Schizophrenia and My Worst Fears
My biggest fear as someone with schizophrenia is experiencing a prolonged period of psychosis, but I have other worries that I live with as well. Because of my anxiety disorder, fear and worry are regular visitors in my life. Most of my fears are centered around medical issues, the loss of my husband due to illness, a car accident, or a heart attack or stroke (I think of all the scary things). There is a type of fear separate from all the ones I have listed, though, but no less prevalent, and that fear has to do with judgment, stigma, and rejection. It mostly has to do with rejection.
I would love to tell you I don't care what others think about me. After all, I write and talk about living with schizophrenia almost every day. My face and my diagnosis are all over the Internet. The truth is, I do care, though.
My Fear that Schizophrenia Stigma May Lead to Rejection
I fear the repercussions of schizophrenia stigma and judgment that may lead to exclusion and rejection. As a freelance writer, I live with rejection all the time. Each time I have an idea for an essay or article, and I send that idea to an editor of a magazine, I risk rejection (and it happens a lot). Rejecting an idea is not the same as rejecting me as a person, though.
I fear that the spaces I most want to belong in, like classes I teach, workshops I lead, organizations I join, and jobs I would love to have, will be closed off to me once someone in one of those spaces searches my name discovering that I live with schizophrenia.
Fear Makes Me Want to Hide My Diagnosis
The fear of rejection due to schizoaffective disorder makes me feel like hiding a part of my identity that I thought I had come to terms with almost 10 years ago when I wrote my first article about life with a severe mental illness. I wish I were the kind of person who didn't care at all about those who would reject someone or not hire them or exclude them based on a health issue, but it turns out I'm not immune to the thoughts and actions of others.
I am adding not caring about what others think to my list of ways to change and grow. The list of the ways I want to develop is pretty long, but I do chip away at it almost daily. Hopefully, sometime soon, I'll be more resilient, bolder, happier, and not afraid of rejection in places where I long to belong. The saying, "I'm not for everyone," could help me not take exclusion personally and help me to grow past at least one of my more significant and pervasive fears.
Chamaa, R. (2023, November 1). Schizophrenia and My Worst Fears, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2023/11/schizophrenia-and-my-worst-fears