People with Mental Illness are more than a Label


This blog post from FriendsofSnowflake really hit home with me, as my son Zack, is often referred to by his label. “Is he bipolar?” “Is he autistic?” No he IS not any of those things. He is a boy, a teenager, an artist, a son, a brother who lives with brain illnesses that greatly affect his functioning at times like OCD, ADD,Tourette’s, Depression, Anxiety, learning disabilities. Below is the post that is heartfelt and sobering.

Reblogged from Snowflake:

“A person that is referred to by a label like: schizophrenia, depression or bi-polar is seen as a set of symptoms explained by a certain psychological category. Not only is this demeaning but it is rude to see a person without the light of their characteristics and human qualities that have been forming and transforming since birth and maybe even before birth.

I referred to my label as the ‘s’ word for the longest time. (From Wikipedia – Schizophrenia  is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness.[1] Common symptoms include auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction.) This definition scares me and leads me to have more symptoms just be reading the darn thing, no wonder I called it the’S’ word.

I tried to talk to people about the possibility that their could be some positivity, imagination and worth – in the schizophrenia I dealt with. This made me feel good. Some people were curious and interested. It was neat to tell people a bit about the different communications with nature, God and loved ones that aren’t physically here anymore. But due to some of the misunderstanding of symptoms and more than that the enormous amount of symptoms I feel at times it is not always positive. With the people who’s help I have reached out for lately, I have used the word schizophrenia more freely. I was hoping it would help me: come to terms with symptoms,  lessen the amount of hearing unknown energies and relate better to others dealing with mental illness.

Well it seems to have done what it was meant to describe. It seems to have made me see things as an illness. I see this illness as the problem I have to live with. In some ways this is a relief. I can feel the sympathies of others.  But in other ways it is wrong.  You see, some of the ways that people see things, hear things and imagine things are beautiful and exceptional. I wouldn’t call that an illness for the world. Some of us who have schizophrenia could be seen as talented and worthy of respect for this quality alone. Some movies help show that people who are different are important and need love too.

But…. whether or not seeing and hearing things can be good or bad….. whether or not it should be treated as a problem or a solution… whether or not it requires medication or understanding.. , there is more to a  person than just their mental illness.

These are some of the different things about me that I don’t often share. I have studied spirituality in the light of New Age teachings for many years and recently have become interested in the teachings of Jesus. I have become more open to people differently-abled. I have accompanied some people through the process of living out senior years. These are all really valid learnings and I have been aware of other things like this over the years. If I am just seen as a label these valuable parts of me become lost.I am worried about that.  The energy in me wants to teach, inform, love and value others. Will the medical profession give me a chance at this? Will my family ever see me as much more than this label?

I like peanut butter chocolate ice cream and I didn’t eat it for ten years in standing up for the value of an ex-boyfriend you had also liked that kind of ice cream. I was determined and dedicated. I had a beautiful large plant given to me… and when it died I took a taxi to a place that had a compost for plants and gave it a proper resting place. I was thoughtful and resourceful. I put sticky notes around my place that said ‘Yes”. They were saying yes to life in so many ways. Then I watched ‘Yes Man’ and enjoyed the message to: get out there, try new things, meet new people and fall in love with life all over again. I was funny and smart. These are the things I want to talk to people about. These are some of the things that I value. Yet just what comes out of my mouth when people ask me how I am?

I guess there is more to me than even I am aware of. I wonder if other people feel it too. Once having a label people are often defined by that label. Is it frustrating for others as well? I guess hearing things and seeing things is a gift and, when I am valued the messages that come to me aren’t  crazy and weird they are simple and nourishing. On the other hand, if I see it as an illness, I receive support from myself and others so maybe at times it’s an illness that needs intelligent and sensitive treatment. Sometimes I’m not sure if I can see the good in this gift anymore. I hope others will help get to know people no matter what difference they have. I hope people will accept their friends, acquaintances and family members as more than a label.”

Written by Friends of Snowflake

About friendofsnowflake

It the way of the spiritual path I have walked many roads…. hear I am with a connection to nature, to God and spirit and currently can’t ask for much more. Poetry nourishes soul and fulfills my spirit working for beauty, opinions and nature in words. I have worked with great seniors and wonderful little ones. I have woken some people with hurt abilities too new abilites. I have been woken myself. This blog is a place for me to write to you to have thoughts find a way to others from my confused head. I would sing them to you but on this computer we must suffice with words.


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