Writing away the stigma of schizophrenia

Does this word conjure thoughts of mentally unstable, violent individuals with split personalities?

Writing away the stigma of schizophrenia

Kenneth Wells compose an opera about her life, sees it as a story of hope and triumph. On the face of it, the nightmarish struggles of a young woman diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia may seem to be unlikely material for musical theater, let alone an opera.

Kenneth Wells and Elyn Saks watch a dress rehearsal of Wells' opera about her struggles with schizophrenia. She served as co-librettist.

Based on her memoir of the same name, the opera follows Saks during a pivotal time at Yale as she ultimately faces her demons and resolves to live her life as fully as she can, whatever it takes.

Wells' musicianship, like his medical training, has deep roots. His father worked as an electrician for major TV and radio studios.

writing away the stigma of schizophrenia

He vividly remembers holiday gatherings where the entire brood would gleefully engage in part harmony. Playing an old, giant organ, the young Wells composed little melodies he'd give to schoolmates as gifts.

A high school friend sparked his interest in opera, but Wells found many of the themes troubling. Why couldn't someone tell a powerful, compelling and entertaining story that lifts us up and gives us hope? So I guess I'm getting better.


Saks is his co-librettist. They've been friends ever since Saks took a class taught by Wells' wife, psychiatrist M. Wells admired Saks' courage in going public about her condition. Saks admired Wells' talent and sheer capacity. I don't know how he does it! Climbing onto the Yale library rooftop at midnight and singing at the top of her lungs.

Asking a professor for permission to trash his office. Spending month after month in hospitals, immobilized by restraints. But I realized that hiding behind a false name would send the wrong message and perpetuate the stigma of schizophrenia, which was the last thing I wanted to do.

I wanted to open a window into the mind, to bring understanding to people who don't have schizophrenia and hope to those who do. And I realize that going through all this again with the opera will reignite some feelings. But Ken did a great job, and I know it's going to be okay.

Saks says all three exist inside her at once. Both she and Wells see the opera ultimately as a story of hope and triumph. What she's done in her life is remarkable.

She's able to explain what's still a mystery to so many people. I'm overwhelmed by her courage and spirit, and I hope a glimmer of that spirit comes through.How Writing About Schizophrenia Led to Hope and Recovery After a schizophrenia diagnosis, James Hickman felt like an outsider.

But volunteer work helped him find his life's passion again.

The basic but powerful tools for self-expression used in the Writing Away the Stigma program. Photo courtesy of Creative Nonfiction. Creative Nonfiction helps teens by Writing Away the Stigma. Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder that distorts the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality, and relates to others. People with schizophrenia-- the most chronic. Stigma makes it difficult. People with schizophrenia often become social isolated. Social reintegration into the community is key in recovery, but stigma makes it difficult.

The myth of schizophrenia and violence, that people with schizophrenia are inherently violent, persists. Unfortunately, the news media and the entertainment industry must take considerable responsibility in the stigma schizophrenia patients .

A Journey With You | surviving schizophrenia

The most stigmatized among all diseases are mental illness such as schizophrenia, both for the children themselves and for their families. The present study aims in the recording of the problems. Yet the stigma of mental illness remains, leading many to face their difficulties in shame and silence.

In this collection, ten writers confront the stigma of mental illness head-on, bravely telling stories of devastating depressions, persistent traumas, overwhelming compulsions, and more. E-book version available now through Amazon. Member Stories – Larry A My involvement with SA began in the ’s, when I was contacted by the Mental Health Association in Franklin County, Ohio.

I had been a group leader for Recovery, Inc. for 15 years and was well known for my public speaking and leadership skills. Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder that distorts the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality, and relates to others.

People with schizophrenia-- the most chronic.

Schizophrenia: shattering the stigma