Tuesday, September 02, 2014

"The Magical Powers Of Schizophrenia"

I saw on the NBC Nightly News last night a story about a man with autism who has been writing comic books for kids with autism where the main character in the comic book has "special powers" and those powers are the powers of autism. He celebrates children with autism and with this comic book has successfully helped many little kids including a boy with autism that was interviewed and felt so proud to be like this superhero in the comic book. It was a beautiful thing. But it got me to thinking...

I know autism affects a great deal of children and adults so the population is pretty high and as a result there are more resources out there for people with autism and their families. A part of me, though, couldn't help but feel a tinge of jealousy (for lack of a better word). Where is our comic book? Now, I know that the majority of people with schizophrenia are young adults and older and a comic book isn't the answer but where is the magical thing like that autism comic book that makes those who live with schizophrenia and their families feel better about their circumstances? Where is the magical thing that creates a gigantic forum for awareness about our illness? Why can't we have the "magical powers of schizophrenia" and be superheroes too?

The fact of the matter is, that is just not our reality. It's sad to say but I'm not sure we will ever be celebrated in such a manner. We are already so vilified in the press and so few people truly understand the illness: a vast amount of people still believing this is a case of multiple personalities. I just would like our chance in the sunshine. You know?

I have to wonder. Is there anything out there that any of us can do that will properly educate people and give those living with schizophrenia something or someone to identify with so that they can feel less alone? There is no "Schizophrenia Man--To The Rescue!!!!!" I wish we had something like that though. Okay, I have missed the mark with "Schizophrenia Man" OBVIOUSLY but I wish we had a hero. Comic books are a relatively easy and cheap way to showcase an illness and it's positive traits and it's kids who suffer from bullying and a just plain LACK of education about their condition but our young adults with schizophrenia, our 30 year old (and beyond) people with schizophrenia need a voice too. A comic book obviously isn't our forum but I have to give thought to what can be done to make this illness and its sufferers better understood by others and to feel less alone in their lives and their struggle.

I want so much better for schizophrenia. I want so much better for Thomas, for you, for me, for everyone who deals with this illness every single day of our lives. Perhaps someday someone will come up with the magical formula that will put us on Brian Williams NBC Nightly News for others to say,

"Gee, I never knew that about schizophrenia! I never knew what those with it and their families and loved ones deal with! Wow! After seeing this story I want to find some way I can help get the word out there for this special population in need of support and understanding."

Honestly, I do have hope that our time will come. It's why I write, it's why I started writing in the first place. There is a place for all of us on this planet to be celebrated and I will find a way, somehow, some way, somewhere, someday, to put schizophrenia in the warm light of the sun where we will finally get the understanding and compassion we so richly deserve.

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