A New Eye- (and Ear-) Opening Perspective on Schizophrenia
As someone who hasn’t ever had schizophrenia, I honestly don’t know what it is like to hear voices. (Just to clarify, not every person who has schizophrenia hears voices, but it is a common symptom.) I’ve worked with clients who have schizophrenia and auditory hallucinations, but that is as far as my personal experience goes. Nevertheless, it irks me when hearing voices is commonly employed as the butt of a joke or even humorously glorified; popular culture, unsurprisingly, is way behind in its understanding of severe mental illness in particular and mental health issues in general.
However, the tides are slowly changing as awareness of mental health issues grows, government policies become less pathologizing and more humanistic, and the stigma of severe mental illness is alleviated through understanding and openness to conversation. Now, it is more accessible than ever before to experience what a normal day is like for someone who battles with schizophrenia. Thanks to a clinical psychologist who was diagnosed with the disorder as a teenager, a new and exciting experiment aims to foster empathy for people who have schizophrenia, a disorder that is misunderstood by most of society.
Take a look at CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s experience: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2014/06/09/anderson-takes-part-in-an-experiment-to-help-understand-how-people-live-with-mental-illness/
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Marco Castellani