Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Schizophrenia: the most misunderstood mental illness?

That is the title of this article I am writing about.  “Schizophrenia affects over 220,000 people in England and is possibly the most stigmatized and misunderstood of all mental illnesses.  While mental health stigma is decreasing overall, thanks in large part to the Time to Change anti stigma campaign which we run with Mind, people with schizophrenia are still feared and demonized.  Over 60 per cent of people with mental health problems say the stigma and discrimination they face is so bad, that it’s worse than the symptoms of the illness itself.  Stigma ruins lives.  It means people end up suffering alone, afraid to tell friends, family and colleagues about what they’re going through.  This silence encourages feelings of shame and can ultimately deter people from getting help.” I would like to be judged for me, not my mental illness. Even though I am highly functioning I do not tell people I have a mental illness.  I figure life is hard enough if you tell them you have a mental illness they stop talking to you and judge how you act.
Let’s let someone else explain what happens: “Someone who knows firsthand how damaging this stigma can be is 33 year old Erica Camus, who was sacked from her job as a university lecturer, after her bosses found out about her schizophrenia diagnosis, which she’d kept hidden from them.  Erica was completely stunned.  ‘It was an awful feeling.  The dean said that if I’d been open about my illness at the start, I’d have still got the job.  But I don’t believe him.  To me, it was blatant discrimination.’  She says that since then, she’s become even more cautious about being open. ‘I’ve discussed it with lots of people who’re in a similar position, but I still don’t know what the best way is.  My strategy now is to avoid telling people unless it’s come up, although it can be very hard to keep under wraps.’”  To lose your job because you have a mental illness that you keep under control is wrong.  I believe we are just like anyone else except we have to take medication to keep us this way.
The article goes on to say: “I think part of the problem is that most people who have never experienced psychosis, find it hard to imagine what it’s like.  Most of us can relate to depression and anxiety, but a lot of us struggle to empathise with people affected by schizophrenia.  Another problem is that when schizophrenia is mentioned in the media or portrayed on screen, it’s almost always linked to violence.  We see press headlines about ‘schizo’ murders and fictional characters in film or on TV are often no better.  Too often, characters with mental illness are the sinister baddies waiting in the shadows, they’re the ones you’re supposed to be frightened of, not empathise with.  This is particularly worrying in light of research by Time to Change, which found that people develop their understanding of mental illness from films, more than any other type of media.  These skewed representations of mental illness have created a false association between schizophrenia and violence in the public imagination.  In reality, violence is not a symptom of the illness and those affected are much more likely to be the victim of a crime than the perpetrator.”  I believe there is more violence done under the influence of alcohol than schizophrenia.  I know firsthand because since I was diagnosed with schizophrenia I have not been arrested for nothing I have not even been stopped and this is a person who was always in jail for something stupid done under the influence. I would not even have gone to the state hospital if it wasn’t for alcohol. Most people do not act upon their delusions, although there are a few that do that is why all the bad media. Please read the entire story at the link it has more.


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  2. This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.