Healthy Living

This Is What It's Really Like To Live With Schizophrenia

Someone's illness does not define them.

One of the common misconceptions about schizophrenia is that people who experience the disorder can't have productive, stable lives. But a new campaign is here to prove that couldn't be further from the truth.

Rethink Mental Illness produced this video for the U.K.'s Schizophrenia Awareness Week, an initiative that highlights the stigma many people with the condition face on a regular basis. Participants with schizophrenia were asked to choose face-paint designs that capture how society makes them feel about their shared illness. The representations are staggering, ranging from black makeup that depicts a "black hole" to white makeup that stands for feeling "invisible."

The participants go on to more fully describe their lives and how they see themselves: As a mother, as a teacher, as a significant other. From family responsibilities to professional successes, it's clear their illness alone doesn't define them.

The video does an excellent job of pointing out just how damaging negative stereotypes can be to someone who sufferers from the disorder. The reality is, no one chooses to suffer from a mental health issue. More than 21 million people worldwide experience schizophrenia, according to the World Health Organization, and the condition affects approximately 3.5 million people in the U.S.

Check out the Rethink Mental Illness video above to learn more about the disorder and how seeking treatment can make a world of difference.

It may make you think twice about what it's really like to live with schizophrenia.

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11 Quotes That Perfectly Sum Up The Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness