Those First Steps

How did you take them, these first steps into the study/workplace? In my own experience, once properly medicated, the challenges that remain for me as a sz are mainly negative symptoms. Passivity, motivation and isolation issues. And then sort of secondary feelings that can arise out of these, like hopelesness, loneliness and the like.

My psychiatrist thinks I have such symptoms only mildly, and I tend to agree. But I notice fluctuations in them. It seems to me that as long as I have plenty of social and study activities scheduled I am doing just fine. But when they are lacking, when I have let these regular activities slip, it becomes harder and harder to pick up doing them again.

It seems to me then that there is a bit of a chicken and egg situation when it comes to engaging in these kind of activities and negative symptoms. Concerning motivation/drive and such activities, it is very much a feedback loop. Doing stuff will make you want to do more stuff. But then again, do I not need to want to do something before I can do it? And the converse also holds: idleness seems to bring about lack of drive etc. Once you have ended up at either side of the spectrum, passivity or activity, you tend to maintain that spot and it becomes a bit harder to slip to the other side. (such feedback loops also apply to other dynamics, like social interaction: meet lots of people and opportunities for new meet-ups arise naturally, isolate and it will take more deliberate efforts to find a way into social life)

The problem seems to me, then, that we SZ’s at some point or another have found ourselves at the bad side of the spectrum, trapped in this feedbackloop it is so hard to get out of. Whether it concerns social, educational or professional activities. Our episodes have swept us out of the good end of the feedback loops and the nature of it all seems to be it is damn hard to get back in.

So how did you working/studying guys manage to break the spell? In my experience, it can be very hard to have to rely on pushing yourself. Taking this metaphor literally already shows that this can only achieve so much… :wink: I have much to thank to relying on others to keep things going. My parents have pushed me to do things I (at the time) didn’t think I was able to do at all. (see Any experiences that have made you stronger) Also, I was fortunate enough to have friends I could and did rely on to take initiative in social activities. At one point, I had problems initiating contact with them, even though I appreciated them being around very much. So I told them so and we scheduled weekly meetings. A bit superficial, it may seem, but it helped to keep things going.

5 Likes

I’m relearning how to study, I have a lot of classes and a lot of subjects to study so it has to be a scheduled thing. I’m a firm believer in discipline in studying, but now, after so many years of not doing it, I find it difficult to initiate. I think it’s just the beginning and I’ll get the hang of it eventually (has to be soon though).

I was so depressed and miserable this passed year that is actually refreshing having new subjects to think about and learn of.

I’m excited about this new phase in my life…

Thank you for sharing your experience.

4 Likes

When I hit my lowest with the negative symptoms… I gave in… I took the meds… It took a lot of work to get the wheels rolling again.

The meds helped me get out of the negative swing… they helped me get out of the shut down.

Therapy helped me deal with a lot of the remorse about lost time… the regret of past actions… the self- hate and self- defeat.

Then … the old theory… a body in motion stays in motion… a body at rest stays at rest.

It sounds like your are entering the phase of waking up… it’s great to look around and feel like you can start to emerge back into life… things are going to start stabilizing and looking up.

Good luck and I hope today is better then yesterday and tomorrow is better then today…

5 Likes

Very thoughtful post, @flybottle.

I find that I can get stuck in feelings of apathy, boredom and emptiness when I am not occupied. My solution is to become occupied. For example, I felt like crap last evening so I went for a jog. It made me feel better. I feel like crap every morning so I get on here and see what is going on and if anyone has questions which I can answer. I am feeling pretty crap right now, so I am waiting for my breakfast and meds to settle and kick in and then workout. After that I will get to studying and then I have a night class.

The alternative is don’t workout don’t study and just go to the class feeling even worse. That and perform less than superbly on a midterm I have tomorrow.

I am honestly more worried about the fact that I smoked a cigarette after putting on a nicotine patch this morning because I felt queasy and now I am thinking I will have a stroke or heart attack because my heart is going a bit fast and I had some sharp chest pains.

But to answer the topic, I started out recovery being very weary of everything. I had been to hell and back and felt a bit tired. I really felt tired, just tired. What is interesting is that I was partying before meds, I had been drinking with college kids like crazy because I was crazy. I basically went from drunk and causing noise with five other guys at 3am to sitting alone at home watching movies on weekends and going to bed at a very reasonable hour. My friends were there for me but they were still drinking or worse things so I didn’t really get along.

Well, they all grew up and now I workout with them and hangout at reasonable hours with them. Between them drinking like nuts and today, I became very promiscuous for about a year and then cut that crap out because it was going too far and was risky.

I think the first step for me was just getting priorities straight. Making grades and powerlifting was my grip on reality coming out of psychotic hell. It did me a lot of good. I basically matured several years over one summer. My friends have caught up and now things are good.

One thing I have learned is that it is lonely at the top. People are jealous, people are envious, people are vindictive of those who outperform them without trying all that hard.

I’ve got few close friends. However, we are a team and we are quite close. It’s because I am very different than the norm and so are they. I mean I am actually very bright as well as motivated. That and I’m schizophrenic. I perform with the best at my university, yet there are remarkably few of us and far between. I only recognized two other students from my department at the phi kappa phi induction, and I graduated with one of them from the international high school I went to. There are 800 students in my department.

I hangout with mainly three old friends and one of their girlfriends. One is a counselor at the local mental hospital, one works in retail and doing well for himself, and one works at an optometrist’s office and goes to school part time. He and his girlfriend both work at the optometrist’s place.

2 Likes