Piece of Cake

Long-term studies reveal that about 15 percent of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia can achieve a spontaneous remission. That’s a minority of us. If you’re so lucky, more power to you.

Taking medication is often the jet fuel that powers talk therapy and cognitive behavior therapy.

We can’t keep squabbling about whether or not a person diagnosed with schizophrenia should or shouldn’t take medication. That’s not the point. It goes without saying that a minority of us won’t need ongoing maintenance medication.

The point is that for too long–going on decades now–people who needed medication have gone without it for too long.

I choose to talk about my own experiences instead of parroting clinical trials though.

The point is that individuals who require maintenance medication have been disparaged from taking it. Either we’re denied treatment or we’re told that the treatment is going to disable us or kill us.

Research indicates that people who consistently take their SZ medication live longer. Mostly because we become well enough to be proactive in getting help for other medical conditions we might have. That’s all I’ll say on this.

It’s time. The RAISE study corroborates that it’s time to set our sights higher for what individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia are capable of achieving when we get the right help right away.

It’s time for mental health staff to change their tune and to offer us support, appropriate medication, and practical career and housing counseling.

The days should be long gone when everyone’s told a “take a number” from a bakery line number dispenser and get in line to buy the day’s product. For too long we were given numbers to wait in line in a bakery that sold only one product: cookies cut from the same mold.

Do bakeries even have or use that ticker that you pull out a number from anymore like they did in the 1980s?

I lived in a time when only one option was available. I lived in a time when only I and three other women dared risk creating a better life for ourselves in opposition to the prevailing wisdom that recovery wasn’t possible. I wonder if others got out after we left.

I give talks at the Zucker-Hillside IPRT and I’ve done this for over 10 years now. An IPRT is an Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation Treatment Center. This one in Hollis, Queens in New York helps its clients set and achieve a goal with a 12 to 24 month completion date. I recommend the Zucker-Hillside IPRT without reservation.

Today is the day to set our sights higher.

It’s the day that now more than ever having a full and robust life is possible.

Make mine a chocolate pudding cup..

What’s yours?

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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