After looking at demographics of my blogs traffic, I noticed that the most used search term which led people to my blog was “why are people with schizoaffective disorder impossible to get on with other people”. This angered me for a lot of reasons, the main one being that regardless of who you are, what type of person you are, and the things you’ve done, if you have schizoaffective disorder, you are apparently ‘impossible’ to get along with. Which is outrageous.
I have schizoaffective disorder, am I impossible to get along with? No. I have many friends with schizoaffective disorder, are they impossible to get along with? No. Some of the best people I have met on this planet have schizoaffective disorder, are they impossible to get along with? No.
Whether you suffer from a mental illness or not is not the basis of a friendship. I have both neurotypical and neurodivergent friends, as do many people, whether they know it or not. That’s another thing about mental illness, the majority of us hide it so well you would never know that we are mentally ill, so why does your ability to get along with us change once you find out we do have a mental illness? Stigma. That’s it.
When most people hear the word schizophrenic, schizoaffective, bipolar, or any other plethora of mental illnesses, they immediately react with fear. This fear is based on a lack of understanding and the stigma that surrounds mental illness that is constantly around us. If mental illness is mentioned within the media, it is most likely because a tragedy has occurred in which the perpetrator suffered from a mental illness, which the media will choose to blame. If mental illness is mentioned within the media, it is most likely a film about a psychopathic killer in which the killer suffers from a mental illness. We rarely see any positivity about mental illness in the media or any other aspect of our lives, and this is where stigma comes from.
It is certainly a misconception that those who suffer from mental illness are violent, dangerous or any other negative adjective that you would like to choose. There are both good and bad individuals that suffer from a mental illness, that are both good and bad individuals that do not suffer from a mental illness.
Stigma provides a biased, incorrect view of mental health that influences an awful amount of people. It is important to educate people about mental health so these sort of beliefs and behaviour do not occur.
Your future best friend, soul mate, parent or any other member of your family could fall victim to a mental illness. This is not how you would want them to be treated, you do not want to miss on possibly the best friendships or relationships of your life because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Educate yourself, educate others. It should be perfectly acceptable to talk about mental health openly, mental illness is an illness, nothing more, nothing less. You do not get treated differently due to physical illness, you do not have people assume what type of person you are because of a physical illness, and people do not assume you are impossible to get along with because of a physical illness; stop treating people differently simply because they suffer from a mental illness. We are human, you are human, let’s act like it.