V is for the trouble with saying someone is ‘Very unlikely’ – challenging stereotypes and representation

I often get told I am very unlikely and unusual. My previous clozapine nurse would call me ‘an anomaly’. A psychiatrist in one of my hospital stays said that 3 percent of people with schizophrenia have insight into their illness and I was one of that 3 per cent. I am an ex-prisoner who has not committed a crime since 1999. If you follow the stereotypes I suspect I am totally impossible.

But evidently I am NOT impossible because I exist. However I exist in a world full of stereotypes, assumptions and judgement. I think the assumption and stereotypes hold people back and reiterate negative views about people. We can be hamstrung by these assumptions and they influence how people treat us. And the assumptions around pretty much all the groups I belong to are largely negative. 

I have recently been taking some downtime and watching TV. I like TV. It is varied and engaging and a great distraction from mental health issues. However I have noticed a lot of unhelpful representations of groups I belong to on TV. Essentially and with few exceptions, people with schizophrenia in TV dramas and movies are always violent. In fact the term psychosis when used in TV and moves is used interchangeably as a term for violence, despite this not being the case at all. People with any kind of mental illness are portrayed as manipulative and untrustworthy. And don’t get me started on depictions of ex-prisoners! You can guarantee that if a character in a movie or TV drama has ben in prison that they will reoffend and probably kill people, even if they were not in prison for violence. It absolutely infuriates me. And then there are the depictions of autistic characters, which historically have ben very unhelpful. Thankfully this has changed in recent years with greater influence form autistic advocates. There are some autistic characters being played by autistic people which is great. Hannah Gadsby is challenging stereotypes and Chloe Hayden is doing good things on Heartbreak High. We need to avoid being complacent in this space though as things can change and there is no guarantee it will be onwards and upwards into the future.

In terms of me, the stereotypes are really harmful and not just if you are actually me. For people to focus on how I am apparently unusual actually makes it harder for others in similar situations to me. We are ALL unusual if the starting point is a stereotype. We need to see people as individuals not a list of stereotypical attributes and assumptions. So stop with the telling people they are an anomaly and just see people as who they actually are. 

Yennski on their soapbox 🙂

2 thoughts on “V is for the trouble with saying someone is ‘Very unlikely’ – challenging stereotypes and representation

  1. I particularly love this post.
    Thank you for sharing!

    The more I get to know about you, the more I marvel at your history and how much you have achieved to be so very proud of. You are a wonderfully strong, yet incredibly vulnerable human being. You inspire me.❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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