How Stigma Really Works

I’m going to continue in this vein and then end at the next week.

I propose there’s a double standard for people with schizophrenia who are doing well. If you have this illness and act odd, appear a little off, no one will want anything to do with you. On the other hand, if you’re doing well, I still make the case for not disclosing on the job.

You can tell a romantic partner, you can risk telling a friend if you want. Yet I’m here to tell you disclosing to your employers will still most likely backfire.

It’s because people don’t like to give credit to those of us with this illness when we’re doing well. It’s because so-called normal people have a lot invested in maintaining their appearances. They hid their flaws well. They don’t like people with schizophrenia who are doing well because it threatens their power.

It doesn’t look good to others when a person with schizophrenia can run circles around them, people who don’t have a mental illness. They have to protect their turf, so you might not get promoted on a job. You’ll be given an interview for a better position if you apply so that HR can trot you out like a show pony to claim they don’t discriminate.

The person who gets the job might be wacky and might not be the best candidate yet as long as they maintain their cloak of normalcy they’ll be fawned over.

I’m tired of people fronting normalcy as a “get out of jail free” Monopoly card in the workplace and in society. I have a big beef with what passes as normal in society because often dysfunctional behavior is rewarded in the workplace as well as in society.

With so much at stake I implore you: do not disclose to your employer or think twice about disclosing to your employer.

I’ll return with two more blog entries on this topic and then I’ll move on to other topics.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s