Complete recovery from schizophrenia is sadly the exception rather than the rule. Whether it’s due to severity of the pathophysiology or a combination of other factors, people suffering from schizophrenia usually become chronically impaired. Their functional abilities decline. Their medications, as wonderful as they are, leave them stuporous and undermine their health. They become ‘locked’ into a state which defines what they can do and what they can’t do.
Miracles still happen, though! When given useful psychotherapy, support, and opportunities, people can enjoy life a bit more. They can become more active in their families and communities. They can find new zest in life, moving from mere, colorless existence to raucous, joyous living.
This was driven home to me many years ago when I coordinated an aftercare group for adults who had been considered to be hopelessly locked into their psychiatric disability. This group was developed in response to a wonderful initiative taken by the Old Navy & Gap clothing stores. The owners of the chain had instituted a policy that all of their stores were required to employ a significant percentage of adults with severe psychiatric illness and disability.
In order to support that initiative the company expanded its mental health insurance coverage and also worked with local plinics to support their workers. My hospital was located in the same area where Old Navy had ten stores; and that’s how our group came to be.
Sitting down together in those first months however was a bit difficult. Members were shy, much like one might expect out of someone diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Until the coffe maker broke.
To be continued…