I suppose it depends on how well a person is able to cope with their illness. During my 2nd psychotic episode, I was totally and absolutely unable to work.
During the first episode, I thought the voices were my neighbors harassing me. I actually did have genuine issues with my neighbors (party-hardy fratboy mentality-type), so I thought that whole period was a continuation of their harassment. Sound traveled really well outside my apartment (even with my windows closed), since it was on the end of the building. I thought those neighbors were either standing outside my building or talking to me from the building beside mine. I thought they could read my words as they were being typed on my PC via remote access, and I thought there were video cameras in my apartment catching each word I wrote on paper. In my delusional state, I actually thought that was how we were communicating. They would say something nice or apologetic in order to draw me in then pounce on me with the most hateful things you could imagine. It was like they were divided into two groups -- good cop, bad cop, etc.
After a couple days of this nonsense, the "neighbors" all seemed like bad cops, so... I called the *actual* cops on my neighbors for videotaping me. It was not my finest moment, but you have to realize, I was DELUSIONAL. At any rate, the cops saw *no* neighbors hanging around outside, and said if there were video cameras around, there would be a wire outside my building. I had a feeling they just said that to calm me, so I let it slide. I mean... People use *wireless* cameras nowadays... *shrug*
Anyway.... After the cops left, the "neighbors" started in on me again. By that point, I was looking for hidden cameras all over my apartment, trying to figure out how in the world they could see what I'm doing and what I'm writing. I called the cops, and again, the cops couldn't find anything. So... At that point... I was like, OK... I've been up for 3 days straight... Just take me... Take me in. The cops were like, "What are you talking about???" Since they weren't getting it, I had to say point blank, "I'm obviously losing it. Please take me to the hospital."
The cops were kind enough to take me to the nearest hospital, which houses its own mental facility. They took my blood, then set me up in my own room. The nurse told me I'm hearing real voices, gave me a sleeping pill and earplugs, and told me to get a good night's rest. I had been without sleep for three days straight, so I assume they just chalked it up to sleep deprivation. I felt very safe and slept better than I had in a long time. The *very next day*, they gave me a prescription for sleeping pills and sent me on my merry way. I have to admit, I heard no more voices for about two months after that.
I actually did go back to work after the first psychotic episode. I suppose in self-preservation, I somehow managed to block that entire episode out. Unfortunately, it all came gushing back to me during the 2nd episode, after I came across the "neighbor" documents. I imagine repression of the first episode contributed to episode 2 being more extreme and much more difficult to overcome.
During the 2nd psychotic episode, The voices hit me full force, coming at me loudly from all directions. If they were real people, I could tell you exactly where each one was standing. They declared me a "victim of clairvoyant harassment" and proceeded to viciously attack me 24/7. (To this day, their nickname for me is still "Victim".) Unfortunately, I actually believed they were clairvoyants, because at the time, I knew nothing whatsoever about schizophrenia, and no one I knew was diagnosed with the illness.
I didn't report for work, because I signed a confidentiality agreement with my employer. I was afraid the clairvoyants would have access to confidential information and use it for their own personal gain. I didn't want to enable the crime, etc. Also, I was afraid the clairvoyants would harass people I cared about, so I really limited my contact with the outside world in general.
So, after my looooooooooong story... In answer to your question... If the schizophrenia is as severe as my 2nd psychotic episode was, I really don't see how a person would have the capability of concentrating on anything whatsoever. I was unemployed until I was able to regain my concentration on other things outside the voices. I've been employed at this same job since January 2008. I am currently a customer service representative. Most people with my skills would probably think I am wasting away at this job, but I guess I'm too terrified of taking on too much and becoming over-stressed -- which is baaaaaaaaaad for a schizophrenic. This job is so easy, I could do it in my sleep. It doesn't pay a whole lot, but it pays my bills. The good news is, I've been living completely on my own again since October 2008. I seriously doubt I'd be able to accomplish all of this on public assistance funding.
I am currently not taking any schizophrenic medication, as I'm afraid the side effects would be worse than the illness itself.
The only period I was given any sort of psychotic medication was during the 2nd episode. It helped tremendously at the time, putting me in the right frame of mind to begin absorbing real information about my illness and realizing the voices for what they actually are -- a fabrication of my own mind and nothing to be terrified of. I think that's what helped me the most -- being fully informed of my illness and feeling safe. Unfortunately, that mental facility tossed me out into the streets 3 days into my treatment. At that point, I was unemployed couldn't afford any more medication.
I think I do OK without medication now. The voices are pretty much like a television playing in the background 24/7. I can tune in and listen to them whenever I feel like it, but they fade into the background when I need to concentrate on other things. Now that I know what they are all about, they no longer have the power to terrify me. The voices are very real to me, but they aren't coming from an outside source with the potential to physically harm me, etc. I tested it once... I looked into my mirror and stuck my tongue out at them. Nothing happened.
Actually...... The voices can be pretty entertaining when I'm bored. Sometimes I listen to them and make fun of what they're saying. I've also found I can manipulate them into saying what I want. It really makes them mad when I make them say cutesy things or have them sing a really mushy love song -- in harmony. Tee hee. I guess it's my own form of revenge. The good news is, I don't have to speak to them out loud -- "it's all in my head", etc. People don't even realize I'm schizophrenic, unless I tell them.
If my illness becomes unbearable, I wouldn't rule out medication. It certainly helped me get through that horrifying experience. For now, though, I try to get at least 8 hours sleep -- any less and I'm Miss Grouchybutt. I don't put anything into my body that is mind-altering -- do not feed the voices, etc. I don't partake in recreational drugs -- never wanted to. I rarely drank alcohol before, but I don't drink any at all now. I do have the occasional caffeinated drink, but I notice a difference in my mood, if I ingest too much caffeine (not to mention, it pretty much counteracts the much-needed 8 hours sleep). I try to drink enough water and take a daily multi-vitamin for women as well as fish oil supplements. I read a lot (mostly fiction), which helps exercise my brain.
thank you for your reply, its really comforting, my boyfriend is schizophrenic and bipolar as well as other conditions and he manages without meds, i worry about the future all the time but readin how u cope as he says he copes really helps me thank you
Before I was born, my mother always held a job. My mom even had her own restaurant before she lost it in a very bitter divorce. The last job she had that helped her get social security was a department store where she worked as a cashier.
When I got a little bit older (13) my mom tried to go out and work as a cleaning person for a law office, but decided to quit after the second week when I almost burnt down the house trying to make cocowheats...
I am mentally unstable - prone to drastic shifts of view point, depression, tears, suicidal thoughts. I also used to suffer from confusion and lack of organization when trying to do something. I was always good at school but could not focus on very simple things in the moment. I got a job through a temp agency a year and a half ago, and went from being not very good at it, to average, to very fast and and great at it - I have been permanent there for almost a year now. Since the job has helped me organize my thoughts, I find myself able to perform other activities quickly and without so much hesitation.
At the same time, I don't particularly like the job - I would have preferred something artistic, or that involved writing, both of which I studied in school - or even something agricultural, on a commune. I feel functional, which is good, but not necessarily happy. I'm not on medicines. No health insurance, and I do not see a doctor. The diagnosis is left over from my teenage years. I wish I could see a doctor or talk to someone about it sometimes. I do not officially have a mental illness...and yet I know I do. Social isolation, uncertainty about relationships, a feeling of difference.
thanks for this thread, I am also highly qualified and out of work at present due to stress in a previous career, I am trying to figure out the envirn and job that would allow me to earn just enough to sustain my life as I am sure the higher the pay the more stress, and I cant deal with too much stress over a very prolonged period
what a thread here i want to take the time to say my wife is schizophrenic, we tried the multivitamin or mega vitamin program of doctor hoffer which he recommends supplement it with medications but she was not taking medications at this time what happened was she had energy but notthing to stop her voices... I have learned from here that the multivitamen and the way crhistina one of the girls here suffering of schizophrenia actually cope with the voices. I remember I saw a video from a woman that has a Doctorate degree and she gives open chat and workshops maybe do to no getting a job to either background or stress, She is out of medication and she say she learned how to cope with the voices.. Christina and the guys using Doctor Hoffer and all other looking for alternative you GUYS ROCKS!!!! e-mail please i would like to hear more about it.
I wish my wife could understand this, 4:00 4:41 almost 4:42 along with a good diet, making fun of your voices and not being afraid, discovering what is causing this voices to come up, "it might be an episode in your life, someone who terrified you, you got raped, or some really strong event marked you and now it is manifesting as a schizophrenia" So christina you are going in t he right path.... I am 100% sure Yes my heart and soul say yes that is the cause... BUT BUT the problem comes with each different person admitting what is the cause and attacking and even be willing to eliminated and not have it saved in your mind, That will make you free.... Yesssssssssssssssssssssss I love you guys so much and I know applying this things and with a little bit of time you guys will overcome that. Because my wife most of the time she was afraid and defending herself which make me thing she is not willing to tolerate more damage to herself. But why is she thinking not more damage to herself? is because her Subconscious mind is protecting itself without her realizing that and it is the same for all of you... Get aware I love you and I will let go every thing in me and be free and create a space for the person I always want to be...... Guys you rock... I know guys this can be possible.
I know I can work. It's just that I've been in college instead of job hunting all this time. I also never learned to drive. Well recently I withdrew, I'm looking for a short cut or some support program. I have schizoaffective but I don't relapse on the medication. It's never stopped working. I was going to try rehab services and working at goodwill, but I can't drive so it wouldn't have worked out. I need to find an at home job like programming or something.
Schizoaffective Disorder, symptoms initially at age 14
I first came down with schizoaffective disorder symptoms 20 years ago. I completed my MSCS May 2012 and I turned 34 in August. The employment discrimination I suffer is pretty intense. I need an accommodation to work, but it's very embarrassing to disclose my disability. We have certainly earned our stigma. I myself have contributed to the stigma of being mentally ill. Even if you find a miracle medication (like Invega for me), you'll never be given the opportunities that everybody else takes for granted. I'm also a type 1 diabetic, as I suffered tremendously stressful abuse for the first 25 years of my life. My disabilities have erased 10 years from my career (meaning I'm perhaps 10 years behind others in the career I was educated for). So, if I show up to a job interview, I'm also subject to discrimination due to age, unemployment, and employment history.
The good news is that because I'm such a survivor, I have life skills that other people don't have any reason to earn. I've decided to found a software game company. By taking this approach, at least I don't have to ask anybody for the opportunity to earn a living. One hard life lesson I learned is that it's too much for me to ask for.
More good news is that despite my disabilities, I'm healthy. I'm highly intelligent and quite capable. I also have wealthy parents who are very supportive of me (despite their failures to raise a challenging kid in the past). And because my symptoms are relatively under control, I am able to enjoy a surprisingly well-rounded lifestyle. I have no responsibilities, and no expensive habits. Overall I'm well off, and I wouldn't trade places with anybody.
You probably want to forget about ever living a real life. We schizos are the baddest of the bunch. Forget the spouse, the 2.5 kids, the dog, two cars, 2 story house and a white picket fence. Forget about the salaried position, even if you can perform the work required. The ADA doesn't work anywhere except in school, and even then, when they give affirmative action admissions priorities to underrepresented races and ethnicities, they'll gladly invent a reason why they won't admit a known psychotic.
Maybe one day you too will conclude that life is so unfair that it doesn't really matter. Despite my ambitions, I could piss away the rest of my life and be perfectly content on my death bed. I don't care if I succeed or fail in my video game business. Like I implied, my entire life doesn't matter because I'm paranoid schizophrenic. I owe society nothing. I'm really just pursuing a more comfortable lifestyle. These benefits are barely enough to get me by.