Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

After graduation

Now the big question is what my daughter will do after graduation. She has decided that she will not go to college right away. I am not sure if she will be able to get a job at this time. She hasn’t had a job before and all she has done is voluntary work that is at the most 3 hours long. She needs her driver’s license and we will try to work on this. She needs driving time. She can get nervous driving. But she is willing to try to do this.

She doesn’t seem to have a strong work ethic… and I am thinking this may be due to the illness. So then we wonder what is she is going to do with her time if she doesn’t work. She says she is going to work on art dolls. She needs to be able to afford the materials though. She might be able to sell some on Etsy.

We think she should go take part time classes at a community college nearby or take correspondence courses. Even if she is only taking one class at first, it will give her something to do. She doesn’t like this idea either because she wants to be able to go Messiah College if she goes to college. This is where my son is going right now. It is not because her brother is there, but because she really like the art program there. I am sure that any community college classes or correspondence classes would be able to transfer. She might be able to get her general education classes out of the way this way. Her grades are a factor her… High school has been very hard for her with her illness. She did get her first grades after starting on her medication and there is an improvement. Community college classes might be able to be a way to get them up so it will be easier for acceptance when she is ready to go to Messiah College. I actually did this when I went to college… My high school grades weren’t the best due to my ADHD, so I started in a community college before going to a four year college.

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Hi Windyhill63,

One thought I had about your daughter’s dolls is that perhaps you could ask for material donations from church members? I’m not exactly sure what materials she prefers, but you could specify things like cotton material in solid colors or prints or unwanted throw pillows for the stuffing. People always have old clothes that haven’t made their way to the thrift store yet. They would make some unique, one-of-a-kind dolls as well.

Many people take a year or two and try out community colleges before going for a four-year college. It might be a good idea for her to take the required (“boring”) classes while she’s still at home so you can help her and keep her on track so that when she does get to Messiah, she can take the “fun” classes and will be more engaged.

If she does decide to go for a job in the meantime, I would suggest something she likes and feels comfortable with, not a food service job (stressful, too much customer interaction) or anything like that. If there is a fabric store, art store or a part-time position at a school helping an art teacher, she would feel more in her element. I like the idea of her making dolls, though, which is what she feels passionate about and therefore will probably have a stronger work ethic about. It could become her career…you never know.

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I’m sure there is a lot of uncertainty for you as a parent and for her as well!
It might be some reassurance that -most- people go through a long period of uncertainty, even into their 30s. There are a lot of young adults who might seem like they have everything figured out, but they are just as much one bad grade, or one inspirational movie away from shattering all their plans and re-writing their future.
I think it’s a good thing in some ways that you and your daughter see and accept the level of uncertainty you are faced with.
But with uncertainty comes many opportunities. Opening as many doors as possible would be my advice. However your daughter thinks is best, create a lifestyle and a set of talents and experiences that will help her to be ready and willing if a good opportunity presents itself.

I think helping her get her driver’s license is a good place to start.
And, while a lot of young people lack drive to work hard in employment, they can learn to become comfortable with doing so by establishing a reasonably regimented routine.
This seems to be one of the key pillars of managing Schizophrenia, as well as getting started in the workforce.
She probably has a lot of speed bumps she will need to overcome in addition to the obligatory growing pains of becoming a young adult and gaining independence. But, she has been building up to it her whole life and there is no reason to assume she won’t continue to make progress, however slow that might seem.

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We are concerned about her getting bored if she isn’t doing much and I don’t think that would be good for her… I think that is when feelings of anxiety come when she hears noises around and her imagination runs away with that.

I think @wreklus ‘ point about the need for a reasonably regimented routine is crucial. Regular sleep times, regular wake up times, regular work times.

@wreklus, you mentioned uncertainty… there is plenty of that… added into this mix is the fact that we really want to move to the city where both my wife and I work and is an hour from where we live. There are so many more opportunities there for her as well as more services available for people with MI. There is work that needs to be done on our house before we can put it on the market.

I agree with @wreklus and @hope that a scheduled life will be the best thing for her, even if she has scheduled time everyday to work on her art dolls.

@LifeIsHard, there isn’t as much opportunities for work in my hometown other than store clerk or food service… but she might be able to do voluntary work at the ASPCA again. Or see if there are any horse farms that she could work at.

There is a local extension for a state college here in town that she could take a few classes at… or at least one to start off with. Again more study opportunities in the other city once we move.

She is eager to move… most of her friends are in the other city… since both girls are going to the Christian school my wife teaches at. But I can see that the actual process of moving could be stressful… even for something without MI.

My brother has moved a few times since his diagnosis.
It has been stressful for him and that stress came out in the form of a lack enthusiasm during the actual move process, clear aggravation, and being uncharacteristically obstinate.
It honestly did make moving furniture somewhat stressful, but he did participate in the parts of the move where we really needed his strength.

That said, I wouldn’t consider it a roadblock.
He participated, despite his level of stress and discomfort. And I would even say he provided a vital degree of effort and dependability.

So, despite the fact that moving is stressful, I wouldn’t suggest abandoning the idea (unless it is apparent that it would be destructive).
The long term benefits usually out weigh the temporary difficulty. And the impact of stress can be offset by planning ahead well in advance and by making the time leading up to the day of the move as stress-free as possible.

We are definitely going on with the idea of moving… I am just acknowledging that it will be a stressful time.

I was just about to add to this thread that I read in a book called The Complete Family Guide to Schizophrenia that feelings of empowerment, responsibility, and purpose of life are a few of the important elements of the process of recovery. Helping her develop a routine may help provide those things for her… or at least start to…

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I will need to get that book!
Does it seem like it might be appropriate for the DX’d family member to read as well, or is it worded too frank / seem to be too pushy as written for a DX’d person to benefit from reading?

I am just in chapter 3, but it seems that it is geared toward the family members and how schizophrenia affects the loved ones life and the family and how to work together to help the loved one though the different aspects of this to work toward recovery… the focus is on developing family support.

It might be somewhat useful for a dx’d person who has insight… as it deals with issues such as school, work, recreation and social relationships…as well as dealing with anxiety, depression, and anger.

I like that it views recovery as a process rather than a cure.

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Regarding possibly taking a class -

Get the unknowns figured out - will credits transfer? What support programs might be in place for your daughter - many colleges provide accommodations for people with disabilities. For example, your daughter might be able to get some accommodations on test taking settings, note taking, etc.

Once all that is known, it might not seem so scary to her.

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Would they need a letter from the doctor for proof of disability?

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Another thing I just read in the book mentioned above is to support independent decision making… I may not always agree with her decisions and I can express my concerns and questions while respecting her choices. It encourages collaborative planning to help her move toward her goals. This chapter I am on is an overview of what the rest of the book will discuss. It looks like it is a good book for me to read at this time to help prepare her for after graduation.

It also mentions helping her find a peer support group… again more opportunities for this in the other city! There is a group called Mental Health America of Southern Tier that offers many such opportunities and other support and services as well as a support group for the family.

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I’m not sure, but there are always people to ask.

Probably look into what requirements the schools would have for qualifying for disability…

Yes. You don’t have to explain who you are inquiring for, or anything, but just start by calling admissions or student services and keep asking until you get to the right person.

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