Schizophrenia Awareness: What Do We Have To Do? This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

March 5, 2011
If you please, dear Reader, picture yourself in a room, any room of any sort, the specifics are irrelevant. It is an average day with nothing out of the ordinary. At first, that is. It would be helpful to close your eyes to imagine said situation but then you would be unable to read this page for further instructions. The room is particularly quiet and people who are equally silent surround you. At this point you start to hear particular noises whose source is unbeknownst to you. As far as you can tell, no one else pays mind to these onomatopoetic vociferations. You turn about; looking left then right, but you still cannot find the source. It pesters and pesters and you soon realize that it will not stop and it is coming from some invisible location. It becomes increasingly irritating and pushes you towards the edge of hysteria at which point you stand up from your given, nondescript seat and demand to know if anyone else has heard the aforementioned sound. To which the hypothetical people turn at you with a quizzical look and wonder what on earth your problem is. Now, this is not the everyday life of a schizophrenic, undifferentiated or otherwise, but it does happen far more often than it does to someone of sane mind and stature.

Imagine how much fun that could possibly be, dear Reader? Whispers behind your back, strange stares by people who were once your friends, colleagues, even acquaintances. Even worse are the whispers by people or entities that do not exist in the plane of the sane. This does not happen to every schizophrenic, but it is a common symptom of the disorder. Note, dear Reader, that I have said disorder and not disease. This is a common misconception to those who have not studied the subject as in depth as I, for example, have. Not to say that I mean this in a pompous manner, not at all. This is simply a subject that I am finely tuned to and of genuine interest for reasons that are irrelevant to the construct of this argument; therefore I will now change the subject.

There is the constant problem of misinformation. This is one of the greatest threats to a schizophrenic’s recovery. If there were more support for these people, more awareness, perhaps better funding for the answer would be closer to us. I’ve also found that there are some people that believe that merely wishing to be rid of this disorder will find that it is exorcised of them. With pure thought. According to Elizabeth Richter, that is. She says that she has suffered through the pains of schizophrenia and discovered that just by willing it away and using the concept of “mind over matter” that she was cured. (Richter- GALE) I, however, find this very difficult to believe. If such were the case and it were applicable to a good majority of people struggling with schizophrenia. (2.2 million adults have this disorder in the United States alone, which does not count childhood schizophrenics such as the famed Jani Schofield who had over seven hundred imaginary characters that ruled her life.) (NIMH- National Institute of Mental Health)

Regardless of that, it has come to my attention that there are numerous attempts at curing this “disease.” Which, again, is a common and horrid misconception. Another major issue facing schizophrenia, as well as other mental disorders, is that these victims of hereditary circumstance or some traumatic event (two causes of schizophrenia, undifferentiated or otherwise) are dangerous. Many a thriller or horror film has come into fruition where the given antagonist is someone with some such disorder of the highest insane caliber. This doesn’t give schizophrenics a good reputation, to say the least. The reality of the situation is that schizophrenia is horribly misunderstood. Granted, many are delusional but very few are as violent as the media claims them to be. The truth is that only the violent schizophrenics make the news. Think about it, reader, would anyone want to hear about a docile mental patient? I think not. Those that are well aware of the media want something bigger, something groundbreaking. The patients who suffer at the hands of the less controlled are not the ones that make the news.

To fix this, there is the proposition that goes without saying. Education. People need to be educated on this subject as it is indeed problematic. We shun what we do not understand which has worsened the reputation of the mentally ill. The dissociative, the bipolar, the schizophrenic. Their disorder is irrelevant. They are branded with a seal of estrangement and off to a clinic in a highly medicated state they go. People need to learn the truth about schizophrenia, and other disorders. Others, such as chronic depression and bipolar disorder are far more understood than schizophrenia. Pardoned, even. This cannot and should not be the case.

In the past schizophrenics have been exiled if not killed. They were murdered for being strange and unable to control their delusions. If they spoke to themselves when they thought they were speaking to people that existed only in their plane of reality, they were labeled estranged and shipped off to some ward where they were held underwater until they fainted, ECT’d (Electroshock therapy) until they were docile and incapable of taking care of themselves. They found it easier to kill the person inside the human body than to help them with medications such as psychoactive drugs like benzodiazepine. We need to first increase awareness then work towards finding some permanent fix for these unfortunate victims of circumstance.

Nothing has been done as of yet to help these people, so we have to start now. The disorder doesn’t just go away, it just goes into remission. People need to realize that they are not dangerous, but disturbed. Education and proactive thinking is the first step. Once we have mastered that we can go on to worry about cures, more efficient medications, and medications that have fewer deadly side-effects.

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