I do try to write a responsible blog. I apologize when I make an error. I do try to be sensitive with my language. Yesterday's post took me a lot of time. I considered almost every word. Many posts are published very little unchanged from the first draft. Yesterday's post, when finally published, looked markedly different from it's first incarnation. I considered, deeply, what I wanted to say.
When it was finally published the first comment was negative. Ouch. It asked if the word 'schizophrenic' was the one I wanted to use. Well, I thought, yes. I first heard the word 'schizophrenic' in relationship to 'living a lie' and the mental strain that came from the forced suppression of real lives and real feelings and presenting false lives and false faces to the world, it was used by a priest in a sermon. He, the priest, had done a lot of work with gay men with mental health issues. Since then, it made so much sense to me as a descriptor of a way of life that is ultimately harmful.
So, in writing the post I looked the word up and found two definitions, one about a diagnosis and the other about a situation: Schizophrenia: a situation or condition that results from the coexistence of disparate or antagonistic qualities, identities, or activities: the national schizophrenia that results from carrying out an unpopular war. The word seemed to mean what I wanted it to mean.
But I don't work much in Mental Health circles, so I did another search. I wanted to assure myself that there wasn't a campaign against the use of the word and I found no such campaign or really anything much written about the use of the word in literature or language. Then, I called a friend who works in Mental Health and read her the piece and asked for her advice. She felt the word was used both respectfully and correctly.
I used the word.
Because I took so much care in writing the piece and thought I had said something important, I was stung that the first feedback was about expression, not content. Further that the author of the comment did not identify themselves. Further still that the author did not comment on the content or context of the word. Finally that the author did not tell me what the issue was, why it was an issue or where I could find out more information.
For a while I thought about changing the wording. Then I thought that I'd write this post instead. I'd already written today's post but bumped it to tomorrow. I wanted to ask if the word was misused, OK, I'm ready to learn. Tell me how or why it was misused in the context. Let me learn.
Rolling Around in My Head is meant to be a discussion about disability and family and life. It tries to be, though my hands, careful when being provocative. I fail sometimes, but give me credit for trying. I am an old friend of apology but I will not apologize for apologies sake.
I always try to remember my responsibilities as a blog author, please remember your responsibilities as a comment maker. Go ahead and disagree, even tell me off, I'm really OK with that. But don't leave me scratching my head wondering what you meant. Tell me.