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Old 02-22-2006, 09:35 AM   #1
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KMurt HB User
Question Looking for some help in spreading the word on schizophrenia

Hi everyone:
My name is Kaitlin and this is my first post. I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a type of schizophrenia when I was 16 years old. I am quickly approaching my 22nd birthday and have been stable on my medication since I was 18. I am a senior in college, and as May draws closer and closer I have been thinking a lot about what I am going to do when I graduate. I am completely "out" as a schizophrenc at my college, and during a casual conversation a profesor of mine suggested that I try to find an orginazation where I can speak publically to schools and businesses across the country to increase awareness on mental illness and schizophrenia.
As a young adult ready to enter the world, I have already come across a great deal of stigma because of my illness and am having a hard time finding a job. I have a pretty unique story of my discovery of my illness that spans from attempting suicide and being misdiagnosed to spending six months in a residental program for mentally ill teenagers. I feel that my wellness is a direct result of hard work, but also awareness, and I think it is of the utmost importance for everyone to learn more about this disease and the wonderful things that can happen when on the right medication.
I want to become a beacon of hope to those who cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. I also want to shatter the bias against this illness. I am asking you for help in finding a place where I can become a public speaker and share my knowledge and insight into the world of a young person with schizophrenia. I want people to know that schizophrenia is not a death sentence. Please help me find a place where I can speak out to teenagers, parents, and companies to spread awareness and stop the prejudice.

Last edited by KMurt; 02-22-2006 at 09:39 AM.

 
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Old 02-27-2006, 07:26 AM   #2
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i-be-peabody HB User
Re: Looking for some help in spreading the word on schizophrenia

Hi! Your post is wonderful.

Unfortunately, many of the places I know are online and we can't solicit other groups here. I belong to several wonderful message groups and we're all pretty active in proving to the world that we belong in it and can contribute something to it.

Congratulations on your impending graduation! Schizoid illnesses can really shatter a person and can make it very difficult to regain a strong foothold in the world. Welcome to the group of us who have finished university or college while combating the many facets of this illness! I finished my degree in 2001 and I started to get ill at about sixteen. I'm not as open about my situation as you are, but I've started to realize that I don't have to explain myself to anyone. If I meet a person who I think would be a nice companion, someone I respect and want to get t know better, I'll usually tell them pretty early on, before either of us have a chance to get too attached. Many people, I just never hear from again, I hate to say, but there are also many who can see through the stigma and want to give me a chance based solely on the fact that I'm a pretty decent person and, hey! I'm WORTH getting to know! I don't mind even hard curioisty about my illness (and friendships that start solely from that place) because curiosity is a sign of an open mind and maybe I can change the world a little by educating those who are willing to learn.

Anyhoovers... Listen, you can volunteer your time as a motivational speaker, for example. You can volunteer to speak at high schools, at universities and in the business world. The more you do this, the better you'll be known as a force for good change and perhaps this will increase your chances of someday getting aid or funding in starting some sort of facility of your own, if that's your thing. You could start a mental health drop in center where patients in remission help one another as well as newcomers to the mental illness community (because it really is like that. Most of my close friends are patients. We're like a feral community. We don't get the support we expect from our species so those of us who've been rejected or abandoned sort of take care of one another.) and family members of the ill. You could do a lot of good.

Good luck may I just say that you're self respect and your openness are impressive. Education serves as good medecine for many social ills. We only fear what we don't understand. The more we understand, the more openminded and tolerant we are of others' differences.

peace and love
pea

 
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