As you may know from my personal posts recently, over the past few months I’ve developed and been diagnosed with schizophrenia, so I’m going to talk a little about it in honor of this week.
When I was in 7th grade, my gifted class did a unit on abnormal psychology and we learned about all the different mental illnesses. We all drew from a hat for the illness we’d do our final project on. I drew schizophrenia and convinced someone to trade with me because of all the mental illness we covered, I just couldn’t understand exactly what schizophrenia was. It made no sense to me. I just couldn’t grasp it. I was afraid of it–aren’t schizophrenics the ones who kill people?
Now I understand schizophrenia in the most horrible way.
It’s been really hard for me to accept my diagnosis. I was in denial for a long time, and I’m still struggling to come to terms with it. A big part of the problem for me was deconstructing all of the stereotypes and stigma surrounding schizophrenia. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to have a life, a job, love. Sometimes I still wonder if I’m worthy of any of that, if I’ll ever find someone who will accept me despite my illness.
This is why awareness is so important. I’m a fairly successful student, studying physics at university. I’m an artist and a writer in my free time. I’m a bit of a nerd; I love Star Trek and cats and vintage fashion and clothing. I leave lipstick stains on everything I touch and I love frozen yogurt. My favorite music artist is Kaki King. I have a red car with a Space Shuttle tag. I’m super cute. I’m a person, and I’m here to show you I’m so much more than “schizophrenia.”
I am not my illness.
I still have a lot to work through, but I’ve had the support of my amazing friend biobastard and others along the way, and for that I am beyond grateful.