Winning the War Against the Stigma of Schizophrenia
It was Halloween night, and I was dressed up in costume waiting my turn to read poetry in front of 40 patrons at a local coffee shop. Despite my anxiety, I knew I had a battle to fight. Five minutes remained, my palms were sweaty, but there was no turning back now. I got up on stage, and my first words were “Hello, my name is Dan Hoeweler and I am here tonight on a mission.” I then turned on my stereo system which blared scary music from the movie “Saw”, and began to read the following poem, inspired by my mental illness, schizophrenia, completely unsure how the audience would react. Watch.
Fighting the Stigma of Schizophrenia
My poem is called Blast Off To Madness. You'll find the words to the first few verses below.
“They say I am mad
That I am evil
That my genes are corrupted
And my brain is deformed
That my actions are Freaky
That my behavior is not the norm
They then ask the question
“Sir why are you this way?”
I tell them as such:
“A genetic predisposition
And environment unsound
The reasons of madness
Don't matter to me
For I believe
In the world
Breaking Through Stigma Associated with Schizophrenia
Looking out towards the audience, the faces I saw were not filled with fear but that of joy. In fact, one lady who sat before me was so touched by my poetry, that tears were nearly flowing from her eyes. I had temporarily broken down the stigma of the world's most feared mental illness, Schizophrenia.
Nearly everyday, everywhere the enemy called Stigma, wins. The news reports will continue to cover stories about deranged psychotic criminals who rampage the streets. People will continue to view those suffering from thought disorders with fear and distrust. People will continue to forgo much needed treatment for fear of being labeled "schizophrenic". Those left untreated will continue to damage not only themselves, but sometimes even those close to them.
I believe someday, like all villains, Stigma will loose. Psychiatry, in it's infancy, will one day blossom to the extent that even the most severely mentally ill people will be able to successfully battle their illnesses. I am not sure that day will come in my lifetime, but I am sure that it is coming.
When this day comes, the news reports will talk about how the fight against schizophrenia can be won. They will report about the miraculous success and new treatments that have grown from this very young and crude science called psychiatry. When this day comes, Schizophrenia will finally be viewed not with fear, but as a treatable illness. I hope this day will come soon because I am tired of waiting.
Hoeweler, D. (2011, November 2). Winning the War Against the Stigma of Schizophrenia, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2011/11/winning-the-war-against-the-stigma-of-schizophrenia
Author: Dan Hoeweler
Excellent article. I loved the poem, also. Would like to read the whole thing. I, too, hope that someday soon, psychiatry grows into what it can be and stigma against mental illness goes by the wayside. First and foremost is the need for education and awareness. People fear what they don't understand and hardly anyone understands anything about mental illness. People like you who have the guts to tell the truth and risk people holding onto their stigmas is the only way they're ever going to get broken down! Hats off to you, sir! And get well soon. ;)
Thank You Vanessa,
I believe it is always important to judge people based on what they do in life, rather than a perceived stereotype from an illness. That is one message I wanted to send to people, and if I have to do so through poetry, so be it.