I am highly functioning and was highly functioning unmedicated but that was complete hell and I dont recommend trying to be like John Nash or Elyn Saks in the regards as to being an honors student, psychotic and not taking medications…I became a raging alcoholic and it was sad. I was a train wreck, I was dependent on alcohol and had to detox (which I did at home, which was hell in itself, worse because it made me crazier).
Make friends, talk to your family, try all of the medications and find one that works, hell I take 3 medications and thats what I need to be normal and not be psychotic or anxious beyond words. Love is what will make it better. I might be rough around the edges, I’m troubled to some extent and I am a powerlifter, which is an extreme sport which is rather insane if you ask me, lifting well over twice ones weight is crazy. But it is cathartic for me and it keeps my ego intact, I am literally stronger than schizophrenia, that is what I make of it. Im also a full time student and last year I made all A’s, I got on meds the summer before the school year and continued to try different doses and combinations well into fall of 2013, and by the end of the year I was in remission and dating people, making A’s, lifting hundreds of pounds, now I have continued to progress in those areas.
You have to love yourself. If you start to lose your sense of belonging in the world, you may become suicidal or engage in self harm, Ive been to both of those places.
Make good friends, date people and find someone who is right for you and see where it goes, find an occupation and a healthy activity, and dont forget to find the right medications above all. I was OK but am now 99% functioning due to medications. I used to feel introverted and out of words around people, I got on the right meds and learned to drink caffeine to counter sedation from meds and now I am extroverted like I was before the illness struck me at 18 1/2.
You dont have to be perfect or like anyone else, dont try to be like me if you dont think you already should be. I am doing well but I am unique, and you are just as unique as I am, so find the right life for you, not anyone else’s life.
I have some role models, Elyn Saks is my number one role model, but I am just a very good student, not a Rhodes scholar or Marshals scholar or whatever she was. She went to Oxford and Yale for free, I got to the local public university for free. But reading her book at night and in between classes last fall hit me hard and it lit my fire to put this illness behind me and aim high, only because I can, and very few people diagnosed with schizophrenia are as lucky as I am, to be so close to normal that people wouldnt guess that I have schizophrenia. They might think I am intense or something, I carry a huge water bottle with me, smoke cigarettes and look pretty muscular but thats not a stereotypical schizophrenic look from what I have learned in school and in books.
Take the right steps, some of them may be the same as others, but in Buddhism, they say “If you meet the Buddha along the road, kill him”. Im not making that up. You are to be yourself and follow your own road.