What the Film is About

A Unique View of Schizophrenia

"People Say I'm Crazy is a documentary that every person and every family in America should see."

- Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Executive Director
  National Alliance on Mental Illness  (NAMI)

People Say I'm Crazy is the only film about schizophrenia ever made by someone with schizophrenia. Mental illness is viewed from the inside out as the audience becomes witness to a first-hand account of the symptoms of schizophrenia and the disease's effect on one man and his family.  

People Say I'm Crazy has been hailed as a unique, powerful, and ultimately optimistic statement on coping with schizophrenia, challenging stereotypes and humanizing an often misunderstood illness. 

The Story

This film tells the story of a young man, John Cadigan, who develops schizophrenia at age 21 while studying art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   

Initially devastated by his diagnosis, John eventually finds appropriate treatment and works his way into recovery, with the help of family and friends.  The spotlight is also turned on John's family as they struggle to understand John's disease.  With courage and love, the family learns how to support John in his efforts to resume living an independent and fulfilling life. 

By the film's conclusion, John rejoins his family and community, fulfills his dream of launching his career as an artist, and--an important accomplishment for those who suffer from schizophrenia--moves into his own apartment to begin living an independent life. 

The Filmmaker:  John Cadigan 

John made the film with the help of his sister, filmmaker Katie Cadigan, and Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, Ira Wohl.  Read more about who helped make this film »

John filmed his life for over 10 years—from when he had his first psychotic episode at age 21 until he was well into recovery a decade later.

Throughout the process, he managed to record his story despite the cognitive and emotional difficulties created by his disease.

Making this film was my idea.

At the beginning, when I had my psychotic break in college, I did not know what was happening with me. I thought that by filming I could explore my illness and try to understand what was going on.

I filmed everything—from being catatonic to when I had ECT (electro-convulsive, or electroshock therapy).

Later on I kept filming because I was so angry about how much misinformation there is about brain diseases like mine.  I wanted the world to know what it's like to live with labels such as "psychotic," "schizophrenic" and "severely disabled."

I wanted to let the world know what it is really like to live with schizophrenia.

- John Cadigan