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I would work at menial jobs when my symptoms were quiet. They were graduate students, managers, technicians and professionals, including a doctor, lawyer, psychologist and chief executive of a nonprofit group.
We learned that, in addition to medication and therapy, all the participants had developed techniques to keep their schizophrenia at bay. An educator with a master’s degree said he had learned to face his hallucinations and ask, “What’s the evidence for that? ” Another participant said, “I hear derogatory voices all the time. You just gotta blow them off.” Part of vigilance about symptoms was “identifying triggers” to “prevent a fuller blown experience of symptoms,” said a participant who works as a coordinator at a nonprofit group.They should encourage patients to find their own repertory of techniques to manage their symptoms and aim for a quality of life as they define it.And they should provide patients with the resources — therapy, medication and support — to make these things happen.I eat comfort food (for me, cereal) and listen to quiet music. Usually these techniques, combined with more medication and therapy, will make the symptoms pass.But the work piece — using my mind — is my best defense. My mind, I have come to say, is both my worst enemy and my best friend.
For some, this meant keeping their living space simple (bare walls, no TV, only quiet music), while for others, it meant distracting music.