Dave's Progress. Chapter 3: A New Diagnosis.

Again thanks for your comments on my blog. As you know they are always welcome. This will only be a very short blog as I have but to relay one piece of information, and that is that my diagnosis, as far as I know, has been updated. My psychiatrist says that this was a diagnosis given in 2005. But I don't think I was really aware of it until recently.
Anyway, suffice to say that it's the biggy. The one almost everybody is scared of. Yes folks, its schizophrenia. No longer can I merely say I am bi-polar or schizo-afffective ( which nobody seems to know the meaning of anyway) -I am now one of them- a schizophrenic. And when one speaks of being schizophrenic it seems that such diagnoses become inseperable from one's own identity. For example, the famous psychiatrist R.D.Laing said, "one cannot talk of someone as having schizophrenia. No one has got schizophrenia. They simply are schizophrenic." (from "The Divided Self"). I cannot say that I agree with this. I feel a million miles away from this word, which seems to have been so misused and misrepresented that hardly anyone, apart from those who treat or suffer from it, understand at all what it means.
So, how do I feel? Well, I can't say that I feel that different at all. I'm still me. No matter how hard I try to escape that fact. Labels come, labels go, yadah, yadah, yadah. I can't say that the word actually describes me in any way or defines me. What if I had the label Jew or Palistinian? Would that still reduce me to a stereotype, honed on war, bound for mutual destruction? I don't think so and hope not. These are just words and within words there is always grounds for interpretation, particularly when you are talking about mental ill health. So, I would perhaps prefer to say survivor of, or experiencer of, schizophrenia. I know that all such terms are politically loaded, but at some stage we have to say what is appropriate and what is not. And this, no doubt, will differ amongst those who have experienced/suffered/survived/ mental ill health.
So until next time and until we find the right word. That's all from your average paranoid and delusional man.


sunseeker said…
Will there ever be the 'right' word... It still amazes me that a random word, which basically is used to describe a losely recognised group of symptoms, manages to create such fear to the general population.

It is difficult isn't it? We try so hard not to use terms which could be construed as labelling - but if we dare not speak of such things, how can we dispell the myths and remove the stereotypes?

'Being schizophrenic' is something that I too cannot agree with at all - it truely does imply that a person is the sum of their various symptoms.

As you rightly say, within words there is much scope for interpretation - and we often forget that they are just words...

I would just like to say that to me you will always be just Dave, and you have a severe dose of being considerate, thoughtful, intelligent and a whole bunch of other symptoms that make you a pleasure to be around. I wonder what the label/diagnosis for that should be...

Take care. x
There's lots of ways I would describe you Dave...'our Dave', 'our Dave, the brilliant wordsmith', 'lovely fella' - we're always talking about how well you seem to be doing and how much you do for us. So never mind the schizophrenia, like you say, it's a very loaded word. But to us, you're 'Just Dave', one of the good guys.

Domenica said…
Hi David,

I read your post with great interest,(as always) What 'came across' for me was, how positive it is, you succeeded in transforming a very negative and 'scary' word/diagnosis and managed to retain a balanced perspective, (not an easy thing to do) especially when it applys to oneself!
You are quite right and I agree entirely,not to allow any 'label' to define you, because of course it does not!
You/we are far more than any label or role we happen to have, or society/medical profession deems to give us.

If only more people would look past any label/role/diagnosis and see the real person, what a difference it would make.

When I look at you David, I see so many wonderful qualities, kindness, compassion, caring, superbly articulate, highly intelligent, (to name but a few)

My very best wishes to you David.....Helen(Domenica)x
Domenica said…
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