‘Why don’t you work full time?’ asked a colleague at the home the other day.

‘Because I’m radio rental,’ I replied.

‘Radio rental?’

‘Yeah, you know, it’s Cockney Rhyming slang. I’m mental. I have schizo affective disorder.’

‘Schizo what?’

‘Schizo affective disorder.’ I enunciated my words carefully. ‘It’s a combination of schizophrenia and manic depression.’

I saw her flinch when I uttered the word ‘schizophrenia’. She pursed her lips, walked away and said nothing more about it. Now, how am I supposed to respond to that? There is a flicker of fear in her eyes now whenever she sees me.

The government’s aim, not entirely devoid of merit, is to get as many ‘disabled’ people as possible off benefits and into full time work. This includes the ‘mentally ill’. It is easy, when hanging around in the ‘Madosphere’, a virtual place in which one is suffused with the warm glow of acceptance, of mutual appreciation, to forget that the real world is not like that. With a few notable exceptions, mental illness carries a greater stigma than physical illness. And no government can legislate away fear, suspicion and hostility.

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6 Responses to “Schizo-What?”

  1. Amy Marissa Says:

    It’s heartbreaking to think you feel you don’t belong anywhere.

    You’ll find your place.


  2. L- Says:

    The world is brutal.


  3. Blue Cross Laura Says:

    What a cow! Did you complain about her?


  4. Nancy Says:

    Recently I was surprised by how much stigma is still out there. We are trying to bring a clubhouse to New Hampshire, USA, one which meets international standards. Since we need a variance, many people turned out for the zoning board meeting. Many people were in favor, but some who weren’t said the typical things, e.g. “We don’t want those people in our neighborhood.” It’s hard enough dealing with an illness (my son has schizoaffective and I have major depression), but when others put up additional roadblocks, it makes me want to scream. Happily we got the variance. Stay strong.


  5. This Week in Mentalists – Cyclopean Dread Edition « Mental Nurse Says:

    […] a similar vein, So Sick of Drowning discusses stigma of mental illness. ‘Why don’t you work full time?’ asked a colleague at the home the other […]


  6. jeneli Says:

    You’re braver than I am. I just go Um and Er a lot when people ask why I’m not full time.


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