oh yes, I have schizophrenia

I speak openly about my mental illness, however because of the stigma people are scared to speak up, and I completely understand why.  When I tell people I have schizophrenia, they think I am this major crazy unstable insane person who can’t keep a sentence together, and right there in that moment they think I might hurt them.  Seriously people, I can understand this kind of reaction years ago (that’s a whole other story trust me because I experienced the stigma firsthand), but yes I look completely sane, most people with a mental illness do look like everyone else, they are not crazy, they are not insane, they will not hurt you, they are just people, like me, trying to live a normal and decent life.

I have chosen to be so open about my experience, because I know, like everyone else should know, that there is no shame in having any mental illness and there is no shame in having any illness.

One of the most difficult parts of my illness is people thinking that I do not have a mental illness.  I have to explain that I still suffer, just because I act or appear “normal” (I don’t like using the word normal at all) it doesn’t mean I don’t have an illness.  Every day I have experiences that are difficult for me.  I have learned to cope and manage, however I still have a chronic mental illness.  Having to explain this every time I do something somewhat out of the ordinary (again don’t like the word ordinary), is very difficult for me. 

I also feel like when I say even though I am fine I still struggle, people think I am going to lose my mind and hurt them or people around them. That is not what I am saying here, I just need a little time to myself to figure out how to handle the situation, I’ve learned ways to cope, especially when dealing with anxiety and my obsessive compulsive disorder, and eventually, it sometimes takes an hour or a day, I return to being able to live in this world, again, still with a chronic mental illness.  

My goal in this life is to change people’s perspective and to change the stigma.  That is why I have been so open.  My goal is that no one, and I mean no one, feels any shame in having a mental illness.  So, if I have to take a couple stares and comments to make sure everyone feels comfortable having a mental illness, then that is and has always been fine by me.

2 thoughts on “oh yes, I have schizophrenia

  1. Samantha,

    Another great post, I am so pleased with what you are doing in helping people with a mental illness, also helping their parents and loved ones. You are giving everyone hope, that is so important


  2. Samantha you are very brave as I have previously told you. I suffered in silence at your age from acute anxiety and then agoraphobia for more than 7 years ago until I finally got help. I was terrified to let anyone know including my family. I felt was weak and would be scorned and laughed at for being weak. You are definitely blessed with a very loving and supportive family. My one sister when I opened up to her, she actually told me to suck it up and be a man. I was an embarrassment to her. Wow talk about messed up. I’m terrified about opening up…then I do and I get put down. But that was the only person that did it. I had one terrific friend who was fully supportive, got me into Macmaster hospital for treatment and counselling. It took more than 3 years but I slowly began to come out of the dark place my mind was residing in. Getting back to a great church and friends was a major factor, as is diet and exercise. No tobacco or alcohol ( almost 28 years )
    Speaking about it I feel is good therapy as well. I have spoken over the years to Christian group teens and young adults about my struggles and I think they could relate to what I went through….why I went through it…and then my recovery. That is way to much to put down here but I sincerely feel God has given you a purpose to speak out about your journey. I’m pretty sure your father knows through a prayer group or business. We attend the same church and his adopted daughter was in a teen group I helped run which was called Kids ROC. It is an acronym for rely on Christ. She was the sweetest girl ( same age as one of my daughters ) but struggled greatly with depression among other things. I spoke one on one with her a few times and I found her very receptive to listening to my own life struggles and she said she could relate. Sadly she left home and our church as a young teen and struggled living on the street and hostels. I would see her now and then and took her for a coffee to talk about getting help and counselling and hopefully going home again. Sadly she took her own life which I found very difficult to swallow because I knew her as such a sweet young girl, who just seemed lost, but somehow I always thought she would get better..
    the reason I am saying this, is that if she has met someone like you, and you shared your story with her as you are doing here…her story could have had a different ending..

    That said young lady I pray that you will save someone’s life from being so open and honest about yours…I know somebody definitely saved mine.
    God bless to you and your Mom and Dad…..


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