1) went back to university and got my Bachelor's followed by my Master's degree
2) have not been hospitalized since 2008!
3) got a paper published, will give talk in my field coming up! I have felt like maybe it was just my university going easy on me, that my work wasn't that good, but this is the conference at a good university in California, so that really boosted my confidence!
I still remember when pdoc told me to quit at the community college level, quit my pizza job, and just go on disability. I lost hope for a while, and it was a painful slow crawl up the mountain of achievement, but once I found the right med and stayed on it, my life got a whole lot more successful! even though I'm underemployed, broke, in debt, and living off my family at the moment, I still feel lucky and like I've achieved stuff.
The not being 5150'd thing is a big deal, too. I had traumatic experiences inside, so it would be truly horrifying to go back in, and the fact that I have been out for so long gives me hope that i'll never have to go back to being on a locked ward or physically put into restraints again. There's nothing like choosing what to I want to eat on a daily basis and going for long walks on the outside! Inside the wards, you can't do either of those.