I know that I personally still struggle with accepting the diagnosis, but the fact that I once had a rather successful career before the symptoms started is undeniable. I spent twelve years in the military and many times I feel as if I took the biggest demotion not only in my career, but in life. It’s a very difficult pill to swallow.
It is helpful for me to look back at what I have accomplished and to try not to look at what I no longer can.
Since the onset of symptoms my creativity has skyrocketed. Problem is, there is no longer a large demand in our society for that skill. At least nothing that is going to keep a roof over our heads or food on our tables.
How many of us struggle greatly with this, and how do you cope?
I was successful before my onset but kept being successful, just not quite as successful after my onset. I think you should find something that you like doing and pursue it.
I am also creative, I just keep it to a hobby for the most part. Some of my work in school has been creative, as to what to write about and how to write- but that’s just some of the time. A lot of what I do is just answering questions, but I have been given freedom to chose what to write about and how to write it. For example, honors deviance (a psychology class) was this class where we were given freedom to write a 14 page paper about anything deviant. I wrote about schizophrenia and got an A.
I love writing, I write in my free time, some of it a stream of consciousness and memoir, the other an actual book I am working on, a science fiction book. I look at what I have written and usually like it or wonder what made me write it, not exactly liking it and more freaked out by myself. I love that feeling.
What I do is separate work from play- coming up with a thesis idea for my degree is creative, yes. Performing tedious research is not exactly creative. Writing fiction is just a hobby. Writing a paper for a class is not a hobby, although it is creative to some extent.
Perhaps you should go to art school- my friend’s girlfriend is a graduate student in art school and is really good at what she does, making a life out of it.
I suggest seeing a career counselor.
I was on my way to some great things before my acute onset. It is hard, but I try to stay stable, realistic, and humble. I think my way of coping is taking the punches of schizophrenia and recovering with new, thicker skin. It’s sort of a good thing to see the illness as lifting heavy. It makes us stronger when we do learn how to cope with our individual situations and finally return to achieving realistic goals we now set for ourselves. There are some famously successful people who had and have schizophreniform illnesses. We just have to keep in mind that we are strong, stronger than before, and we can do it!
I was successful before the onset and now not so much. I feel as though I’m just living.I don’t feel mentally I’m all there so I’m afraid to do anything more.
I was going to get my PhD in Ceramics. Sz made me afraid to take the risks and accept the criticism. It kind of made me a floater. I would try to take classes that I was interested in mostly. I kept up with my Art History progression, but symptoms in certain classes started to flare up.
I still don’t know if I’m going to stick with office jobs. I plan on not going into museums, for some reason I just don’t see myself there. Once I’m in my Senior level classes again that might change.
I had a certain degree of success in my past - I was a paraprofessional working with special ed students and also worked as a substitute teacher for years. I worked till I could no longer work and was placed on disability - I am not ashamed of this. Just because I am deemed disabled by my state and federal does not make me a throw away!
Having a severe mental illness sometimes involves getting help for your limitations - no shame involved
There’s still a demand for creative people and art/writing. It just takes work to freelance and market your skills. Some people on Etsy sell their products for up to $500. People who make clay or wooden art dolls make a lot of money, or one of a kind paintings that are framed sell for more. Check out www.etsy.com you can also sell your vintage stuff on there. There’s also sites like threadless and a few other that you can sell your original designs and they’ll market them as t-shirts. I think there was one site called red bubble: http://www.redbubble.com/ so check that out too! Lots of different individual styles and art for sale.