My first two years of schizophrenia were spent fighting to stay sane. I remember in 1980 being in a group home and sitting for months in the backyard by myself in an old dirty chair just fighting, fighting, fighting. But I was out in public a lot walking downtown or catching the bus to my parents house or going places.
After three years I got a job and I have been working fairly steadily ever since. My first 15 years of paranoid schizophrenia I did not exhibit many symptoms. The symptoms were all there in force but no one could tell.
I’m 56 now and I realized a few years ago that what I was doing in my first two years of illness was practicing and teaching myself how to control my mind and my symptoms. Self-control, basically and it paid off for many, many years.