I Am Not A Monster: Schizophrenia | Cecilia McGough | TEDxPSU


Cecilia McGough stands up to schizophrenia and helps empower college students through the next non-profit Students with schizophrenia.
Students with schizophrenia:
I'm not a monster: SCHIZOPHRENIA:

Cecilia McGough is an astronomer, activist and writer as a student at Penn State Schreyer Honors College specializing in Astronomy and Astrophysics. Cecilia is the founder and current president of Penn State Pulsar Search Collaboratory. She has been participating in the research of continuously pulsing since December 2009, co-discovering the pulsar J1930-1852 with the widest orbit ever seen around another neutron star, competing in the International Space Olympics held in Russia and co-author of her Research in Daily Astrophysics. Cecilia is a mental health activist in the fight against the negative stigma towards mental illness. She is the founder and executive director (CEO) of the early launch of the nonprofit organization Students With Schizophrenia, which is the only non-profit organization in the United States focused on empowering college students with schizophrenia.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format, but organized independently by a local community. Get more information at

Video credits to TEDx Talks YouTube channel





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    I Am Not A Monster: Schizophrenia | Cecilia McGough | TEDxPSU

    Comments 31

    1. she's so adept at managing her condition. I love her look. Her style is gorgeous. Kudos to you Cecilia.

    2. What a shame that there's complete no chance of some improvements in the "mental diseases" situation in Russia…

    3. I saw a shadow of a piece of paper in the dark of my room once and almost pissed myself. Must be terrifying to actually hallucinate full blown conversations with monsters

    4. My brother and me, we saw since childrens ghosts and UFO's… but now for me is less frequent and my brother is more frequent… even he looks other things more strange… I believe in ghosts and UFO's, I am sure the ghosts and UFO's I saw were real, but maybe my brother now has schizophrenia… maybe was the detonant.

      I am tell to him constantly about he needs a doctor, but he don't hear me… the good thing is he is a drawing (dibujante) and it is a good inspiration, but sometimes he is very scary… he looks eyes on the wall, faces on the screen of the computer laughing (riéndose) of him.

      My poor brother… but he has a normal life…

      But anyway doctors here are not so good like United States, and here doctors could broke my brother's mind. And he can live with that very well, so what's the problem? and maybe it is not schizophrenia… maybe he can look things than others can't and this things exists.

      I don't know… I gonna show him this video…

    5. What if person hasent seen even one scary movie, scary face, what would this person see? Just came to my mind when she Said she saw IT clown and grudge

    6. Thank you for your bravery and sharing your story. I wish I knew more when one of my best friends was discovering the depths of her problems. I supported her the best I knew how. Eventually she was successful in committing suicide. I never blamed her. I have always questioned was I the friend she needed. I try to understand more. Listen more and learn more. Thank you for helping me learn more and understand more.

    7. is suicide is the best cure in this case!!! oh..btw, why I need do it myself while Hallucinations are doing this day by day :).

    8. As a sister of a guy with schizophrenia, I'm so gratefull for what you do. He just has negative symptomps, which it means that he can't go out or have friends or get a job. I'm so worried for his future. For our future.
      I'm a med student and really want to become a psychiatry.. well I don't even know how to say it.
      I hope to make difference one day.
      Saluti from Italy

    9. Mental health professionals need to educate themselves thru watching this thank you Cecilia, we commend you for your original bravery to speak out & help others. Our current culture, is in the stone age on mental illness, all because of social stigma. it's imperative we drop the stigma get them the help they deserve instead of criminalizing them. The USA needs to stop funding with huge funds the already richly funded prison system. In 2010 California spent over 10 billion dollars putting the mentally ill in prison, this might put our criminal justice system in the unemployment line, but oh well. During our lifetime we need to expose this to society !Isn't it time the cat is out of the bag, stop allowing the courts, lawyers , judges to take advantage of the weak like people going thru a divorce, or the mentally ill? New laws need to be implemented & passed to advocate for the mentally ill getting help at the first on set of symptoms? All family law matters concerning little kids and couples get wrapped up in one year, instead allowing trails to drag on for years ??

    10. Food for thought: maybe mental illnesses like schizophrenia are the conjoined result of different evolutional processes undertaken by humans so they could adapt to western society real quick.

    11. I feel like I could have easily gone down that route in my teens ., though I somehow took control over the hallucinations–auditory and visual, eventually realizing I could control what they look and sound like if I really concentrated …I'm fortunate in that regard, as it could have gone the other way.

      It was definitely scary before I had that epiphone and took control .. Perhaps it helped that I'm a creative (musician/artist) and perhaps have fairly strong left / right brain connections. I think part of the key was learning to not let it scare me and always telling myself that I was in control…and then guiding my visual or auditory journeys at will – occasionally willing myself to have them when I wasn't, using it as a source for my art or entertainment …

      As years of adulthood passed, I somehow lost the the hallucinations altogether … I guess the more I got to know myself and the older I got, the more self assured and at peace I became, and that part of my brain kinda withered away.

      I honestly believe that if I had taken the multiple strong psychiatric medications that I was prescribed as a teen, I would have never been able to have my epiphone and the disorder would have become chronic and permanent. Perhaps I would have felt less pain over the years, but the meds would have dulled my senses and stunted my potential. Not suggesting others shouldn't take their meds — everyone is different, but meds aren't for everyone.

    12. I would be screaming all the time!!! How were you not catatonic…you are wonder woman so stay strong 💗💗💗

    13. Cecilia, your mother makes me angry!
      Instead of fearing the consequences of a paper trail, she could have accompanied you to a doctor and talked to him/her about her worries (concerning you and your job – yes, maybe but your sisters' future?! Come on…).

    14. Wow. Amazing. I work with adults who have developmental disabilities and one client in particular has schizophrenia. Sometimes he has really bad episodes, and I will try to distract him from the voices or tell him that "hes okay". He will start talking to other people who aren't there. It was really scary at first, but once I got to know him… that's not all that he is. Hes funny, smart, and a really nice person. He loves laughing and making jokes. My job has taught me so much about how important it is to look beyond these illnesses. I try my very hardest to give them the quality of life they deserve. Most of their families dont want them. I absolutely love my job and I wouldn't trade it. It's beautiful. I appreciate every aspect of my life so much more because of it.

    15. Thats like living in a nightmare. I cant even imagine. I have OCD and cronic depression. Still u know ur own struggles only. My life would scare many of u, yet i live. Her life scares me yet she lives. Know how blessed u are "healthy ones".

    16. The father of my son suffers from major depression bipolar episodes PTSD and (recently diagnosed with) schystrafrantina currently hes serving time &7 weeks to go n hes out … its hard to tell what he will decide that moment i pick up the phone what he decides is facts in his mind … advise?

    17. My brother had hallucinations too but the difference was he believed it was real. He told me thinks that never happened but were so real to him. Like he said he did teleport or other stuff

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