Why Schizophrenia Doesn’t Have One ‘Look’
All of my life I’ve been told that I “don’t look Mexican.” There’s no one look to be Mexican. Mexico is predominantly made up by Spanish, indigenous, other European and mixed people.
I identify as Mexican. My dad is from Jalisco, Mexico (he’s of Spanish and indigenous descent). My native language is Spanish, and I speak it fluently.
Ignorance is what causes people to hold onto stereotypes. Much like I “don’t look Mexican,” I’ve also heard that I “don’t look schizophrenic.” Again, there’s no one look; we have to see beyond the stereotypes.
A common stereotype would paint me as disheveled and violent; however, this is just not the case. Many of us living with schizophrenia are managing it. Also, we are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than to perpetrate it.
This is me functioning at my best. This is me taking my anti-psychotic and antidepressant medications daily, exercising regularly, sleeping well and managing stress. This is me engaging in my hobbies daily, not doing drugs, and very very rarely drinking (because it has adverse effects with my medications). This is also me going to cognitive behavioral therapy every week.
Even with doing all of that, I continue to live with symptoms. I live with delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations. I also deal with lack of motivation and cognitive issues, too.
Mental illness doesn’t have one “look.” We’re all different. We’re all coping and functioning differently.