Schizophrenia Changed My Path, but I’m Still Working Towards My Goals

It’s not always easy to accomplish your goals. Sometimes it takes a million tries to get one success, you know? But the reward you get from that success, from solving a problem or seeing the outcome of your effort, makes you feel really good. Living with schizophrenia sometimes means I need to find different ways to keep moving forward, but I’m determined to get there. I’ve combined my hard work with support from my doctor and family, allowing me to feel good about what the future holds. I have schizophrenia but I also have life goals I want to achieve.

While my diagnosis felt disheartening, it was also a relief. I found it helpful to understand why my thought process felt illogical and why my reality felt bizarre at times. Thinking about the goals I had for myself, I realized I needed to go at a slower pace and I wasn’t sure how to move forward. I was a straight-A student, though, and knew I wanted to accomplish things in life—it just might happen a little differently than I had planned.

Instead of a four-year degree, I decided to enroll at a local community college and started taking a few classes at a time in a variety of subjects, while also taking on jobs outside of school. I took one math class every single semester and before I knew it, I was done with the full calculus sequence. Over time, I finished my associate and bachelor’s degrees, and I hope to continue my education with a master’s in computer science to study database management. It has been a long road, but I keep at it.

Support from my doctor and my family has been extremely important to me. I’ve been going to the same doctor for years now and he has always been super optimistic. When I tell him I got a new job or I’m getting A’s in class, he’s really excited for me and encourages me as I work toward my treatment goals. It also helps to talk to my family about how I’m doing. They share valuable insights and are always there for me.

My advice for others is this: Don’t let a diagnosis of schizophrenia keep you from moving forward. It’s not always easy to accomplish your goals, but it’s possible. And sometimes, the extra work makes you feel that much prouder when you accomplish a goal, big or small. There may be ups and downs, but just take it one day at a time. If you stay focused, work with your doctor and listen to the people who care about you, you can achieve—even if the path may be different than what you anticipated.

To view Patrick’s story including his treatment journey, click here.

Via Getty Images

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Schizophrenia

Homeless man sleep on the street, in the shadow of the building.

The Headline Read: 'Man Killed in Portland Battled Schizophrenia.' That Man Could Have Been My Son.

The headline read: Man Killed in Southeast Portland Battled Schizophrenia for Years Leading to Homelessness. When I read the headline my heart stopped because I knew in my heart I could be reading my 25-year-old son was dead. The article said that Portland police identified the victim not as my son, but as Jason Gerald [...]
Hands making heart shape behind distorted glass

What It's Like Being Married to Someone With Schizophrenia

What’s it like being married to someone with schizophrenia? Well, I guess you could say it’s like any other marriage. It has its ups and downs, good days and bad days. Mostly, it has (and needs) lots of love and compassion. Like any marriage, it’s not an easy road, but man is it ever rewarding. [...]
tiffany haddish

Why It's Important This 'Girls Trip' Star Is Opening Up About Her Mom's Mental Illness

By now, we know Tiffany Haddish by her famous line, “She Ready,” her hilarious character portrayal of Dina from the movie “Girls Trip” and her hosting of Saturday Night Live. Haddish recently shared her story about raising her siblings, being homeless, getting divorced, being in foster care and her brief time as a member of [...]
Double exposure of young handsome businessman

Why We Need Providers Who Specialize in Psychosis

This story is for the mental health providers or peer counselors who are invested in developing treatment programs for people who have experienced psychosis across diagnostic categories. I want to help other interested parties develop their own practice so that an important need gets addressed. I was hired straight out of college to work in the [...]