Please hear this: There are not ‘schizophrenics,’ there are people with schizophrenia. And each of these people may be a parent, may be your sibling, may be your neighbor, may be your colleague. Elyn Saks, author of The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
Among people with schizophrenia who are open about it and have been managing it is Susan Weinreich, an artist diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. From Andrew Solomon‘s Far from the Tree, meet Weinreich:
Another woman who has come out about her schizophrenia is Elyn Saks—attorney, professor, founder of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics, author of The Center Cannot Hold (2007), and speaker of the above-cited quote.
Saks explains the three things that have helped her survive (from CNN): her treatment (including psychoanalytic psychotherapy and medication), a community of friends and family, and the support of her workplace, the USC Law School. “Even with all of that — excellent treatment, wonderful friends and family, enormously supportive work environment — I did not make my illness public until relatively late in my life. And that’s because the stigma against mental illness is so powerful that I didn’t feel safe with people knowing…”
Her story is also available as a TED talk of longer length:
Selected Quotes from The Center Cannot Hold:
My good fortune is not that I’ve recovered from mental illness. I have not, nor will I ever. My good fortune lies in having found my life.
No one would ever say that someone with a broken arm or a broken leg is less than a whole person, but people say that or imply that all the time about people with mental illness.
Dropping in and out of your own life (for psychotic breaks, or treatment in a hospital) isn’t like getting off a train at one stop and later getting back on at another. Even if you can get back on (and the odds are not in your favor), you’re lonely there. The people you boarded with originally are far, far ahead of you, and now you’re stuck playing catch-up.
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