There is a common assumption amongst most people, that if you have a psychiatric diagnosis, then not only must you be completely mad, like the tabloid, ignorant, or black and white images they have of people with mental health problems, but you must also be mentally deficient, or have an absence of mental faculties. Usually, the opposite is the case, in that we have a higher social awareness, or an extra mental function, added onto what is the usual mediocre way of thinking and perceiving things, without much depth or analysis at all. The fact that we are often discriminated or misunderstood for this special or higher social awareness, is what can cause or add to our frustration and mental distress.
In one of his less socially credible books, The politics of experience, R. D. Laing spoke about so-called schizophrenia, as being a special or higher function of awareness or understanding, which in his time at least, he thought couldn't be fully understood or explained, until one day it would be proved to be true, and then, as he put it, "the joke would be on the psychiatric profession, and not on the diagnosed patients". But our higher social awareness can be understood now, as it could always have been, and in a wider rational, social, and objective context, it has such unrealised huge potential and possibilities, for the progress of humanity and society. My own higher social awareness and understanding, is part of a much wider objective process of: 1. subjective semiotics, 2. rational schizoanalysis, and 3. objective political, social, and cultural awareness and critique.
Part of this higher social awareness, on the level of other people's social communication, is that I am very much aware of the shifting contexts of social conversation and communication, both visual, emotional, and verbal, and the fact that whilst most of the verbal content of the shared social conversation of other people is rational, the overlapping and shifting contexts of it, are by no means rational or logical, and in fact tend to follow a very specific pattern of contexts repeating or overlapping, whilst verbal meanings exchanged, naturally change, progress, or digress. This means that there is often an incongruent or slightly off-course nature to most verbal and other social communication between people, which is also completely both unrealised and misunderstood.
The basic rational content of communication, is of course very important, and I'm not undervaluing or ignoring the social or linguistic importance of this at all; nor am I intending to separate these content-meanings, from the contexts and functions I've described, which would be getting into the realms of something similar to avant-garde art, but this more functional and dialectical aspect of social communication, which is also based-upon the rational meanings that are exchanged, is an extra mental and social faculty that we have, and which is hardly ever realised, acknowledged, or understood by other people, or by the mental health or psychiatric profession.
I believe and know that as diagnosed psychiatric people, for whatever social, mental learning, brain structure, or genetically unique/different reasons, most of us have a higher or special awareness of this, which we don't often talk about, or even acknowledge ourselves, because, like the skills or extra abilities of other marginalised or oppressed groups in society, such as children, blacks, or women, it isn't actually acknowledged as an extra social skill, or an extra or added ability, and therefore it is completely unrecognised, misunderstood, or completely devalued for what it really is.
People diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychiatric diagnoses, have perhaps somehow internalised these shifting contextual meanings of shared verbal, emotional, and physical social communication, perhaps from their families, peers, or wider society, and by some means of abuse, deprivation, separation, or denial, have become separated or cut-off from the wider or real social context of it. In this light, part of their or our healing or recovery, might be an acknowledgement, integration, progress, and realisation of this, by ourselves and others.
A great deal of radical or modern mental health thinking, and community psychiatric methods, more appropriately focuses on active strategies and empowerment, of diagnosed-people's ability to take control of situations, which the lack of these social skills, is accurately seen to be at the root of most or all vulnerability, exploitation of, and mental distress. This is an accurate and appropriate social shift in some therapy and community psychiatric thinking, which as a starter I welcome, but it can also be rooted in some very basic and ignorant dogma, which can lead to very deliberate or thoughtless ignorance, prejudice, and discrimination.
To not learn about, or to ignore or deny us our higher social awareness, whether it is in our full power, knowledge, and control, fully socially integrated, or not, is like some of the ignorant, derogatory, and discriminatory attitudes towards the higher mental and emotional social awareness, of other groups in society, such as children, or women, which in the outcome or end-result, logically and politically leads to more inequalities, disadvantages, and continued ignorance, of what we have to offer, what we're about, and who we really are as psychiatric diagnosed-people, service users, or survivors of psychiatry.