what we wish someone had told us
An exercise: When you are presented with the word schizophrenia, what are the very first words that come to mind?
Regardless of what you came up with, would you be able to determine what is your knowledge about schizophrenia based on? Is it science-based? Perhaps experience-based? Or mainly media-informed? Due to the (unfortunate and overwhelming) inaccessible nature of science and the fact that, more likely than not, you have not had the opportunity to share space with someone living with schizophrenia, the media may have the biggest weight on your thoughts about the disease.
Note: The media and entertainment industry have created inaccurate and sensationalized ideas of what schizophrenia is. And these ideas have a shattering impact on the existences of those living with the disease.
Here, I will not tell you about the catastrophic impact schizophrenia has and the familial and societal burdens it poses. And I will not tell you about those because it is time we re-write the story of schizophrenia. It is time we focus on the person, less on labels, diagnoses. It is time we accept that mental illnesses are health conditions. It is time we know better, do better, support better.
And I will definitely not tell you that individuals living with schizophrenia are able to function when well-supported, because that would be diminishing. As Daniel would put it: "I don't want to only function, I want to do great things".
I will simply introduce you to humans I was lucky enough to co-exist with.