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Is this illness a good enough reason not to work or reach goals?


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I've been told I quit when it gets tough as far as school and other goals of mine. How does one differentiate between being a quitter and being ill? I look back at my life and all that i wanted to accomplish by now and haven't accomplished one thing. I just don't handle stress very well. And for those around me to accuse me of being a quitter isn't very fun. I know my breaking point and once I reach it yes I do quit but if I go any further which I have tried in the past I get symptoms. So what am I to do if I can't be a productive member of society, and the people I live with or associate with think I'm a quitter and could do more in spite of my illness.

I don't know how others with psychotic illnesses achieved great things but then again these people came from upper class families or were already successful before getting ill. I come from a pretty poor family and going to college wasn't a given when I was younger. And became ill in highschool before I could reach my potential. I try not to be too hard on myself but sometimes even I question if I am giving enough of an effort to get off of ssi. I just don't know if I really am a quitter or just being smart by quitting once I reach the breaking point. What do normal people do when they reach their breaking point? Surely a normal persons breaking point comes less often than someone with a chronic psychotic disorder.

 

I currently have no energy to try anything to get out of my hole. I sleep 12+ hours a day and take naps as well. I just have no energy so I don't know how i'm expected to be a productive member of society when all the drugs i take are downers sapping my energy.

Edited by JustGotOut
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I don't have a psychotic illness, just depression, but I also struggle with the line between quitting/slacking and being ill. There have been times when I've really wondered about which side of the line I was on. I think it can be healthy to ask ourselves this from time to time. Our illnesses can dramatically affect our capabilities, but they don't remove basic human failings from the equation either.

That being said, it sounds like you have a pretty strong awareness of yourself and your particular circumstances, and why you are not as accomplished as you'd like to be. You know from experience that you have a breaking point, when you're getting close to it, and what happens if you cross it. You're also cognizant that it takes meds to make a person consistently sleep well over 12 hours a day -- mere laziness could not do that. It seems likely to me that you're doing the best you can with the hand you were dealt, which unfortunately is a harsh one. I've been grappling with mental illness for nearly 20 years now, and even I can't imagine the difficulty of living with a psychotic illness. The symptoms, the powerful meds and their side effects...it's incredibly hard. You have nothing like a level playing field with most of the rest of humanity.

How to get those around you to better understand this, I don't know. It's a question asked by a huge percentage of people with MI. Those who've never experienced it seem all but incapable of understanding at times, even when they're trying, which they're usually not. The best suggestion I can think of is to encourage them to become more educated about your illness. Try directing them to books, pamphlets, or websites about it, so they can learn the facts from authoritative third parties. You might even talk to your pdoc about selectively bringing a few of them into your appointments occasionally, so that the pdoc can help them understand what's going on with you in particular.

I wish you the best of luck with it, and hope you're able to make them understand the debilitating nature of your illness sooner or later. It's a really tough spot not just having a psychotic illness, but not having the full support of those around you in living with it.

Edited by Lone Sheep
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4 hours ago, JustGotOut said:

So what am I to do if I can't be a productive member of society, and the people I live with or associate with think I'm a quitter and could do more in spite of my illness.

 

IMO they aren't worth your time.  Clearly they don't know much of anything (or anything at all) about MI.  If they did they would not have said that to you.

iMO, what counts is that you know in your heart that you did the best job you could, and then things just didn't work out.  Sometimes it is out of your control (becoming symptomatic) and you don't have a chose of what to do.  You don't want to make symptoms worse ... and had you continued to do whatever it was, you might have gotten to a point of being IP or something ... when you could have prevented that by listening to yourself.

4 hours ago, JustGotOut said:

I don't know how others with psychotic illnesses achieved great things but then again these people came from upper class families or were already successful before getting ill.

(bold) I don't know either.  I think money can be a factor, but I think there are a lot of other variables that come into play also ... ie, therapy, meds, the people around them, the amount of support, friends, etc. That can all make a situation worse or better, depending on how you look at it.  Money isn't everything all the time (although I do agree with you it can be a bigger factor in some people's lives).

4 hours ago, JustGotOut said:

... I am giving enough of an effort to get off of ssi. I just don't know if I really am a quitter or just being smart by quitting once I reach the breaking point. What do normal people do when they reach their breaking point? Surely a normal persons breaking point comes less often than someone with a chronic psychotic disorder.

I think you are being smart to quit once you reach a breaking point.

I've never gotten to that point (unless you count going completely psychotic and off of meds) so I don't have any advice for that).

Maybe normal people reach their breaking point in other ways, where they need a few days off to re-group and lessen their stress (not get to the point where they have to quit.  Although I think some people who are not psychotic do this as well because of the demands of a job, stress level, etc).

 

 

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I agree with @melissaw72

There are a lot of people who are extremely ignorant about MI. And many are also ignorant about the impact psychosis has on an individual. Telling someone they're quitters when things get hard is hurtful and they may not realize it or might be saying it as "tough love" and not realize how unhelpful that is.

"Quitting" is sometimes necessary to keep you from getting worse. Some have to stop doing something, take a break or take it slower to prevent their symptoms from getting more severe. 

A good treatment plan and support system make a world of difference. Some have that and are able to take it slow and can sometimes continue doing what they want to do. Either way, it's okay. You have to do what works best for you with your current support, treatment and severity of your symptoms. 

Normal people reach a point of breaking all the time. Taking time off to regroup, lessening their workload and having support are things they may be able to do. Hell, some even quit that job and go to another. I know "normal" people who have reached that point. 

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I'm bipolar, not schizophrenic, and I have had multiple episodes of debilitating mania and depression. They've led me to leave school, lose jobs, end relationships...sometimes I've done these things because I wanted to, and sometimes I've done it out of absolute necessity, because I had to live. 

Doors have been closed to me, undoubtedly; I'm not what I expected to be when I grew up, or even what I thought I'd be when I thought about my life in my 20's or 30's. I find other things to do, other things to want. 

And I'm here to do them, and want them. That's the part that matters most. 

No one knows what you've gone through but you, and you have nothing to prove to anyone.

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You're not alone. I've never been able to hold a job and I have many failed attempts of trying to go to college. I would LOVE to do those things,but every time I do,I end up in the hospital. Anytime I'm under alot of stress or pressure,I go off the deep end. People,including some family member's,consider me to be lazy and a quitter. In the past,that would make me feel bad and have low self-esteem. But,I realized those people don't matter and they're ignorant when it comes to mental illnesses. They have no clue about the struggles we face. The hell with what others think. You have to do what's best for you and take care of yourself. At some point,if you feel like you can handle it,go for it! I just haven't reached that point yet. Unfortunately,even if I were rich,that still wouldn't change anything. I still have hope that one day I can find a job I can handle. But,until then I'm just gonna take care of me. Best of luck!

Edited by Dixiechick
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I wish I knew the answer. Accepting my limitations is a huge struggle and I ruminate too much about my perceived failures. Still trying to figure this all out... I wonder if I ever will. At some point I'll run out of time. It's quite frustrating.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i dont work due to my mental health and i cant hold a job down due to my mental health my husband is my full time carer  he dont work because i need him he as am a danger to myself at home on my own and i cant leave the house without him ... unsure what going on with uk government they are changing  the rules about who will get benefits and who will not there making things hard for disabled people making them work when they are clearly  ill  some people have died due to the government being harder on the disabled  the government dont give a fuck about disabled people especially people with mental health issues  they say that people who have anxiety can work  they dont have anything wrong with them ...when some people are too scared to walk out the house by themselves  because it in the news this puts added stress on people with mental health issues and disabled people .

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This is a great thread. I constantly struggle with this question. "Am I trying hard enough? Could I be doing more? Have I just given up?" I've lost several jobs due to severe, chronic depression and anxiety, and now I haven't worked in years (long story). I think if I already had the "right" (low stress) job, I could probably do it and go on with it. But from the position of being unemployed, working seems like climbing Mt. Everest right now. The thought of actually going out and finding a job and interviewing gives me a lot of anxiety, in and of itself. My problem is that I haven't worked in so long that I have no idea how to explain the gap in my resume. I can't be honest because, let's face it, who really wants to hire a "crazy" person? My other problem is that I have a college degree and I used to work in a professional field. I can't really go back to that because resume gaps are a huge red flag for salary type positions and I don't think I could handle the stress of those jobs anyways. But then if I apply to a lower level job, they might consider me "overqualified." So I'm just stuck....paralyzed. 

I beat myself up for being unemployed because some days I do actually think I could be working. Having all this extra time to ruminate doesn't help matters. 

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MI making you unable to work, study, etc., either directly or because doing such things makes you symptomatic, does not make you a "quitter" - MI is not your fault, and likewise not being able to work or study due to one's MI is not one's fault. People who call you a "quitter" almost certainly do not understand what MI entails.

That said, I personally have done my damnedest to stay employed despite my MI no matter how symptomatic I am, even if I am basically showing up at work, doing nothing, then leaving eight hours later. I cannot possibly see myself not working, I feel worthless when I cannot effectively work (even when still employed per se), and I feel I need the structure of work or otherwise I would do nothing at all. But I am not everyone, and just because I have largely managed to remain employed, with some breaks in between jobs here and there, does not mean everyone can.

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