Essay about Reaction: Schizophrenia and Eleanor’s Story

Submitted By jheiden
Words: 982
Pages: 4

Schizophrenia is a rare and difficult disorder to overcome, especially in a society that is quick to stereotype. There is an immense amount of negativity and scrutiny surrounding the disorder. Recently, I ask my 20-year-old brother to tell me the first two words that came to his mind when he thought of the word ‘schizophrenia’, the first two words he thought of were, “crazy” and “weird.” Like my brother, most of the general public would perhaps say some of the same terms when asked about schizophrenia. In our current society it is “abnormal” to have such disorders as schizophrenia because it not ‘common’ and does not fit the norms of the majority. There are a lot of questions that arise when I think about schizophrenia, a couple are; can labeling and stereotyping in fact worsen an already existing psychotic disorder? Do people avoid treatment because of the fear of being viewed as psychotic? These questions will provide the central argument for my paper. I plan to provide my personal reflection on the correlation between people who have schizophrenia, and the possible negative effects formated from labeling and stereotyping.

Recently, I watched a TED talk that was given by a women by the name of Eleanor Longden. Eleanor Longden started experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia (hearing a voice) in her second semester of college. At first this voice frightened her, but after awhile she adapted to hearing the voice and it became a normal part of her day. The voice she was experiencing at the time was not threatening, but more passive and even after a while, her friend. It wasn’t until she told her roommate about this voice that it became threatening situation . The roommate told her she needed to seek help, so Elenor agreed and did. The psychiatrist diagnosed Eleanor with schizophrenia and soon after admitted her to a hospital for treatment. At that point she felt embarrassed, psychotic, and low. She was influenced to think that it was very abnormal, and instead of being guided to think that it was an “experience” it was portrayed as a “symptom”. This symptom that Eleanor was now trying to overcome pushed her into a “psychic civil war within her own mind.” The voices then increased and formulated into becoming her worst nightmares and her friends all at the same time. Over the next couple years her fear, stress, and hopelessness increased, as well as the hostility of the voices and hallucinations. Several times she tried drilling a hole in her head to release the voices. Recovery did not come until she learned to identify the different voices, recognize what the different voices represented, why they were there, and then learned to cooperate and cope with them. She ended up overcoming her diagnosis and went on to become a psychiatrist her self and graduated in the top of her class. She stated, “the important question in psychiatry should not be what is wrong with you, but what has happen to you.” Eleanor’s story was strikingly interesting to me. It seemed as if as soon as she told her roommate and a psychologist about the voice she was experiencing the voice multiplied and increased in negativity. So the stereotype and label drove her to a psychotic state, not the voice itself. With the right treatment and support group from the beginning she could have achieved a much quicker recovery. In class we discussed how patients have to be diagnosed within 24 hours for insurance purposes, can this be more damaging to the patient? I think that yes, it can be more damaging. Once you are diagnosed you become labeled, and once labeled, you are subject to be stereotyped which could increase stress levels. It turned out that Eleanor was experiencing these voices in a