The only thing to fear is fear itself
I knew a young child who had befriended “Roger”. They became fast friends, but one day the parents of this first child took their son aside and cautioned him from becoming to friendly with Roger because he acted differently, and because people would talk about him as they talk about Roger.
Years later, Rodger was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The child’s parents were right. But the way they expressed that concern was wrong.
Schizophrenia affects about 1% of those 18 years and older, http://www.schizophrenia.com/szfacts.htm
and literally means ‘a splitting of the thoughts’.
Among the symptoms of schizophrenia http://www.dhhs.state.nh.us/dcbcs/bbh/documents/imrguide.pdf (pp. 630-631) are thought disorder, which is confused thinking, making it difficult for one to stay on topic, or use correct words, or even form coherent sentences; and, cognitive impairments which are problems affecting one’s concentration, memory, or abstract reasoning.
Another symptom is isolating/social withdrawal, one of the reasons being from a fear of being ridiculed for talking funny. And to think that the parents of Roger’s friend, in their concern to protect their son, were only fueling the stigmas of mental illness.
Several of the myths http://psychcentral.com/lib/illuminating-13-myths-of-schizophrenia/0002709 existing towards this illness are that these individuals will never lead a normal life, that they will become criminals, that all their symptoms are manifested in the same manner, and that there is no help for them.
Only truthfulness will destroy these myths by bringing the truth seeker face to face with the individuals who have schizophrenia; each person –each story- will punch more holes in the stereotypes that have arisen due to gross generalizations.
There are two individuals who readily come to mind who not only have schizophrenia but who are successful because they have pushed past fears of others, preconceived notions of the professionals…and now are communicating that freedom to others. Their stories are powerful, and I urge you to read them: Dan Fisher http://www.power2u.org/who.html , and Will Hall http://www.power2u.org/articles/recovery/recovery_stories/will_hall.html .
This will take time for you to realize the uniqueness of these people. A resource for doing this, that I recently found, is L.E.A.P. http://www.leapinstitute.org (Listen, Empathize, Agree, Partner)
Remember that if you see one person who has schizophrenia, then you have seen –only ONE person.
Blessings in your journey,