Do Your Own Think

Having schizophrenia is not a disgrace or a mark of shame even though that’s a common feeling for a person who is newly diagnosed.

I saw it’s time to take back your power and do your own think.

My contention is that there is no stigma only discrimination. Dr. Thomas Insel, the director of NIMH, was the first person at least five years ago to write that we should replace the word stigma with discrimination.

The reality is that a lot of people are bigoted and prejudiced against individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. As it is, in society in general a lot of judging and blaming goes on against ANYONE who is perceived as being different.

What I think is: why should we give others the power to dictate how we feel about ourselves?

We don’t have to spend the rest of our lives held hostage in this kind of prison where we’re confined to conforming to a norm so that other people can accept us.

What constitutes normal in society I don’t think is normal at all: judging people for not living up to your standards for what is acceptable is common yet is hardly normal if you ask me. Trying to remodel people into versions of themselves that are acceptable to you is what’s truly freaky.

I’m going to quote the book flap of the Kelly Cutrone book Normal Gets You Nowhere:

“History is full of successful, world-changing people who did not fit in…Instead of changing themselves to accommodate the status quo or what others thought they should be, these people hung a light on their differences–and changed humanity in the process.”

I urge you to buy this book and read it and re-read it often. I found a free copy at a library book sale so I took it home. I originally read it three years ago.

Yes: each of us has the duty to find our own tribe or create our own tribe of kindred spirits.

I do not advocate for “following along” in the norms of a society where bigotry, violence, and hatred are all too prevalent still. I champion daring to be different.

Besides, those of us who are different don’t think we are aberrant. We think we’re normal. It’s the narrow-minded people who are truly living in a prison.

I say: break free of thinking stigma exists. Do your own thing. Think for yourself.

In the last blog entry I told readers I experience no stigma. That’s the truth.

How can this be? It is. I found my tribe: a crew that can sit at an outdoor table in a restaurant and talk about schizophrenia. We don’t care if our voices carry.

Remember this:

Only silence is shame.

Christina Bruni’s Future TED Talk

Giving an 18-minute TED Talk has become a phenomenon in recent years. I would talk about something specific if I had the opportunity to give a TED Talk.

Here goes:

What I write springs from my premise that people can recover from mental illnesses. So I write things as if recovery is possible. I’m confident my readers have the capability of trying to create a better life for themselves. This blueprint for living is going to be different for each of us.

I have strong views because I’m stubborn: I refused to believe I couldn’t achieve my goals. I knew that as long as I took action I would achieve what I set out to.

How come I was able to think I could do these things? I didn’t know whether I could: I decided I had to try, because as long as I tried my best, there would be no shame if I failed.

You have to fail: failure is often necessary in order to arrive at a better place in your life. A person should not be afraid to fail big and fail often.

Perfection isn’t the goal. Being certain you’ve done the right things all the time is a false security–and being certain at all times is not the goal either.

Taking action is the goal. Have you heard the 1980s term “paralysis by analysis?” Taking risks is the goal. The more risks you take, the more confidence you get.

You don’t get confident doing nothing. You don’t get confident watching TV all the time. You get confident by taking action even when you don’t have the faith that things will work out. The Zen saying tells us: “Leap, and the net will appear.”

A university professor told his class: “Everyone has an agenda.” Your purpose for being here on earth in this lifetime is your agenda. What is your vision for what you want to do in your life? What is it you want to champion for yourself and others?

Find that purpose–the spark that gives you energy to wake up in the morning. Go do and advance that and you won’t need to be certain of anything. You’ll take action regardless of the result because you believe in your vision.

You won’t always win. It might take you years and years to be successful. That’s okay.

Do what you believe in. Passion is the goal.