Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Writing their own manual

I read an article from my ADD magazine that I thought very interesting and was thinking it is relevant to any mental illness… including schizophrenia. Our loved ones’ brains work differently than ours… and they might be able to write their own manual on what works for them. They don’t have to fit into the “norm” whatever that might be… they can fit into their own definition of success.

For example, my daughter’s success doesn’t have to fit into their norm of going to college…
She may very well have her own way to attain a meaningful life.

Our society puts so many expectations on people…
And for our loved ones it is difficult to fit within those expectations.

For me even the little successes are meaningful.


I agree, part of peoples problems is accepting the social environment as normal but they don’t realize its a selfish winner takes all capitalist environment which is contributing to mental illness. Personally I think mental illness is a multifaceted reaction to the social environment.


None of my children went to college. The three who are not ill have good jobs, and good lives, and positive futures. The two boys got into sales, the daughter is married with children and is being an artist. My ill daughter could not have done college even before her illness started.

I think just encouraging your daughter along her goals will help her find her path.

My son, eventually, after living a simple life for several years, without the stress of work or living in close quarters with another person, did seem to write his own survival manual.

Its not at all what I would have wanted for him many years ago, it is what he wants and so far he has been able to make it work. My son desperately wanted to have a job. Just the few hours he is able to work a month makes a difference in how he feels about himself. As my Family to Family instructor taught, their goals have to be what they want to do. I should be grateful that he has scaled down his expectations into something that he can handle in his unmedicated status.

I know that delusions will always be building up and I believe that he is able to deal with them better thanks to Cognitive Behavior Therapy. His initial diagnosing psychiatrist had suggested CBT to him as a way to deal with strangers yelling at him in public (when he hears his voices he attributes them to whoever is closet. After about 2 years after getting that advice, he tried it. He wanted to be able grocery shop for himself again. I think he has built on his CBT skills ever since that first success. What made him try it was that he wanted to do it all on his own. His theme all along has been that he wanted to be in control of his decisions. Once we began to support that, everything seems to have gone better for him.