Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Starting the Conversation
Many times limited information about mental illness leaves room for speculation and worry, which undoubtedly leads to fear, distancing oneself from discussions, and a poor outlook about the condition for oneself and the general public. However, a discussion about mental illness needs to be had to reduce confusion, isolation, and propaganda. Frequently, I share my story to reduce stigma and to promote the truth.
Whenever I share my testimony of living with schizophrenia I usually get a warm and familiar response that goes something like: 'I know so-and-so with schizophrenia... I wish I would have talked to you sooner because your story helps me understand mental illness more.' Hearing that rekindles my desire to further articulate my crisis history and present-day recovery to share hope and to reduce the lies- the lie that recovery is not possible, the lie that life is over if you have a diagnosis, and the most ignorant lie; the lie that we should not talk about it.
Sometimes people are reluctant to ask me questions in the beginning because they don't want to get too personal, but I welcome the conversation because the discussion provides insight and understanding. For me, sharing my story is so therapeutic, it enables me to release the dreadful experience of living with the condition, but in a constructive manner.
The misinformation circulated about schizophrenia and other mental illnesses have an invisible muzzle on that must be eradicated and destroyed. My hope is for society to remove that mouthpiece and to have a lively dialogue about the truth- the truth that people can and do get better living with mental illness, and that an individual like you, your relative, or your partner can live a fulfilling life in recovery.
There needs to be a frank conversation about mental illness in order to reduce stigma, help others, and to break the cycle of suffering. Talking about my mental illness helps me and others to talk openly about our dark moments and hopeful life after crisis.
To help start a conversation I encourage you to read my book, What's On My Mind? A Collection Of Blog Entries From "Overcoming Schizophrenia." Available in Paperback or e-Book online at Amazon.com.
Also, if you have a question about schizophrenia I encourage you to ask, you may also email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I am inviting you to an event in Atlanta, Georgia where I will start a mental health conversation, Mental Health Day At The Capitol on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, 8AM - 12PM located at the Freight Depot, 65 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Atlanta, GA 30303. The deadline to register is January 15th. For details visit the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, Inc.