How Can People Work While SZ?

I don’t understand how people can do it. I must just be under a heavier version of schizophrenia. I feel completely exhausted all day, everyday, 95% of the days out of a given year. Even people with other legit mental disorders like downs syndrome or flat out mental “retardation” have a better prognosis & capabilities to work than me.

I don’t know. It just feels incredibly frustrating. I have a few good talents, but the world hardly needs them. For those of you that can work, I am envious of your energies. You clearly are high-functioning in comparison. The pain & physical exhaust keeps me feeling oppressed. It’s a full-time job coping.


I think we would work if there was a gun to our heads. I think we just choose not to work because we don’t want to or think we can’t…for various reasons.


I can no longer work - the stress would destroy me.

Sometimes I dream about going to work again at my old position, but the reality is different.

The stress would destabilize me completely - I know how you feel.


I work. But not when I become psychotic. I’m on sick leave about 3-4 times/year. It always starts with sleeping problems. I believe something is going on now. I don’t sleep even after taking sleeping pills.

I work two days in a row. Exhausted when I get home. Then I’m off work for two days so I can rest.

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I don’t even own a vehicle. My license was revoked when I submitted a document claiming I have a mental disability & have trouble seeing through visual hallucinations. It’s unsafe for me to drive anyways, as the symptoms could provoke even more duress while driving during unsafe hours.

If the conservative attitude wasn’t so strong at the present moment, I’d be able to live peaceably & strive for freelance projects doing voice acting for animations or doing photography.

Instead, the US doesn’t even offer a “living wage” yet. People are forced to work in a wage-slave system with poor wages. The US has a long ways to go before stabilizing, I think, and having me in the workforce would be “too stressful” as Wave pointed out.


I used to be a manager before I got ill. Now I’m doing the “floor job”. I can’t handle the stress and have cognitive problems so I can’t get back my old job.

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What kind of manager? What kind of cognitive symptoms?

I think it is very hard if not impossible to work while symptomatic that’s why it is best to be stable for a long time on a good med situation that way you can prove you are reliable to a prospective employer, you may even be able to get help from your care team to help support you through the transition to work (which I would recommend)

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Perhaps start by volunteering at the level where you feel able to - and then try to do more when its appropriate. You do have valuable skills and its good for everyone to get positive feedback on things when you help people.


You can get these types of jobs over the Internet (at least the voice acting) and do the work remotely from home. Why don’t you try doing some of this. There are web sites like:

etc. that you can use to start getting gigs.


I work full time and have what my pdr says I have “mild schizophrenia” and it is hard to work. I have to drink coffee every day just to keep from falling asleep at work, it also improves my mood considerably. Some days I’m not sure how I do it and I know a lot of people can’t. One reason I still try is my family that has been very supportive in all of this. I know it’s hard and some days I wonder why I try at all but then I think of all the people that want to work and can’t and I think myself lucky. It’s hard even with only mild sz.


give it time… boring and the staff etc always said this - it’s annoying to hear, just believe in it

I was a team leader for 5 people. Very much administration.

Cognitive problems are unable to focus on a coversation or reading. Hard to read documents and remember what I just read. Hard to plan my work by myself. I need structure and that someone (i.e. My boss) gives me a list of tasks to do during the day. Often, not always I can get help with the order I need to do the work but it is good to practice without help all the time.

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My understanding is that one of your most severe symptoms is excruciating pain in your brain, which isn’t a typical sz symptom. We all have different challenges, but you have a very unique and debilitating one. Someone with a milder, treatment-responsive sz and no pain might be able to handle many tasks that you would find impossible.

I work in sales, but started in marketing. Very fortunate that I have the capability to work part time. I’ve tried full time gigs but never last more than a few months. I start falling asleep at work (dz sleep apnea) and usually quit soon after. part time is much more suitable… only advice is to stay busy! if you cannot work, fill your time with hobbies… I like to write and when I am not scheduled to work, I blog and I post on this forum. Writing serves two purposes: to give others a different perspective and to reaffirm the positives that are going around in my life. Not sharing with the outside normie world is my choice; I prefer to do it here where sz folks can draw inspiration to never give up.


This might sound weird, but I had to work up to working…

I had a volunteer gig with the food bank for a bit…

Then I had a really small part time job as a janitor… early mornings… before anyone was on site.

Little by little… I worked up to being able to work a little more.

Take it slow and you’ll find a way to use your talents.


I tried five times to return to my career as an architect and tried each time I failed to take my life. NO, I cannot work and I prefer it that way.


I work full time. 8 hours a day monday to friday. Meds help me. im also confident in myself. This is the biggest help. Working is really important to me. It gives me something to focus my mind on


Me too. I don’t think people who struggle as much with negative symptoms as me are able to work 100% at all. I think people who are able to work 100% with sz do not experience the same level of negative symptoms. I might be wrong and I’m trying my best to do better, but I’ve been trying for years and things are not improving much. I was very diligent and hard-working before I got ill.


I’ve been recovering from Sz for over two decades. The first couple of years after being diagnosed were horrible. In and out of hospitals. Med after med that didn’t work, barely worked, or has such horrible side-effects that I was incapacitated. Even worse, I had several doctors in a row who told me I was so severely ill that I was never getting better. I repeat, never getting better. The best I could ever hope for was that, “they could make me somewhat comfortable.”

No school.
No job.
No family.
No life.

That’s what I was promised.

But here’s the thing: I had joined AA just prior to my cheese sliding off my cracker and I had picked up a hella good sponsor. The ornery ■■■■■■■ stuck by my side when my own doctors didn’t. There’s a passage in the book Alcoholics Anonymous that reads, “there are those too with grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.” Well, Ed was of the old time “the Big Book says it, I believe it, and that settles it” school of thought. So he literally forced me to apply AA principals to my Sz.

And it worked. Slow as hell, but it worked. That’s not to say I just turned my Sz over to a Higher Power and got better, because that’s BS. I kept taking meds, but I would stick with them until I acclimatized to the side-effects and they started working for me. My head started to untwist itself. I developed a positive attitude about recovery. I started going out for walks and having hobbies again, not just watching TV. I forced myself to fix my hygiene, read books, volunteer and meet people.

Eventually someone offered me a part-time job based on my computer hobby. It turned into a full-time job. Then a career for a while (although I never was in love with it).

I know a lot of people here think I’m amazing because I work and do a lot of volunteer work. That’s not amazing, that’s just dumb luck. The dumb luck is that someone believed in me back when my own doctors didn’t and was kind enough to teach me to believe in myself. That belief that recovery was possible has carried me past all kinds of crap for the past twenty years. It has kept me (mostly) med compliant and recovery-centric. I attribute the best parts of my recovery to Ed and his “never say die” attitude.

The best advice I can give to others here is this: Just ■■■■■■■ go for it. You’re going to crash and burn often, but that’s okay. Just pick yourself up each time you fall and go for it that much harder.