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Schizophrenia and Relationships

October 18, 2023 Rebecca Chamaa

Regardless of my schizophrenia, I have many relationships. I am married. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, an employee, an instructor, etc. Most people who interact with me know that I have schizophrenia. The people with whom I am in a relationship and who make me feel the most comfortable and help me focus on something besides my illness are those who treat me like everyone else. 

I have symptoms of schizophrenia every day, but those symptoms are not always apparent to those around me unless I draw attention to them, which I rarely do except with my husband. Regardless of my daily symptoms, I try to engage with people most days of the week, whether by Zoom, Messenger, or text. What makes me feel the most accepted and seen or heard is being allowed to be something other than someone with schizophrenia. For example, I teach classes to help people get published in national magazines, and doing something productive that doesn't have anything to do with my diagnosis is an excellent distraction from having a severe mental illness. It also boosts my self-esteem. Relationships help my schizophrenia.

My Relationships Show I Am More than My Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

It is common to hear people say, "I am more than my diagnosis." I agree with this statement wholeheartedly, but not everyone makes me feel I am more than my diagnosis.

For example, if I get upset about something, it is common for someone to say, "Did you take your meds today?"

Asking that question completely dismisses my feelings, reality, and concerns. The person is saying, whether they mean it this way or not, that I can't have bad days or things that upset me like everyone else. If something bothers me, it must be a symptom of my schizophrenia. 

Schizophrenia Symptoms Can't Always Be Overlooked in Relationships

I am not saying that it is always easy to ignore, overlook, or even tolerate all the symptoms of schizophrenia. Some symptoms need to be addressed; that is the illness's reality. However, with other things, like backing out of plans at the last minute, having to leave a party early, or being unable to attend an important event, those instances that are caused by my symptoms are the things that people often extend grace to me about; and I appreciate it. For example, because I missed a few events, I'm not taken off the invitation list, I continue to be included, and no one makes me feel bad for my limitations.

Relationships are an essential part of mental health, and those people who treat me like they would everyone else help me to feel welcomed and accepted as I am, symptoms and all. 

I talk more about schizophrenia and relationships in the following video:

APA Reference
Chamaa, R. (2023, October 18). Schizophrenia and Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, March 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2023/10/schizophrenia-and-relationships



Author: Rebecca Chamaa

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