Illustration © Riki Blanco

I do not want you to misunderstand what I am going to say in this article. I think the family is, in many cases, the only support we have people with mental health problems. And without them the life would be much harder.

That does not mean that coexistence with them is always easy. I, who have a schizoaffective disorder, I am well aware of the main reasons that have produced my problems. They say that a genetic predisposition is needed (but no gene related to schizophrenia has yet been found) and environmental factors. And I think that an important part of these environmental factors is the family. They can be the parents or it can be the couple. Are these people partly responsible for my problems?

I do not want to throw balls out either. It’s obvious that you can not hang on to your teenage problems. You have to take what you have and go ahead. But regardless of the age, the relationship with the family is very important.

Sometimes you can not be with them and you can not be without them.

Stigma plays a very important role: the family is not outside Western culture. Sometimes they consider you weak, vague, even despicable.

In addition, you have to take into account the particularities of each family. The other day a cousin told me: “You are taboo in the family, anyone talks about you, much less about your disorder.” He says, “You are all taboo.” My mother says I have depressions, even though I have not been depressed for many years. But a depression is much better than schizophrenia. The closest family has taken a little more awareness of the problems. But I have a family for Spain that does not speak for me. Am I a shame to the family? My situation is a hidden thing. In my family there are more things, not just me, of which there is no talk. I believe that not all the families are like this, but that this secrecy is our thing. It is not pleasant to be a person who is taboo. Maybe some would like to get me into a psychiatric and throw the key.

More people than they seem to think this way in society. Not everything is about understanding against stigma and your problems. There are people that we bother. Hitler killed all the mentally ill people in Germany who could. Without reaching these extremes, there are people who do not want us around.

This fight against stigma is more complicated than it seems.

Fèlix Rozey