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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.

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