“There are not schizophrenics. There are people with schizophrenia.”
I was told recently by an acquaintance, who is a social worker, that I shouldn’t refer to myself as schizophrenic, but instead should say that “I am a person with schizophrenia.” “It’s more PC.” She told me, with a smile, like she was doing me a favor. Calling myself schizophrenic, I was told, was derogatory. I was confused, and surprised. I still am. Why can’t I call myself what I want to be called? Am I somehow insulting myself by not following these rules of political correctness? Who even makes up these rules? I asked a couple schizophrenic friends their opinions.
Despite many advocates’ pleads, I choose to identify as a schizophrenic instead of a person with schizophrenia. It’s my way of owning the illness as part of me. I am more than a schizophrenic person, but a schizophrenic person is who I am, just as a writer is who I am. It’s never going away, so I take accountability for the schizophrenia like of it were any other part of me. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
– Allie Burke, Author, Mental Health Blogger, Advocate, and Schizophrenic
I’ve heard quite a few times, “you are not a schizophrenic, but a person with schizophrenia”. One man put his hand on my shoulder and looked deeply into my eyes as he said it. But guess what? I’m the one with it (since childhood) and I will call myself whatever I want. For me it’s taking back the word. First off, I’m a badass and I rather people associate “schizophrenic” with badass than scary murderer. It is what you make it. Call yourself whatever but don’t tell me what to call myself.
– Rachel Star Withers, YouTuber, Advocate, and Schizophrenic
Let’s let schizophrenics, decide what they want to be called. We are judged enough by society already. We don’t need to be judged by people in the mental health field as well.
Thanks for reading guys! BTW I’m schizophrenic.
Michelle Hammer is a NYC native with Schizophrenia. Diagnosed at 22, she wanted to do something that could benefit the mental health community. In May 2015, she founded the company, which is a clothing line with the mission of reducing stigma by starting conversations about mental health. Michelle takes a portion of the profits and donates to organizations in NYC that help out with the mentally ill population of NYC.