Allow me to qualify. I am an excellent student but can’t work which I accept now that stress causes me to have a relapse of my Schizophrenia. But school I was able to manage,even going on to earn my Master’s in Psychology in 2012 post diagnosis. So I understand much about how people think due to my education and also with the gift I have of being able to read people. Also my personal experience with being stigmatized in the workplace along with other people in my life for the last eleven years.
My beliefs are just that and while I may be unable to exactly pinpoint the exact reason why people stigmatize people with Schizophrenia I feel like I have a pretty good idea.
It is lack of education or if I were angry about would say ignorance. But I am no longer angry at my sister but feel she will never understand and always think that I am mentally ill rather than being disordered.
People are the way they are and many people are not open to new ideas but hold onto old ones including many hot topics such as homosexuality, global warming, mental disorders, politics and the like. They often are not open to understanding other people’s points of views mainly due to fear of what they do not understand. This is especially true to the mentally disordered population.
This fear that they have is caused by lack of understanding and sometimes pity. I may have a broken mind and at different times it manifests itself in different ways. But I am not sick. My thinking is still delusional at times but these delusions are easily ignored now that I am on medication. But many people won’t take their medication because that is one of the difficulties of being disordered is that once they start feeling better they stop taking their medication. Not me. I know I will need to be on medicine the rest of my life so no lack of judgement on my part on that matter. I am also continuing to learn what I can and cannot do with a mental disorder.
So back to my original question~ why do people stigmatize and how can it be prevented? Lack of education is key, blame is another reason and out of it just being easier to blame our judgement on many things on our disorder rather than just because people make decisions that they don’t agree with.
It is hard for us to speak out against preventing stigmatizing because of our disorder but I hope to shed some light on this if I am picked by SAMSHA to do the interview.
Bottom line is this: people will possibly always continue to stigmatize us so we must always be proactive in our mental health care. That means seeing our psychiatrist on a regular basis, going to therapy to process our disorder and taking our medication faithfully. And if one medication doesn’t work or causes uncomfortable side effects to keep trying to get on the right cocktail combination. By taking care of our own mental health care is the first step in improving this situation. And active learning of our mental health disorders on their part is how this bridge gap can come together.
If you are mentally disordered and not doing well, get the help you need; keep fighting for yourself and others. This video is the first step towards fighting stigmatization for me. I promise to do my best if selected and in the meantime try through my blog to educate others as best I can. I do not have all the answers obviously but the conversation has begun. This blog was the hardest to write for me.. just saying.
More questions from the interview tomorrow as promised.
For now take care and know you have the choice right now, right here to improve your mental health.