Before my first psychotic break, I had lots of friends, I was very involved in the performing arts at my high school-- drama, dance, music. When I got back home from the hospital, all I wanted to do was stay in my bedroom.
I think what helped me the most were my cousins who live nearby. I was very close to them, and they were my best friends before my first psychotic break, and they did not abandon me after I got out of the hospital, unlike most of my my other friends. They kept coming over to see me, even when I didn’t want to see them, and they wouldn’t take no for an answer and eventually wore me down. They didn’t let me isolate myself. My parents also forced me out into social activities, even at sometimes great embarrassment to me and to themselves because of my behaviors and the things I said. And the inappropriate laughing to myself about what the voices were saying. And talking to the voices. It was just a given that no matter what, I was not going be left alone. I was going to have visitors. I was going to go with my family wherever they went even if I didn’t want to go with them. And if I absolutely refused, as I did, then I got locked out of the house to let me know that it would not be tolerated. They were not going to tolerate me isolating myself in my cushy comfy bedroom where I felt safe and never wanted to leave.
The constant stimulation of always interacting with cousins on a regular basis, always going places with my mom, on errands, always knowing I literally had to go with my family to social events and gatherings whether I wanted to or not, it was just a given, that helped me so much because it kept me from completely withdrawing from everyone, everything, and isolating myself like I so desperately wanted to do.
As for jobs, that’s not easy. I knew someone from high school whose dad owned the business I currently work part-time at. And his dad had a sister who had schizophrenia, so he is sensitive to my needs. I’m also training with an uncle, as an electrician’s apprentice, learning the electrical trade.