by Allie Burke
Usually women with schizophrenia are diagnosed in their twenties. The same went for me, but my symptoms started around 3 years years old. I just didn’t know it at the time. Most children have monsters in their closets or under their beds, and as I got older, I figured it had to do with that, even if they were still there. Humans—we’re such odd creatures. Always looking for the excuse that makes us normal.
Continue reading Her Jacket
by Allie Burke
In his piece, Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson presents the idea that we must be self-reliant—in our ideas, beliefs, environment, and ultimately, in the structure of our lives—to be an individual in society. But Emerson wrote this piece in 1841. How do his ideas of non-conformity apply today? People my age, with mental illnesses, who are somewhat offended by the statements “Millennials ruin everything; we can’t even joke around anymore” or “When I was your age I owned a house” but are also somewhat uncomfortable by the idea of identifying as Millennials because we work 8-to-5 jobs—where do we fit in, and how? Our generation seeks to never conform, but what about those of us who still work in Corporate America and who still care about what people think of us? How can we be self-reliant but also thrive in a world that so obviously doesn’t respect that idea? What would Emerson do?
Continue reading Self Reliance: The Rise of the Millennial
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a very technical, researched piece I wouldn’t normally publish here but its content is close to many of our hearts. Thank you as always for reading.
In an age of mental health awareness—even by our nation’s celebrities and respected public figures—there is one group of people still suffering the aftermath of mental health stigma. The schizophrenic people have been so heavily stigmatized for their brain disease that in some cases they won’t even seek treatment for fear of being discriminated against. Lack of treatment can lead to a plethora of issues, including suicide. Of the few (in comparison to the masses raising awareness about other mental illnesses) writing and speaking about this disease, most prefer to use the term ‘people with schizophrenia’ over ‘schizophrenic’ because people to do not want to be defined by the illness. Even Elyn Saks, a professor who has achieved fame with her memoir The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, has been quoted many times with the words, “Please hear this: There are not schizophrenics. There are people with schizophrenia.” Other advocates and mental health professionals have warned me against the term ‘schizophrenic’, which is precisely the reason I believe this disease needs activism. The desire not to be defined by something that is so clearly part of us veils the real problem: we need to educate society about the disease we live with instead of making an attempt to distance ourselves from it. Schizophrenia is not a shameful thing and we should own it just as we would own anything else about ourselves that we are proud of.
Continue reading The Oppression of the Schizophrenic People
By Kitt O’Malley
EDITOR’S NOTE: I think we all hate Facebook messenger at this point.
Email and direct messages, especially Facebook direct messages, intrude. I do not feel safe in the secretive world of chat. I need witnesses – others protecting my back. I prefer communication public – on my Facebook timeline or as comments to my blog posts.
Continue reading DEAR READER: Boundaries, Intimacy, and Trust
by Darick Taylor
Looking back on 30 years, most of them spent in isolation, it often takes my breath away. Time flows in one direction, and I will never be able to recover what has been lost. Living in the microcosm of my mind. Reaching desperately for meaning. If I go outside they will see—in the tension of my face and the perpetual downturn of my eyes. They will know that I am ugly. They will see the poverty and ignorance. A sixth-grade dropout. Agoraphobic. Neglected and fallen through the cracks; raised in trauma.
Continue reading Outside