• Admin

What Happens when People know you have Schizophrenia

Updated: Dec 4, 2018

" When you tell people you have this illness, it can lead to rejection - unless you are lucky enough to have a family who can support you through it. I had friends, not many but unfortunately I was psychotic for almost a year before I came to the attention of health providers, and they all disappeared when I told them my diagnosis. It's harsh. People seem to be ready to say they will help others with mental health needs, but my personal experience of disclosure to people I thought were close, led to a life of isolation - one which I still live 8 years later.

I currently have no support from the health care teams, as I was sick of being treated like a Schizophrenic - even by people who're supposed to be there to help you. This illness is so stigmatising. You're not allowed to have an opinion. If you say something critical, you're ultimately put down by people saying that, 'this happens when you're ill', 'you clearly have not taken your medication today' and 'this is not you speaking'.

Like anybody else, I have things to say and I have enough intelligence to ask questions, push other peoples buttons and generally fight my corner - if I have too. All these put downs are typical of people who think somehow the illness is driving everything about you. It's used as a weapon to attack your credibility as a person, and de-value your voice when things are at the worst. It doesn't matter what you say if you have Schizophrenia, you do not count in society and the things you have done or said that are carefully recorded in hospital records are used against you, and this is what defines you as a person.

Even though the health teams seem to have this attitude, I even get it from my family. They behave in the same way as these people, and they cannot even say the word Schizophrenia to me - it's that stigmatising. The comments above that people say to me on a regular basis are both from healthcare providers and my closest relatives. None of them understand how much this affects me. We're told by people that recovery is possible, that you can get better and live a full life. Yes that might be true, but we still have to live with this terrible secret we can tell nobody. Once people know, you get treated like a Schizophrenic.

I will finish with a story to illustrate the above attitudes I speak of.

I finished University, and two months later I was put into a hospital. I had some savings from working and living at home, and I was sitting on enough to live independently. I was convinced whilst I was unwell by a mental health nurse that my life was over, I needed to be on benefits or I would end up being homeless. He convinced me to pay off student debts - bankrupting me, so that I could be eligible for free housing, and money to pay for bills. This attitude to treating people who have Schizophrenia has to stop. I spent 6 months sleeping on the floor of a loft waiting for all this to happen. I gave up waiting for the government to help me through a system that is not fit for purpose. I started working and luckily I managed to get my money back - with difficulty.

This story is the beginning of how people are treated with this illness when they're being treated in acute wards. So I ask you, who is driving the high number of people with this condition into a life of no hope? Why do only 8% of people with Schizophrenia work? I think it's clear attitudes need to change. Giving up on people and pensioning them off on benefits only serves to isolate people, and stop them from being agents for change and being listened too.

I am disgusted. " Undisclosed poster