A diagnosis of schizophrenia set me apart from the rest of the world

15 November 2013

Schizophrenia awareness week offers an interesting opportunity to reflect on the impact of receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

I was a teenager when I got my diagnosis and as a direct result, my world fell apart. When I reflect back on this now, I realise that the diagnosis did me far more harm than the experience that got me the diagnosis. I had been seeing and hearing things for years and although that experience was extremely distressing from time to time, it was the diagnosis that did the damage.

A diagnosis of schizophrenia set me apart from the rest of the world. The diagnosis lost me jobs and prevented me getting others; it prevented me from getting loans, credit cards and insurance; it made people assume I was incompetent and incapable. Hearing and seeing things is difficult enough; but being branded (and I use the term in the cattle marking sense) a schizophrenic made it impossible.

While it may be lovely to think that there will come a day that the diagnosis itself does not lead to a life of experiencing discrimination; until that day comes, I think we would be better off without the diagnosis of schizophrenia at all.