Yesterday, after I read this article, I wanted to write a blog post about it and save it for today. I couldn’t. I was so angry, so frustrated, and had so much hurt about how people view schizophrenia that I could not sit down and peacefully post what I thought.
I am tired. I am so tired, and it is a deep bone tired and a broken heart tired that I can’t seem to shake. Every day one of my friends (real friends, people I know and see a couple of times a year) post about being “crazy” or on “Prozac” or something that I find derogatory, but that they find humorous about mental illness. I can’t always fight that battle. Yesterday, I was going to comment that it is suicide prevention month and making jokes about Prozac is particularly insensitive this time of year, but I didn’t have it in me. It is so prevalent. The same people who would slap you down (rightfully so) if you made a joke about race, or LGBTQ, are the ones that easily throw out words that stigmatize and marginalize the mentally ill. It reminds me of the Tracy Chapman song, “Revolution” only I want her to be talking about mentally ill people and our advocates rising up instead of poor people. I long for a revolution in language, treatment, civil rights, etc. I want to be represented accurately not as a joke, or a mass murder, or any of the other stereotypes currently in the brains of so many Americans.
In the article I linked to, the woman telling her story had a parent who had schizophrenia. She refers to him in the first part of the article as a monster. She does this again and again. She also says she didn’t want to have children because she was afraid she would have to raise a monster like her father. By the end of the article she is saying her father was a loving soul with a brain disease and that she froze her eggs so she could have children if she finds a loving partner, and she will love that child even if s/he develops schizophrenia.
Although the author had a life changing epiphany about schizophrenia, she did so much damage in the first part of her article that I didn’t care about her current acceptance of the disease. My husband wasn’t bothered by the article like I was, and maybe you won’t be either, but the fact that the Huffington Post found the article worthy of printing (when someone is basically calling a whole group of people monsters and playing into every stereotype) I find it disturbing. The comment section, where everyone seemed to congratulate her on her bravery, and amazing ability to share such an intimate story, also disgusted me. I don’t think it is brave to go from thinking people with an illness are monsters and shouldn’t be born to thinking they are human beings. Is that really brave? Is that really something we want to applaud? I don’t applaud the author at all. I certainly don’t applaud Huffington Post for making this a widely spread article.
Once again, someone said that the world would be a better place if people with schizophrenia weren’t ever born. Sure, she changed her mind, but the seeds of her ignorance were read and placed in the minds of many. Did you know in Nazi Germany they killed the mentally ill and the disabled first? Yes, they didn’t think we should live either.
I have no smart ending, no words to tie this all together. Do you know how tired I am? Every day a battle just to be seen as human.