Trapped in a world of delusions and alternate realities, our behavior is often bizarre and misunderstood by observers. If people understood this illness, they would be more understanding of the sometimes strange behavior behind it. If they understood that schizophrenia can afflict anyone, even them, they would be more sympathetic towards it.
Given that nearly one of every hundred people become schizophrenic, anyone stands a chance of experiencing it. I have this disease despite there being no history of severe mental illness in my family, only furthering my case that this disease can happen to anyone. This is not a far off illness, but something that once relatively healthy people can experience.
It’s Ironic That I Have Schizophrenia
Years ago, in my healthy youth, my high school teacher asked me if I agreed with the Americans with Disability Act protecting people with mental illness. I responded that it shouldn’t because I “wouldn’t want to work with crazy people”. How ironic it is that I would later become one of the people that I feared and stigmatized. In this way, schizophrenia has been a humbling experience for me. I have come to realize that we are all made imperfect and that pointing fingers at those less perfect is pointless and pitiful.
People with schizophrenia are not one of “those people” since they can be anyone, even you. I am one of “those people”. Thinking this way however is futile, because there is no “us” and “them”. In reality, schizophrenics are people just like anyone else, even if our disease makes it difficult to see this.
This is why we deserve to be treated with the same humanity and respect as anyone suffering from a debilitating condition. We deserve to be understood and treated with dignity, and if you do not think so then you may find yourself like me; degrading your future self.