My Favorite Teachings on Schizophrenia

This topic came from my dear friend Juliet who is my role model for superb postvention advocacy and activism. From her I learned that my story and perspective can be life saving, so therefore I am entitled to - and responsible for - going forward although it is sometimes uncomfortable.

My dad had several diagnoses over the years as the DSM changed, but he was always the same person. He was highly functional, serving the entirety of WWII in the Navy with honor, and working his way to two excellent retirements. He traveled as often as he could, which was a lot! Lots of times - most really - he took his kids with him. My first flight was on a seaplane in Washington state. After that I can't count, but most were just as astonishing.

Juliet recently sent me a TedEx talk from a researcher on the topic of anosognosia. It's a short video on his experience as a young man with his much beloved brother. He reminded me that denial is a bad descriptive to describe why people with psychosis won't take meds.

Anosognosia has held my attention for the past six years, since I took NAMI Family-to-Family class. When I took that class a family member of my husband's was recovering from a severe TBI, and the biggest source of distress for the family was that she would not take her MD's advice - including the medicine prescribed.

Throughout my life I've been repeatedly appalled by the things people say about "schizophrenics" and how the media equates mental illness with danger. Several of my favorite people on the planet live with psychosis illnesses. I have trained with many devoted mental health advocates who juggle chronic sensory distress with career and family responsibilities. I just wonder - how would you deal with your child's basketball game AND hearing obnoxious white noise? Or crying? Or music that speeds up until you can't hear the notes? These people are my HEROES!

The truth is that people with mental illness are MUCH more likely to be victims of violent crime than to commit a crime. The bigotry against people who live with mental illness is just plain ignorant.

Anyway, I like the research by people who live their lives with mental illnesses and simply adjust and go forward just as people with MS or diabetes do. And I'd WAY rather read their research than almost anyone else's.

Check out these articles written by people who know first hand about illness and recovery.

I hope you have the good fortune to meet some voice hearers and vision seers. They are badass.

Peace out!

Erica Kitzman