What is Recovery (part 2)

Continuing the discussion from What is recovery?:

I agree with that. I am pretty social, I still have a lot of symptoms. I’ve met a guy who really has many of his symptoms knocked out. But he’s been left with such a dent in the self-confidence that he’s still struggling.

I guess people have to define what recovery is first and use that as their goal to work towards?


I think recovery isnt absolute- it’s relative. Recovery is about a standard, a bar, which is in the mind of the patient. If recovery is managing symptoms and being productive, employed, going to school, ect, then that’s fine. For some, like me, I take the term more absolutely because my brain responds so well to medication that I put my standards up against normal people. I make all A’s, which is better than most normal people, for example, but that is only because of my response to medications- for most people with schizophrenia, they would be recovered if they passed their classes and attended all of them because its unusual to respond to meds like I do.

The best little piece of advice I have heard was from Elyn Saks- she said that living with a mental illness is about finding the life that is right for you. “The life that is right for you” is absolutely relative, it is unique for each and every person.


I think most recovering Sz’s have a hard time with themselves because they are not realizing their identity. Meaning they made it thus far and they are incredible people. I’m not just giving compliments. This is reality. Think of all your wonderful attributes. Your unique personality. Have strength to know the kindness, the articulation. Maybe they are not symptoms anymore you feel b when out in public but really they are yourself.


Its possible to recover, but i think for a shorter time, i think without med its possible to stay recovered much longer, but of course will go through hell with all those time being without med.

I’m not there yet. Every time I’ve gone off my meds, I’ve ended up in hospital completely wrecked and then I have to start all over again. I’m not brave enough to do this med free just yet.


Dr Low says: "Don’t tell me how you feel. Tell me how you function.


I guess my symptoms pretty much fall on a bell curve from extremely unpleasant to extremely pleasant.
I think recovery means you shift the bulk of the overall curve towards more satisfying and healthy functions. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever have delusions or hallucinations or bad days again, but they will be quite a bit more rare.

I don’t know that much about statistics, but I always thought bell curves were kinda cool. Bell curves turn up where you would least expect them: Here is a graph I played around with when I was curious if the length of the songs in my mp3 music collection fell on a bell curve:

I don’t understand statistics, but I wasn’t expecting a fairly smooth curve… If you plot just about any natural phenomena (height, temperature, IQs, our symptoms) they should fall on a bell curve if there are multiple factors influencing the output.

I guess this graph shows I am not into long classical pieces :smiley:

My recovery is based on trying to nudge my bellcurve to the right by eating a better diet, taking meds, managing stress, socializing more. taking in higher quality information, avoiding drugs and alcohol…etc.etc… Each good thing you do for yourself nudges the curve to the right.

If often have to remind myself that life is one big pachinko machine. We just have to find ways to tilt it in our favor.

I think things that are quantifiable and measurable are easier to change. I never could lose weight until I started measuring my calories and other nutrients using a food diary app. My finances are at a bit of a standstill right now but the fact I can track it myself helps me control my spending better than if I was totally unaware.

I haven’t come up with a good way to quantify and track my functioning and recovery myself yet… Maybe if I count the number of tasks I do on my done list each day might be somewhat of an objective measure. I did ok on an online IQ test but that doesn’t really measure how I function in daily life. I think measures of my overall heatlh like blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides are also some dependent variables that are all part of an objective measurable definition of recovery… I know I get a lot more psych symptoms when I am physically ill. So yeah recovery has to be holistic… not sure how to really quantify my own happiness but being healthy and wealthy would be nice. I am getting well enough that I can treat my illness somewhat like an experiment.

Schizophrenia isn’t the only problem I have-- I have high bp, i am overweight, i have osteoarthritis… a couple months ago I used Google Drive to draw up a chart of how I think most things with my health interact (I may add sex and low libido to the list too :slight_smile:

Sickness is very complicated because illnesses effect each other… but with this chart I can sort of see how vicious and virtual cycles operate in my own life. Maybe someday I’ll be able to write my own recovery equation index like the stock markets:

recovery = -3BP + 10Checking account balance - 2body weight - 500number of hospitalizations in one year + 10*number of facebook friends


I am beginning to think I can measure my own self confidence by the number of Ativan pills I need to take in a week :smile

Getting well is really hard work so no one should think they are just going to wake up and be cured… I spent 10 years in Recovery Inc. meetings, did day treatment for a year, did consumer advocacy for 5 years, got up at 6am every weekday morning and drove 50 miles a day sometimes through blizzards to get everyone in my family to work and appointments… It’s not as hard as a regular career but it’s been very challenging at times. If I had chosen to stay home and watch TV all day I think I would feel pretty lousy by now. I am not totally “cured” but I think everyone has to go through some kind of gauntlet to really get well.

I hope I am determined to do better than my mom did: she stayed all day everyday in bed, had no friends and died at the age of 50. She was terribly sick with sz but I wonder how she could have done today given the right environment and medicines.

I didn’'t usually like it. but I was very fortunate to have my wife and my dad push me a little when I wanted to retreat.

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I would be having a GREAT recovery if I would just stop driving myself crazy.

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BTW I apologize to everyone if I am writing too much… I used to write quite a bit before I became ill but only recently have started getting back into it. I am sorry if I am spewing out too much pseudo-intellectualist sounding stuff… I am just pleased that my brain is starting to work again. (sort of, anyway :slight_smile: )

I agree with everyone that you have to define what Recovery and Wellness is for yourself and not try to live up to a cookie cutter image that culture promotes. I am just finding that I do better on the things that are not measurable to me (optimism, spontaneity, mood) when I take care of some things that are measurable to me (my weight, my finances, my bloodwork, my time management). I think it is good to have some metrics to go by for yourself rather than trying to gage the illness haphazardly… The docs keep stats on us so why can’t we do it ourselves to some extent?


Some of us write a lot. Don’t worry about it. I haven’t heard even one complaint about you. Relax, get something to drink, and write until your hearts content, lol.

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Thanks! – oops I have to make this at least 20 characters long – haha

Here’s a hint. Instead of writing “20 characters long”, simply press the period mark until that notice disappears off your screen.
Example:…It really works, try it.

Cool…oops it said "the body has to be more descriptive :blush:

Yeah, that happens if it’s a very short word for your answer. But the period thing works most of the time.

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I just remembered I had some sheets stored on my computer from 20 years ago about Wellness from my day treatment program. I thought they were pretty good. I guess it helps to be a digital packrat :slight_smile:

Sorry these are crude scans… I guess a new version is on the web,you can get an updated expanded modern pdf version here

also… here is their website

I kind of like the old concise version though better… you can get the pdf here

I think the simplified version of wellness for me is two things: (1) control what molecules go in your body (2) control what information goes in your mind… everything that’s made sense to me about getting well always goes back to these two things. I think that sleep, exercise, sex, creativity and all the other good habits are formed and will ultimately follow from the combination of these two rules. This is what I think it means to “Write your own script,” as Steven Covey likes to say. Choosing what goes in your mind is often tricky business though.

Also… I don’t know where I found this Wellness Progress Journal but I think I am going to start using it. There are quite a few areas I can still improve on.

Interesting topic.

Hi, everyone, I’m new here.

I think it depends on the individual so that you need to find out what recovery is for you, instead of trying to be normal.

Easier said than done. I know that everyone is different and has different strengths and weaknesses, but I can’t help but think that I’m inferior to other people without schizophrenia, and I keep trying to be like them. I guess I need to grow as a person to be able to truely realize that everyone is different and that schizophrenia is only an illness. But I’ve missed out on a lot due to my schizophrenia, and I can’t get over that loss. Now, thanks to medication, I feel much better physically but am in a hurry catching up with the world, frustrated and worried.

I don’t know. I think ‘normal’ does exist. When you are out of it, you want to be part of it. As long as we are social animals. Do you guys think I’m immature?

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Hi, it seems to be helpful to me, too. Thanks for sharing.

My feeling and experience has been that people are more likely to accept you into their group and keep you there if they agree with or at least respect your ethics. My family and friends seem to overlook a lot of my physical and social quirks but they still think I an okay person most of the time in terms of how I treat others. Recovery has a very large social piece to me but social acceptance mostly comes from if people accept your actions as being kind and helpful.

Sz isolates people because paranoia and other delusions can cause us to do things which are unsound ethically and we can become alienated if our friends and family can’t believe that the action was caused by our illness and not our character.