Anyone got a good story of recovery from in terrible condition to functioning well?

I posted yesterday about my cognitive condition and how I have no goals. Some people responded and reminded me that having goals is important to recovery. Then this morning I spoke with someone on crisis line about my concerns and she put things in a way that made me motivated to start making myself go on hour-long walks every day from now on. Hopefully I’ll improve my cardiovascular condition and lose weight. It’s just a small start, but I just got back from one of these walks and I feel great. So now I’m in the mood for more inspirational stuff and I’d like to know what a more major recovery outcome would entail. Does anyone here have a personal account of going from being unable to make yourself anything to being productive and functional on a regular basis?


Yes! And besides meds and talk therapy, I did it by setting incremental goals!

I was basically incapacitated by negative symptoms and cognitive difficulties for maybe 5 years. I would sit inside all day and watch TV or play very simple video games. I wouldn’t remember anything of what I watched. I’d read paragraphs of random stuff here and there and get delusional but not remember it. I couldn’t read more than one or two paragraphs before losing my concentration. And it was an effort to read at all. I could barely have conversations with people. I showered myself maybe once or twice a month and didn’t wash. I rarely changed clothes. I didn’t do any chores or clean. I dropped out of uni and didn’t work or socialize much. For long periods I’d just stare at something (the wall, the TV, a screen) and have pretty disorganized thoughts. I didn’t eat much, not because I didn’t have food or wasn’t hungry, but because I’d just sit there for hours without moving or having any real goal-directed activity.

I started out writing to-do lists. I’d write down things like “eat”, “go to the convenience store”, “take meds”, “answer text”. To my surprise I managed to do a lot more just by having a list. It probably helped that I had it physically in front of me, on the table, while I sat in the couch all day just being idle. I was reminded continually throughout the day about things I needed to do. So eventually I added more and more things to the list. And I did maybe 50-80% of it any given day. I started doing more and more difficult things. And so on.

Now I’m about to finish a 6-year degree. My master’s thesis is basically done. I’ve worked the equivalent of full-time for 6 months, and while it was difficult, I managed. I still struggle a little with some things but I’m basically recovered. And a lot of it was because of a stupidly simple to-do list and a lot of perseverance.


Well, I got diagnosed at 19 in 1980. I spent the first year without medication in a group home for schizophrenics. I had no job, no school, no car, no money, no girlfriend and no friends. I spent months just sitting in a chair out back fighting for my sanity. I felt like I was going to go stark raving mad almost constantly. I saw some pretty crazy stuff there and went through some crazy delusions. I got kicked out over a misunderstanding and they put my three shopping bags full of belongings out on the porch one day and told me I didn’t live there anymore.

I moved back to my parents apartment and lasted two weeks before I had to br hospitalized. I spent one week in a psyche ward where I experienced being restrained by being chained to a table by my wrists and ankles so I couldn’t move for five hours. Worst experience of my life.

Anyways after a week my parents got me admitted to a long term hospital. I didn’t want to go but I didn’t fight it. I moved in and had to share a room with three other guys. I got put on medication for the first time. Heavy doses. I was heavily sedated and suffered terribly for the 8 months I was there. Again, always feeling on the verge of losing my mind; no relief even for s second. I just kept to myself mostly while I was there, I talked a little though.

After 8 months my parents found a really nice, upscale group home for me to move into. I was lucky to get in; it was in a nice neighborhood in a nice city. It was heavily structured, we were assigned chores, we had to cook once a week, we had to pick up after ourselves, we went to bed a certain time and got up a certain time, we had two mandatory groups per week and one mandatory outing per month. Everybody had to have some kind of daytime activity, no exceptions. It had to be something productive; you couldn’t just go hang out somewhere at a park or a mall. You had to either have a job or go to school or do what I did and go to their vocational program 5 days a week. You had to be out of the house by 8:30 am and they locked the doors and didn’t unlock them until 3:30 pm.

So I went to the vocational program and there was about 12 of us and we did mailing projects and yard work and had groups and classes.

I should say that just getting out of the hospital with all the very messed up people in there improved my mental state. I was still very ill but I wasn’t suffering anymore. And the medication had started to work and I was getting better but in very small increments. Now I could handle taking the bus most weekends to visit my parents who were an hour away. I could go out to eat and maybe handle a little socializing.

I was living in close quarters with 8 other people and it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t really have any friends there but I didn’t have any enemies either.

So at this vocational program I started making small steps and getting more and more responsibility with little tasks there. I headed up a gardening crew once. I ran a cash register at lunchtime for food we sold there. Did that for s month. They made me groundskeeper and put me in charge of the landscaping around the building. And I took s bus and did janatorial work at the office building of the agency who ran the house and the vocational program.

And after 9 months at the house and nine months at the vocational program, they got me s real job. They got me a job cleaning hot tubs and doing maintenance at a fancy hot tub place. It was perfectly legitimate, the business rented out rooms for $7.00 an hour to mostly young, yuppie students and young couples from this affluent city.

I cleaned and painted and scrubbed walls and cleaned machines and washed windows and did odd jobs. Me and this other guy from the program got hired to work their three months and then they were going to rotate in other people every three months but the young couple who were my bosses and owned the place liked us so much, me and the other guy ended up working there four years!

That was 1983-1987 that I worked there. Like so said, I was getting a little better but the thing was that in my mind I always thought that schizophrenia was a disease that I would eventually recover fully from. I thought that I went to those hospitals and I took my medication and my schizophrenia would just be cured. I fully believed that’s how it worked. Then when I was about 24 it dawned on me: it wasn’t going to be cured. It didn’t just go away, I might get better but I would probably have it for life. It was a sobering thought but I just got depressed for a short time and accepted it.

Anyways, I went though some other stuff. I got addicted to crack in 1986 when I was 25. I went through some really bad, hard times and lost a lot, including friends, almost all my possessions, housing, jobs and the trust of my family. Then in 1988 I relapsed with schizophrenia ( while addicted to drugs) and was hospitalized several times. Luckily, I got clean in 1990 and have not touched drugs or alcohol since then.

In 1990 I did four things. I moved into a group home, I quit drugs, I got a job and enrolled in college. I ended up staying at the group home 5 years but it wasn’t so bad and I was employed and going to school the entire time I was there. I made a friend there and we hung out and I hung out with my family a lot.

Now, I’m 60 years old. A lot has happened over the last 40 years. A lot of changes. But I’m looking back on being employed for most of the last 35 years. I only need three more classes for my college degree. I lived independently from the time I moved out of the group home in 1995 to 2015. I have owned a car and driven since 1997. I take care of my own money and take care of myself. I had a bad time in 2015 when my mom died, I lost my housing and had to quit school. That landed me in a psyche ward for two days feeling suicidal. I had to take two months off of work and ended up in a group home again. BUT, I went back to work, enrolled in school again, got a new (used) car and now I’m living mostly independently again. I still take care of myself. My positive symptoms are pretty much under control. I tend to isolate but I talk to people at work and see my sister once a week and I’m in touch with my stepmom. I may not be doing the greatest with my neighbors and my life isn’t all smooth but I’ve come a long way since those initial days of my hospitalizations. I live semi comfortably and have some freedom and even a little money. I live alone right now and I’ll just go along and see what happens!

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I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2004. I was having auditory, visual and tactile hallucinations and a persistent delusion. I had some really nasty experiences, although I had a few pleasant ones as well.

I was on disability and non-functional for 17 years on my old meds, I was on a really high dose of olanzapine (40mg) and it knocked me on my ass, they are not kidding when they call it a “Major Tranquilizer”, the side effects also affected my physical health in a very detrimental life threatening way. I switched to Lurasidone a few years ago and it changed everything. My physical health improved, I hit my BMI weight, my blood tests are perfect, I’m now pre-diabetic (I use to have a bad case of diabetes) and I got a job 5 months ago for the fist time in 18 years (and I just got my first raise on Thursday).

I quit drinking 17 years ago, I quit smoking 13 years ago and I don’t remember the last time I smoked weed, it was years ago too. I eat healthier (although I eat junk food sometimes as a treat). I use to exercise every day by walking my dog, but my dog won’t walk anymore so I’ve been slacking off on the exercise, but I am currently healthy so its not a huge deal.

I have my CompTIA A+, Linux+ and Systems Support Specialist certifications (They are IT certifications) and freelance as a computer technician. I taught myself how to program HTML/CSS/PHP and have been paid to setup some websites and have a number of small businesses and residential clientele that call me up and pay me to help them with their computer problems.


Yes. I have posted it here repeatedly if you look around a bit.

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