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Fuck You, Chump! Get it Straight!


Although it seems somewhat of a cliche to discuss severe mental disorders in a 'zine (or in this case, "e-zine"), I feel that I must address my annoyance with the general public's apparent misunderstanding of what schizophrenia is. The Random House College Dictionary defines schizophrenia as "a psychosis marked by withdrawn, bizarre, and sometimes delusional behavior and by intellectual and emotional deterioration." Note that this definition does NOT include any reference whatsoever to dual, split, or multiple personalities. The prefix schizo- does in fact mean "split," but in this context (when combined with the Greek -phrenia meaning "mind"), the "split mind" is one that is not "whole," as in "not all there." Not like "splitting logs" or "split infinitives," although perhaps like The Banana Splits (which certainly suggests the real definition of schizophrenia to anyone who viewed this popular 1970s television show).

The World Book Encyclopedia, in its article on schizophrenia (which immediately precedes an article on Phyllis Schlafly), flat out explains that "the term [schizophrenia] does not mean that a person has more than one personality." It's right there in black-and-white where anyone with access to a set of encyclopedias can see it.

Once again: "The term does not mean that a person has more than one personality." (emphasis added)

Whether or not he or she remembers it, anyone who has taken an introductory psychology course in college has been taught that schizophrenia is not the same thing as having multiple personalities. (At any rate this is what the student should have been taught!)

Yet despite the fact that the correct information concerning schizophrenia is readily available to most people, the incorrect association of this psychosis with disorders involving multiple personalities seems to be very widespread. For example: following his departure from the 1970s rock group Mott the Hoople, singer Ian Hunter released an album titled You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic. Apparently, this refers to the old joke about never being alone with a schizophrenic because he or she (the schizophrenic) has enough personalities to go around to keep things from getting boring (the expression doesn't make much sense anyway, since if someone is with another person, schizophrenic or not, then that someone is obviously not alone). In 1982, the supergroup Styx released the hit album Kilroy Was Here, which, in a song called "Double Life," contains the line "I'm schizophrenic and so am I," which has been echoed on many (non-Styx related) buttons and bumper stickers.

I'm willing to allow the fact that a severely delusional person might hallucinate that he or she is more than one person, but I don't think that this is typically indicative of schizophrenia. Hopefully, if more people realize that schizophrenia has very little (if anything) to do with multiple personalities, then these lame jokes about "I'm schizophrenic and so am I" will cease, and it will not be considered out of line for those in the know to stride up to such bad jokesters and say "FUCK YOU, CHUMP! GET IT STRAIGHT!"