The first schizophrenic I'd ever known was the little brother of one of my best friends. Vance was 15 or 16 at the time and I never even knew he was sick until Vinnie told me one day. A couple of our other friends gave him shit for his illness and Vinnie--a rugby player--eventually kicked their asses for it.
As far as I could tell, Vance was a normal kid. He was into the Red Hot Chili Peppers, watched MTV, played games on the Playstation and fucked around with his friends. He had a lot of friends, like his brother. The girls liked him too. He always smiled and always greeted people warmly. Sometimes, his attention wandered, but that's true of a lot of 16-year-olds. Vance started hearing voices and seeing things that weren't there. He also became paranoid. He was diagnosed quickly, put on medication, and lead a normal successful life ever since. I remember Vance being resistant to taking his medication from time-to-time. It never altered his personality when he neglected to take it, though it did affect his reasoning and paranoia, which was never directed at a particular individual.
The second schizophrenic I ever met was a guy named Jack. He ended up sharing an apartment with my cousin, Justin, and I. The guy was usually a self-absorbed asshole. I always kind of attributed that to all the coke, meth, and vodka he did. I know from experience, addicts are the most self-absorbed people you'll meet. Jack always managed to get into fights when he went out to drink. He'd always come home beaten-up. He was also insanely homophobic. He was fired for accusing his boss of being gay. My cousin and I decided he was that way because of something that happened to him during his prison stint. He was arrested for breaking into his father-in-law's business and stealing about five grand to buy coke.
Sometimes Jack could be alright to be around. He'd give people shit and it would be genuinely funny and he would laugh when people gave him shit back. Usually, he just sat there and rambled on in a continuous stream of nonsense that nobody paid attention to.
The third schizophrenic was another one Justin befriended down south. He took me to meet the guy one day. Just basically broke into the dude's trailer and we waited there for him to show up. The trailer was a rat hole. Filled almost to the ceiling with newspapers, broken junk, dirty dishes and pill bottles. He also had electronics books scattered all over the place. When the dude eventually showed up, he showed no concern at all that we had broken into his trailer. My cousin introduced us, he smiled and shook my hand and we all sat around and smoked cigarettes and a joint. The schizophrenic dude--I can't remember his name--didn't say much. He just sat there and smiled the whole time. He made me nervous. Maybe it was the pot fucking with me. I convinced Justin to head out after an hour or so.
The final guy, Bill, was a friend of another cousin. He introduced me to him one night because Bill was wanting to sell his morphine pills. He was a veteran of the first Gulf War and had had his arm all mangled up. He was also schizophrenic. Other than the dangling lump of meat he had for an arm, Bill seemed pretty normal. He was fixing up an old dilapidated house out in the woods next to a creek. He was wiring it for electricity when I met him. Fuck, I couldn't wire a house if I had four working hands. He also had a mild interest in computers and the internet. He'd always ask me newbie questions while we were doing deals. He was a bit dry (you might say he had a "flat affect") but by no means was he unlikable. He took his psych meds, but didn't care for the morphine, which is why he was selling it to me.
So yeah, I've met a few schizos and they're as varied as anyone else. I think if you're an asshole, you're going to be an asshole whether you have schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder or whatever else. And if you're a basically good person, well, that doesn't change because you're sick either. I'm pretty sure if a 16-year-old kid--as 16-year-olds aren't exactly known for taking responsibility--can make it through life without constantly complaining how difficult his illness makes it, then pretty much anyone can at least make an effort.
Maybe that's the difference... effort, willpower, the desire to be a better person. Every human being has to work at it to some degree. Some of us just find it easier to make excuses, I guess.