Thursday, May 27, 2010


Good morning.

I've read a book that I want to recommend: The Everything Health Guide to Schizophrenia. It's billed as the latest information on treatment, medication, and coping strategies. Chapters detail warning signs, symptoms, causes, types of schizophrenia, treatment options, medication, what you can do to aid recovery and success stories. It is under 300 pages and the size of a small hardbound journal. It is one of the most practical and hopeful guides that I've read about this medical condition.

You can read it at home. You can take it on the train. You can read it waiting in your psychiatrist's office. It's supposed to be for caregivers yet don't let that dissuade you from reading the book as it is equally useful for those of us diagnosed with SZ.

The author is Dean A. Haycock PhD. He talks about cognitive therapy too. The Chapter on What You Can Do to Aid Recovery is helpful for caregivers and provides clear advice for helping your loved one set goals and rise above the stigma that exists even today.

It really is a caregiver's book however I wouldn't rule out reading it yourself or recommending it to someone who does have a loved one diagnosed with schizophrenia. It's a useful first guide to helping your loved one or helping yourself.


I have been up since the early morning light.

I've decided to focus in JM on the schizophrenia with a twist: do it in my own way.

One thing I've talked with another woman about is the need to develop friendships when you have SZ. That seems so simple. I would also recommend volunteer work or paid employment or going to school to educate yourself so you can get a job or for self-improvement. It was said that people diagnosed with this condition need job coaches who can help them navigate the world of work. Truly I had to do this on my own because at the time I obtained my first job I had no support and no friends who were also working at a full-time job.

So friendships become the first line of defense in living with SZ and you branch out to volunteer work or work or school. I also cannot stress the benefit of living independently if you can function well enough to do this. In The Everything Health Guide to Schizophrenia it suggested you set goals that enable you to function like taking showers or cooking dinner.

Only a car goes from 0 to 60 in three seconds. I know from firsthand experience that in the early years of your recovery you will often make modest gains not achieve daring feats. You will not go from 0 to 60 in your recovery within three months or even three years. I would tell you to give yourself the gift of a lifetime in which to recover.

I can tell you this because it took me 20 years to get to this point. So I urge you to keep hopeful. I do believe things get better with time. In April 2007 I started taking the Geodon and within three days I noticed a great improvement and three years later I had better results.

So you start out with the premise that recovery is not quick and it is not easy. I've outlined my ideas about the process of setting three-year treatment goals in a SharePost at SchizophreniaConnection. I feel three years is an ideal time frame for this kind of thing. Some goals will take longer and others you will achieve sooner yet three years is realistic and generous for most goals if you ask me. Always attach a completion date to a goal and know that this date can be changed in the future if you approach it without any success.

Here's the link to setting treatment goals: and the one to measuring recovery gains:

Even though the woman quibbled about how friendships are given the most importance as a tool for recovering from schizophrenia I believe this is at least the second most important tool. The first order of the day after you are diagnosed with schizophrenia is to boost your functioning. My number-one tool for recovery was finding the job I love and I recommend this to you as a possible treatment goal that will change your life dramatically.

This is about all I want to write about right now as I have to attend to things in the apartment.

One last thing I will say: I find it interesting how the Sundance catalog markets its products. I bought a brass ring called a camaraderie ring because it was supposed to signify eternal friendship. Really I bought it because it has a satin finish and will complement the Banana Republic brass tone necklace I bought last year. The ring has two bands and luckily when it arrived I tried it on and it fit.

I admit it: the marketing strategy pulled me in.

This Sunday I'm going on a picnic and will wear the ring.

So I'm going to close out here by suggesting you reach out to other people and risk rejection.

There is someone out there for you.

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