We are the Champions

I’m going to expand upon an earlier blog entry.

To me it’s misleading (and unhelpful) to conflate remission with recovery. The literature should state: “Historically, 25 percent of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia achieve remission and are symptom-free.” NOT “Twenty-five percent are recovered.”

I have in my former nine-year job as the Health Guide at HealthCentral stated that recovery is possible and is a noble goal.

Like any stock prospectus will tell a potential shareholder: “Past history is not a guarantee of future returns.”

With quicker, individualized treatment, appropriate medication, and practical career counseling (I call this the Triangle of Mental Health) sure it could be possible that in the future more than 25 percent of us achieve remission.

In the current climate of delayed or denied treatment it’s no wonder not everyone achieves remission quickly and that some of us don’t achieve it at all even with taking medication.

Thus I have always maintained that achieving your own version of “recovery” is a noble goal. I’ve made the case that you can recover even if you’re not in remission.

This might be “splitting hairs.” It might be making a clear-cut distinction that no one else cares to define in these terms. Yet I separate the two concepts for good reason: a lot of people who hear voices can hold down a job. Some of them have college degrees.

In reality, where it counts more in the real world, it doesn’t always matter if you’re not in remission, as long as you can function and go about your life in as comfortable a way as possible.

Let’s face it: living with schizophrenia is hard for a lot of people, especially for those of us denied treatment or who got delayed treatment.

We’ll never see ourselves on a Wheaties cereal box, even though we ARE champions competing in the game of our lives every day.

We deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, compassion, and kindness.

This is my Christmas Tale of Hope: that now that our U.S. government is devoting funds to FEP (first-episode psychosis) treatment: remission will be possible for more people.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. 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 a fitness buff.

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