by Allie Burke
*Trigger Warning: Mental Health and Suicide
I was 24 years old. I smoked weed like so many others my age, took muscle relaxers for fun. Daily, I heard these voices and saw these shadows, but they had always been around. It wasn’t like they were new. I’d learned to live with them like they were allergies on a spring day. But when my marriage started failing, I started to accept the fact that there was something wrong with me. I could live with hallucinations; I could not live as a divorcee. I wasn’t my mom, and I had to make it work.
Continue reading My Life as a Schizophrenic
by Darick Taylor
EDITOR’S NOTE: Discretion is advised. Following is a story about self-harm and suicide.
This piece originally published on Across the Margin.
My therapist had introduced me to another of her clients: a woman in her mid-40s with a history of self-harm. She had a kind of loose-skinned thinness brought about not by her age but by the incessant tanning she hoped would camouflage her scars. Her natural teeth had clearly been replaced by dentures, giving her a look that lay in a place between her actual age and twenty years older.
Continue reading An Image of Self-Violence
By Stacey Lehrer
Unique always used to talk about writing a book about her life. She worked on it off and on for years, often telling me about a chapter she was working on or what part she planned to write about next. It’s been years since she had a working computer; I don’t know what happened to her writing. But I do know that she wanted people to hear her story. I can’t speak to what happened in Unique’s life in the time before I knew her, although I’ve heard enough about it that I feel like I have a pretty good idea. But I can tell her story as it connects with mine, in the 14 years since we met. I’m leaving out some of the more intensely personal details, to respect her privacy, but hoping to share her story (and, in part, our story) as she wished.
Continue reading Unique, Volume 1
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 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