We are not our diagnosis, no we are much more

I read that somewhere on line one day and the thought has really stuck with me.  That is one reason why I usually say I have a disorder not that I am mentally ill.  The brain misfires I understand and causes us to hear, see and believe strange things to be true.  It is not a sickness like a cold.  It is kind of like if we have a broken arm; our brains don’t work properly but with medicine they can.

So when people refer to people with Schizophrenia as schizo or schizophrenic I just cringe.  I have Schizophrenia but am so much more.  I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a sister etc…  To define me by my diagnosis is simply unfair.  But life is not fair; life has taught me that.  Some people will always judge us as incomplete or ill but I choose my words to describe my disorder carefully and share with a select few.

I choose as Mahatma Gandhi taught to: ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’



4 comments on “We are not our diagnosis, no we are much more

  1. Diabetics get tagged the same way, but that’s the only example I can recall of using a medical diagnosis to label a person other than with mental health conditions (a “manic depressive”, a “schizophrenic”, a “borderline”, a “narcissist”, etc). I think that’s a subtle sign of the stigma involved.


    • Charles Berl says:

      The stigma is huge for a person carrying Schizophrenia. I know we are referred to by our illness and it is sad and extremely frustrating for me. We are much more than our illnesses. I am speechless because it seems that the stigma is overwhelming. Victoria mentioned that she only told one other person at work, and thus this is how, I feel I ought to carry myself. It is sad but true. So true about people not ‘trusting’ our judgement when if we were, “normal,” our judgement would often be seeing as creative or interesting and helpful. It is sad. I find Victoria an inspiration, both as a writer and as a person who works in the psychology field as a professional.


      • Great to hear from someone else who suffers all the negativity associated with our disorder. We are not alone in this though! I encourage more people to help the world to understand what we already know that we are not to be stigmatized because of our disorder, through sharing with others, writing blogs, and educating our loved ones who may never totally get it but with gentle nudges might come closer. Thank you Charles for sharing on my blog!


  2. Joanna L says:

    Well written. I published two articles on Schizophrenia on http://factbasedhealth.com. After watching a friends son commit suicide frustrated with people not getting him I decided to try and educate the general public / well start with my readers about what truly is Schizophrenia, how many people suffer and showing it is more common then people think. People with Schizophrenia are not their illness.


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