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I think one of the most amazing things about having a mental health condition is the things that go on in your mind. In my post, the Secret life of the Manic Depressive, I share some of my secrets as someone living with bipolar and I speak about my many notebooks, my mind works faster than human comprehension and that’s the only explanation as to why I don’t understand my notes with my humanness…we just have amazingly beautiful minds, that once in a while blow up but for the most time, they are incredibly beautiful and they inspire all sorts of writing and pictures from ourselves and those who try to understand us and our way of life.
One person who inspired a picture, among many other things, is John Nash who passed on yesterday and this news inspired today’s Schizophrenia Awareness Week post which will look at pictures (I fill very in 1960s saying pictures to mean movies/videos) on schizophrenia. Unfortunately schizophrenia and mental health conditions in general are portrayed in negative light in most movies and programs. Persons with mental health conditions are the ones who remove clothes, chase cars and are very violent. Here in Africa, our movies show that witchcraft and doing wrong to fellow humans catches up with us and we develop severe mental health conditions, with most characteristics being those of schizophrenia. Little do the producers, cast and promoters, know that such negative images and narratives lead to more stigma and discrimination and also affect how people who have just been diagnosed and their family take the diagnosis and the time it takes for them to accept it.
In this post, I will highlight pictures I feel have an educative and human angle to them. Unfortunately I didn’t get anything from the African continent that tries to show schizophrenia in a positive light. I might have not looked hard enough so if you know of any material out there that speaks of schizophrenia from a human and educative point of view, kindly share.
1. A beautiful mind
A biopic on John Nash who was a genius like many of us with mental health conditions (yes that is me directly saying that I am a GENIUS!!!). It follows through his life and how he discovers he has schizophrenia and what follows. I don’t want to do a spoiler alert so instead I will ask y’all to watch it if you have never done so and rewatch it in honor of him and our schizophrenia awareness week and share what you learn, like and do not like about it.
2. Call me Crazy
You all know by now how I am in love with this picture. I have done reviews and several screenings of this film and I am thinking of doing it again. If you have not watched, this one I will do a spoiler on…The film has different characters with different mental health conditions but there is one lady’s story which seems to dominate the entire film; Lucy who has schizophrenia and her journey in this film shows how treatment and support can lead persons with schizophrenia to actually help other people.
3. Born Schizophrenic
Someone mentioned this to me way back when it was on TLC…shout out to my twitter fam. I would have preferred, Born with Schizophrenia...It follows a very young girl; Jani, pre teen to be precise, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was like 6 years old…I know, we won’t even get into that right now…then her brother after her was also diagnosed with the same. If you didn’t catch it on TLC, you might have had or seen Jani and her brother on Oprah (if you were a die hard) or other news channels… it is a million times harder when kids have mental health conditions, for them, their folks, for their development…it is so hard.
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4. The Soloist
This was also someone else’s pick for me. I am generally more of a book over movie person and back in the day when I used to host poetry nights, one ‘fan’ came up and gave me this book which I really enjoyed reading…the dedication of the journalist in the book to go beyond the story he was writing and actually trying to get support for the dude living with schizophrenia and being patient and not giving up on him even when it looked impossible, I know we can get really annoyingly stubborn. I later got the movie where Jamie Foxx acts as the guy with schizophrenia but it just didn’t work for me. I tweeted about it in 2014
The Soloist by Steve Lopez (the book) was ok but the movie didn't work for me...Jamie Fox just didn't nail it #mhke— Sitawa Wafula (@SitawaWafula) June 3, 2014
5. Living with Schizophrenia; A Call for Hope and Recovery
I discovered this one over the weekend when I was doing research for Schizophrenia Awareness week and the lady; Ashley really blew my mind. Follow her on FB. So this is a documentary on different people living with schizophrenia giving real life accounts on how it was for them from life before the illness, how they got it and life with it. Watch it here
There is a long weekend around the corner, grab some of these pictures…ignorance is not an excuse Sweetlings.