In October 2010, as part of the Time To Change campaign, I was asked to share some of my story in The Sun newspaper. As you may imagine, given the tabloid paper’s usual take on diagnoses such as schizophrenia, I was initially a little sceptical. The whole thing was quite surreal.
Whilst the result was a far cry from the way I would usually speak about my own experiences (I don’t believe schizophrenia is a helpful label for me, and stepping beyond it is central to my recovery) I do think that The Sun did something to counter the negative stereotypes many people still have about those of us who are diagnosed.
The truth is that people who become overwhelmed with voices and visions come from all walks of life. We can, and do, find ways of making sense of and living with these experiences. Best of all, we can reclaim our lives and follow whatever path it is that we choose. We are all unique human beings and we have the right to follow our own journey (whether we are a ‘charity worker’, ‘mum’ or ‘athlete’). The labels we are given by psychiatry should neither limit nor define us.