5 Thoughts on Schizophrenia Recovery at Mid Life

Patient Expert
Thinkstock

This month I turned 50. This was taken two weeks before my birthday. I treated myself to a makeup lesson to celebrate. In our older years the motto should be: "Have more fun!"

I want to revisit schizophrenia recovery at mid life because it should be a public health priority. Here's my list of the top five thoughts I've had at mid life:

Think positively.

Life isn't easy living with schizophrenia. If the grass seems greener in front of another person's house, it's time to plant seeds and water and nurture your own garden. You and I don't know the life other people live inside their heads or their apartments. Most people bluff rather than wanting to appear weak or out of control. Focusing on the negative and harboring jealousy can age a person faster.

Understand that perfection is a myth because it implies there can be no growth.

The older I get, the less interested I am in keeping up appearances and striving to do everything perfectly and act perfectly at all times. The goal as I see it now is continual self-improvement. The thinking has turned around in certain experts' minds that people can grow and change throughout our lives, that there is no end-point to developing our personality.

Act with compassion toward yourself and others.

As I roll along in my life, I strive to practice forgiveness instead of being critical of perceived failures or mistakes. We're here to make mistakes so we can learn what not to do the next time and gain self-confidence.

Find what gives you joy and go do that.

Giving ourselves new challenges in our older years is a way to lighten up. You just might be surprised where a later-in-life passion takes you.

Or you can go back to a childhood love that fell by the wayside. After I came out of the hospital in 1987, I stopped doing my art. Twenty-five years later in 2012 I painted a sunflower and then sketched a self-portrait. Read my SharePosts on the  benefits of art making  and on  getting credentials
to boost your mood
 and on  using music as therapy  in schizophrenia recovery.

Get support for yourself and support others as you get older.

Individuals who maintain close relationships have better outcomes in their senior years. Join a peer support group by calling NAMI at (800) 950-6264 to find the info about your local chapter. Read my SharePosts on  creating a self-care routine  and  geriatric psychiatry.

Two positive takeaways:

You can have a better life later in life than you did just starting out in your recovery.

A recent New York Times article on March 23rd chronicled senior citizens who achieved breakthrough happiness by taking up an instrument, creating their own business, and publishing poetry books in their golden years. These are just a few of the new endeavors started by people in their fifties, sixties, and seventies.

The schizophrenia symptoms could attenuate later in life as well and not be as severe for some of us.

Whether or not your mood or mind mellows, I have one surprising suggestion: see the humor in things. All human beings need light and love and laughter. See what you can do to give these things to yourself and others. Attend a comedy club. Watch a Warner Brothers Looney Tunes cartoon marathon.

Related SharePosts on recovery and older adults:

Achieving positive changes in schizophrenia recovery at mid life
Christina Bruni's 25th anniversary in recovery Mourning our past lives and moving into a new life

Developing self-esteem to feel good about ourselves as we age