Dealing with cognitive impairment

I think the idea of “cognitive impairment” being associated with schizophrenia is generally exaggerated. I’ve known many schizophrenics, some smart, some not so smart. I think that schizophrenics are pretty much like everyone else in this regard.

Look around the forum, there are some smart people here.

There’s evidence that shows that even with people with sz with average/high IQs there can be areas of cognitive impairment
I would expect those who can post on a forum to have less cognitive impairment than those who can’t.

Myself and others testiify that we can communicate in asynchornus or written form much easier than syhchronous face to face forms, having impairments does not mean you are not smart, I take a reasoning test and score 100 percent accurate but still fall below the average since I do it so slowly. I process information slowly but I do it accurately, this is an impaiired processing thing. If I could process information faster I would be accurate and fast, the SZ cognitive impairments keep me from my potential.

As I wrote, I’ve known many schizophrenics in real life, some smart and capable, some not so much. Your experience is no more valid than mine.

I process slowly and have a hard time figuring out what’s going on…lots of confusion. I also apparently talk slow and muffled. I have dealt with these problems by going on disability and isolating. I can only communicate well in writing, and can only handle a very simple life. I might check out that book…thanks for the info.

Apart from my own experience is the literature of research on the topic, see ch. 4 in “Essentials of schizophrenia” http://books.google.com/books?id=TTfMjdQ9ffEC&q=cognitive+impairment#v=snippet&q=cognitive%20impairment&f=false
page 73. You will learn that C. I. is a core feature and will be part of the diagnositc procedure in the future.
I am speaking generally but all cases of SZ are different in degree and outcome.

Is there cognitive impairment, sure. Is the level exaggerated by many, particularly some on this forum? Definitely. People love to talk about their “potential”, daydreaming of how things could have been instead of realizing that it’s their own belief in their inferiority that impairs them.

Look around, the forum has a number of people who talk about how they can’t do this and can’t do that because of what some textbook says. They love to trot out statistics to show how impaired they are.

I’ve known many smart, capable, schizophrenics. Could they have been even better in those areas if they didn’t have schizophrenia? Sure. But they aren’t “impaired” and they don’t go around talking about how terrible they have it.

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I had to struggle with over coming my prognosis… It’s taken time not to believe what people have told my family… what people have told me.

Before I came on the forum… I was told people with Sz couldn’t handle school. Too much stress… to disorganized… what school requires is bad for people with SZ. So I never looked into going.

Then I came here… and saw just how many people with Sz were in school. The more I read… the more I thought… I might be able to do that… As I looked into it… Yes… I’m in school now… have been for a year. It’s a bit of struggle with work, but I’ve got 5 classes under my belt now.

For me… I think I believed what was told to me a little too much concerning what I could do and what I couldn’t do.

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I’m sure there are some people who would use this as an excuse. This was not the case with me. I was unaware of the severity of my problems and tried to do more than I was capable of and messed myself up more. I would like to find a more simple line of work. I should have been doing that the whole time. We all have limits.

I could rattle off a list of people on this forum who are fighting and clawing to achieve and be the best they can be. Hell, I will. You @SurprisedJ, @radmedtech, @elizabeth, @velociraptor, @mortimermouse, @CarolineC the list could go on. Those were just some, there are others and I apologize for not mentioning you, that was just a short list off the top of my head.

I could also run off a list of those who are mired, not in symptoms of schizophrenia so much, but in their belief that they are “impaired” and unable to do anything. I won’t name names but if you read the forum a bit you’ll see them.

I’m not talking about people who are severely symptomatic. This is a debilitating disease and some will be limited by it. But it’s not always symptoms that limit a person.

Not every book is the gospel.

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So what you are in essence saying is that people with problems should put up and shut up.

I’m saying that this impairment is often exaggerated.

How do you know this? I see no basis on which to make this claim.

I don’t want to get into the centre or something… This is just me, myself and I…

I wouldn’t say my impairments were over exaggerated as much as strongly reinforced by people who were acting on information given at the time…. Like the doctors. I look back and find myself a little mad at some of them for stuff they told me and encouraged me NOT to do in case of relapse.

My Mom fought long and hard for the med change that helped me get to where I am today.

The doc wasn’t going to do that on his own. As far as he was concerned… I was sedate and not bothering anyone… why risk it?

Doc’s who only see the worst… only say the worst.

I remember booking an appointment with my doc when I was doing great so he could see what a “doing great” me looked like.

Plus… it takes time and small steps and docs who encourage instead of discourage.

I think I was fighting against more then just lack of will power. I was fighting this illness and my doctors stigma… and my own stigma. It’s taken a long time to over come it… I still find myself slipping into sneaky brained thinking… NOW I have help getting out of it.

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It is my opinion, based on personal experience in both real life and on the Internet.

It is interesting that you write this in another thread.

If you don’t even believe that people fit neatly into the diagnosis, how can you possibly say that they are so terribly “cognitively impaired”?

Those people read these same kinds of statistics, and instead of treating you like an individual, they generalized and pigeon-holed you to fit with those statistics. It is that very generalization that is an exaggeration. “Oh, you’re schizophrenic? You’re impaired. Don’t try, just sit back and accept your ‘impairments’.” Some listen and accept, some refuse and see that they can do more.

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I would agree with this. There is a difference between acknowledging impairments and writing someone completely off.
By the time I met my wife I had been labelled a chronic schizophrenic and was destined for at best a group home and at worst a long stay ward. I was not considered a candidate for independent living. I had minimal skills and there was little attempt to develop them.
Then I met my wife and left hospital with her. She encouraged and taught me.
I wouldn’t say I’m highly functioning and I need help but I’ve managed to avoid the fate that was earmarked for me.
I may have a limited ability to live independently in the community but it is better than having been seen as having no ability.

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Just curious, how many years has it been since you had a schizophrenic diagnosis?

I can communicate fairly well, but I get confused and overwhelmed easily and I sometimes freeze up if there’s too much going on. I need help with some things, like calling in refills for my meds, because there are so many of them and I can’t keep track of it all. My mother helps out a lot, as does my boyfriend. I’m just glad I can still drive, so far I haven’t really had any problems with that. Actually, driving acts as a focus for me and can help me concentrate, but I do have to be careful not to let my mind wander, or forget to look both ways. I talk to myself in my head to remind myself of these things, and I get a little obsessive about some things. I worry about traffic lights, thinking they’ll turn yellow at the worst time and I’ll have to decide whether to go through or stop at the last second. I also worry about other drivers, I never trust turn signals and always wait for them to start their turn before I go. But I like driving overall, though not long trips. Which I guess is a good thing, since most of my friends don’t drive.

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Nothing wrong with being extra careful. Twice I made a left on red…that was before I was on meds and my thoughts were all scrambled up and spinning out of control. It’s under more control now. It’s strange that meds that would slow a normal person’s thinking make me think better.

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