SAKS: Even when I am feeling symptoms, when I am working they usually recede—they become sideline rather than front-and-center.
Work focuses my mind and provides a sense of self-esteem.
I began to feel the houses were getting weird; they were sending me messages: “You are special. COOK: Can you sum up the subjective experience of breakdown, so that people might understand what a person with schizophrenia is going through?
SAKS: Subjectively, the best comparison I can make is to a waking nightmare.
Indeed, I really noticed how important work is to my stability when it became clear that the worst part of each day was always the evening—the time I didn’t have the structure of work to contain me and help keep my thoughts organized. Do you ever say to yourself -- I think I need to do some work now, because I feel like I am slipping?
Conversely, are there times when the stress of work aggravates your schizophrenia?
That’s the main reason I have largely stopped accepting invitations to speak.
For the most part, though, my job involves thinking and writing, and those, for me, are enormously gratifying.
And at the far end I am crouching in a corner shaking and moaning.
The transient psychotic thoughts I might have several times a day.