Schizophrenia is a complicated syndrome of illnesses and symptoms that is hard to understand. Medical professionals themselves are still trying to figure out what it is, what causes it and how to treat it.
My main symptom is hearing voices. In the back of my mind, especially when I am alone, there is often a chattering of voices– those of people I know. These voices are not threatening, and are generally easy to ignore when I am in the company of others.
For me, crazy means the voices. It does not mean a lack of cognitive function. I am quite capable of deductive reasoning, problem solving and various other types of thought. Not only am I capable of them, but I apply them often– sometimes helping to resolve issues that sane people have.
The point is that schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses, don’t necessarily mean that a person can’t be reasonable, responsible or constructive. Sane people should be aware that mentally ill people can often be quite helpful and even genuinely inspired. Patients should realize that they themselves can still contribute to society, perhaps even mentally or intellectually, and not to let their “disability” hamper their own efforts to understand the world and their lives, make sense of things, and help.
After all, today’s world needs all the help it can get.