And truth be told, I still am. But I’m no criminal.
And sure, there have been people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other “dangerous” illnesses that have been criminals or felons, but just like everyone else, these incidents have been far and few between (compared to the majority of the population). And contrary to popular belief people diagnosed with schizophrenia are more likely to harm themselves rather than those around them.
Here are some common myths about schizophrenia that can be refuted:
- Multiple personalities This is far from true; in a study done on the American population, about 64% of the participants had believed that schizophrenia was a disorder characterized by multiple or split personalities. When, in fact, multiple personality disorder is an entirely different diagnosis that really has nothing in connection with schizophrenia.
- Violent and/or dangerous As stated before, most schizophrenic people are not inherently violent. Yes, it is true that people with schizophrenia may act unpredictable but not usually violent or dangerous. People who do lash out violently with schizophrenia are often not getting the right or beneficial treatment, if any at all.
- Unintelligent This is one that has effected me personally, but anyway; highly untrue. However, it is true that people who live with this disorder may have trouble with paying attention to certain topics or memory issues (such as; retaining important information, and short term memory malfunctions).That doesn’t mean that they are any less intelligent. Although many schizophrenics report to have academic adversity, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t functional or incompetent. Some famous people diagnosed with schizophrenia are: Nobel prize-winner John Nash, a sophisticated mathematician, as well as Mary Todd Lincoln, past United States First Lady and wife to Abraham Lincoln.
Find more here: Famous Schizophrenics
- “You belong in a mental hospital” Although at one point in time it was common to put people with any mental illness into a long-term facility, this is no longer the case. As time has progressed, medications and new methods of coping and treatment have been presented, making it easier for people with schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses, to live normally and function. But if someone is particularly struggling mentally this may be introduced as a solution, but something to never be ashamed of.
- Cause Many believe that “bad” parenting plays a large role in the cause and development of this disorder, when this isn’t necessarily the case. It is however true that trauma can take part in the development of this illness, it is also true that many other factors play apart in this disease. (Some examples include: genetics, as stated befor — traumatic events, and drug abuse.) So a couple of slip-ups or a different method of parenting isn’t going to guarantee a child will have schizophrenia. It is also said that if a child’s parent (one) has schizophrenia that the child in question will “contract” the disorder as well. This is, however, false. Although genes do play a large role in developing schizophrenia, if a singular parent has been accurately diagnosed with schizophrenia the spawn is only 10% likely to develop it as well. The more cases of schizophrenia in a blood line, the more likely it is for said person to develop this illness.
I hope this little blurb helped anyone who is struggling with schizophrenia or knows someone who is. You are not, and never will be, alone!! Take care of yourself.
If you are struggling with mental illness or poor mental health please call: (877) 998–7604
For thoughts about suicide, please call: 1-800-273–8255
Or visit the National Suicide Prevention Website
You deserve help if you need it.
If you need help, then get it. You deserve to be happy and live a prosperous life