Do Your Own Think

Having schizophrenia is not a disgrace or a mark of shame even though that’s a common feeling for a person who is newly diagnosed.

I saw it’s time to take back your power and do your own think.

My contention is that there is no stigma only discrimination. Dr. Thomas Insel, the director of NIMH, was the first person at least five years ago to write that we should replace the word stigma with discrimination.

The reality is that a lot of people are bigoted and prejudiced against individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. As it is, in society in general a lot of judging and blaming goes on against ANYONE who is perceived as being different.

What I think is: why should we give others the power to dictate how we feel about ourselves?

We don’t have to spend the rest of our lives held hostage in this kind of prison where we’re confined to conforming to a norm so that other people can accept us.

What constitutes normal in society I don’t think is normal at all: judging people for not living up to your standards for what is acceptable is common yet is hardly normal if you ask me. Trying to remodel people into versions of themselves that are acceptable to you is what’s truly freaky.

I’m going to quote the book flap of the Kelly Cutrone book Normal Gets You Nowhere:

“History is full of successful, world-changing people who did not fit in…Instead of changing themselves to accommodate the status quo or what others thought they should be, these people hung a light on their differences–and changed humanity in the process.”

I urge you to buy this book and read it and re-read it often. I found a free copy at a library book sale so I took it home. I originally read it three years ago.

Yes: each of us has the duty to find our own tribe or create our own tribe of kindred spirits.

I do not advocate for “following along” in the norms of a society where bigotry, violence, and hatred are all too prevalent still. I champion daring to be different.

Besides, those of us who are different don’t think we are aberrant. We think we’re normal. It’s the narrow-minded people who are truly living in a prison.

I say: break free of thinking stigma exists. Do your own thing. Think for yourself.

In the last blog entry I told readers I experience no stigma. That’s the truth.

How can this be? It is. I found my tribe: a crew that can sit at an outdoor table in a restaurant and talk about schizophrenia. We don’t care if our voices carry.

Remember this:

Only silence is shame.

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.

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