The Author- Ashley

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another Misconception of Schizophrenia

Lately, some associates have mentioned schizophrenia and assumed it was split personality or a dangerous trait. Schizophrenia is NOT split personality! And it does not make the individual more dangerous!

When I heard them refer schizophrenia to incorrect characteristics I wanted to correct them by telling them that I have schizophrenia, and look at me, I don't act like I have split personality or are a danger to anyone, but I couldn't. I don't want to risk being alienated or discriminated against because of my illness. I just had to remain quiet and let them finish their preposterous explanation for why they don't hang out with their neighbor who has schizophrenia, and that actor who played someone with schizophrenia in that movie.

I think back and wish I would have commented by saying something like I have a relative with schizophrenia and they don't have split personality, or are a danger to anyone, just to set the record straight...I feel like a punk for not saying anything at all.

These experiences just reinforce the fact that I have to be very selective as to who, how, and when I tell someone that I have schizophrenia. It is very sad that I have to put on two faces with people, especially when they mention the illness.

How would you have handled the situation? If you do have a mental illness, how do you handle situations like these?


Wandering Coyote said...

Hollywood is famous for mis-characterizing schizophrenia for split personalities, and it's really annoying. It's so easy for them to get it right, but I guess it's not as sensational.

You were in a tough situation. You want to educate people but you don't want to out yourself either. I don't blame you, because you never know how others are going to treat you after you've disclosed.

I'm not sure I would have said anything, either. I do have a policy of being honest when I'm asked directly, but I tend not to out myself in social situations. I think I feel more strongly about protecting myself vs. educating the public.

Elizabeth B. Alexander said...

I'm with Coyote. I'll talk about it if asked

I once dated a guy for atleast three months before I even mentioned a remote trace of my mental illness.

I know we should busting the stigma and all that, but I just don't have it in me sometimes.

We're here and we're mentally weird!! Okay, that one needs some work.

Anonymous Drifter said...

I have a friend who knows I have bipolar disorder and yet makes derogatory remarks about others who have the same condition. It angers me that I never know what to say to her when she does that.

When I was working years ago in a nursing home we had a resident who had schizophrenia. One of the other workers said she was scared of the resident because "schizophrenics can read your mind." I had to point out her ignorance on that matter. Most people are just not educated.

BellaBeauty said...

hm... I probably would have spoke up and said I had a close friend with the disorder (instead of myself) and dismember their misconceptions. It makes me so mad when I hear people saying stuff like that. I almost feel sorry for them because they are so ignorant and naive for believing hollywoods perception of schizophrenia.

K.C. Jones said...

Sometimes I tell people about my own illness and sometimes I don't-it depends on how safe I feel. Fortunately, I've also taken abnormal psychology and was in trainging to be a music therapist, so I can always tell people that my knowledge comes from my classes and training... But you can always tell people that you've done research or have known someone else. I think the important thing is counter the lies, not that we always give out where the knowledge specifically comes from.

HektikLyfe said...
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