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Ask Slashdot: Working With Others, As a Schizophrenic Developer?

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the brains-play-tricks-sometimes dept.

Medicine 218

An anonymous reader writes: "I hope there are a few open source developers on Slashdot who understand this. As a developer who works alone and remotely (while living with my own family) — and is schizophrenic — there would be times I would feel very high (a surge of uncontrollable thoughts), or low because of the kind of failures that some patients with mental illness would have, and because of the emotional difficulty of being physically alone for 8 hours a day. This led me to decide to work physically together with my co-workers. Have you been in this situation before? If you have, how well did you manage it? (Medications are a part of the therapy as well.)"

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218 comments

Build trust (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760605)

Your ability to be productive and stay on the "happy path" will come from the ability to trust your team, trust yourself, and have your team trust you. I'd start with setting and achieving goals, and asking for help early in the process if you feel things start to slip.

Re:Build trust -- this is a normal situation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761507)

Every worker has or has had a "wacko" boss. Most noticeable among my "wacko" bosses have been a bi-polar, a narcissist, and a lot of dysfunctional control freaks. Some have had behavioral/environmental problems and some have had physiological problems. If they are honest and share this, the work group will accept them and everyone thrives. It like, this "wacko" is My "wacko". Those that try to hide that they are "wacko" are unacceptable bosses and nobody likes them.

I would suggest that honest is the best policy in the long run. Some people will back off but may start interacting as co-workers later. Some will never interact. Some will accept you and your limitation--these make you "their wacko". With these colleagues, the work group will grow better--better able to be honest, to accept your limitations, to function like groups of people do. The embracing of "wacko" people is quite liberating and fulfills some of our basic human desires.

To anyone who thinks the use of "wacko" is inappropriate, I really don't care. I'm not using it a professional sense as a therapist would use it but as a layman. I work and live with "wacko" people and I come from a family full of "wacko" people. Everyone has the ability to like and love "wacko". If fact you either already do or you are the "wacko" that needs (and hopefully has) community.

No experience, but... (5, Insightful)

jddj (1085169) | about 7 months ago | (#45760615)

What with the usual tenor of Slashdot comments, wanted to say early: awesome that you're working, doing it, trying to live in the "normal" world, where the normals don't often understand. My heart and thoughts are with you.

Best advice anyone can give you.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761493)

Kill yourself.

Imagine life is an RPG and you realise you've made some really dumb decisions in your char build. You can either continue playing as an excuse to do random shit like go on mass murder sprees against the NPCs, or just click on New Game. I think it's obvious which option is most favorable for everyone.

Jokes about filesystems and antivirus scanners (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760629)

coming 3... 2... 1...

Re:Jokes about filesystems and antivirus scanners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761125)

Wrong thread I guess..

barking up wrong tree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760641)

I, for one, would not want software written by a madman, unless it was well-audited by people whose sanity I trust.

I'm not convinced that "software developer" is an appropriate job for a raving psychopath.

Re:barking up wrong tree (5, Informative)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 7 months ago | (#45760715)

Schizophrenia isn't psychopathy. Not that psychopathy is a condition that would affect the quality of code.

You should educate yourself about mental illness. You clearly do not understand it.

Further, it's illegal to discriminate against the mentally ill.

Re:barking up wrong tree (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760835)

Further, it's illegal to discriminate against the mentally ill.

It's immoral to discriminate against anyone, but using laws as your thug to support your view only makes you look the part of a true coward.

Re:barking up wrong tree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761187)

the retard above and the retard who modded him up should kill themselves

Re:Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761473)

Yet tou are commiting a dumb crime on the internetso who is the retard...!

Re:barking up wrong tree (2)

RandomAvatar (2487198) | about 7 months ago | (#45761421)

Section 15 of the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms states "Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability". Notice that last part, "mental or physical disability". If a company discriminates against someone with a mental disability in Canada, they had best be prepared for some legal action to be taken. Also, look up the difference between a psychopath and someone with Schizophrenia.

Re:barking up wrong tree (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761375)

Further, it's illegal to discriminate against the mentally ill

Not entirely. A mentally ill person must be diagnosed and be following the treatment of their doctor. We're going through this a bit where I work. We have an employee who is clearly suffering from borderline personality disorder and he's caused no end of grief for his managers and coworkers. Yet he refuses to seek professional help and the process has started to fire him for his behavior.

Also, businesses must only offer reasonable accommodations. If the illness requires an unreasonable accommodation, the employer does not have to provide it.

Re:barking up wrong tree (1)

qazsedcft (911254) | about 7 months ago | (#45760763)

How ignorant. What the fuck does psychopathy [wikipedia.org] have to do with schizophrenia [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:barking up wrong tree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761019)

Psychopathy means pathology of the psyche. Nothing more, nothing less. Schizophrenia is an obvious example thereof.
That someone has corrupted the definition in order to avoid offending actual psychopaths is not my problem, and I'll have no part in it.

Re:barking up wrong tree (4, Informative)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 7 months ago | (#45761383)

Psychopathy means pathology of the psyche. Nothing more, nothing less.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

from Wikipedia:

Psychopathy is defined as either an aspect of personality or as a personality disorder, characterized by enduring dissocial or antisocial behavior, a diminished capacity for empathy or remorse, and poor behavioral controls or fearless dominance. There are various definitions which are only partly overlapping and sometimes appear contradictory.

There is little point in arguing over definitions, much less so if you are trying to turn the conventional usage on it's head. Based on the context:

I'm not convinced that "software developer" is an appropriate job for a raving psychopath.

It is clear the person he was replying to (you?) was using the conventional meaning, not the archaic one you listed above.

Re:barking up wrong tree (0, Troll)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 7 months ago | (#45760829)

This is why I do not use Ubuntu.

Re:barking up wrong tree (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#45760955)

Me neither. But what's that got to do with the question at hand?

Re:barking up wrong tree (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about 7 months ago | (#45761011)

The OP does not say that he is a 'raving psychopath'. He says that he has schizophrenia, like two million other people in the United States. It's an unpleasant condition for the sufferer, but one that a lot of people manage to live perfectly well with.

Re:barking up wrong tree (3, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 7 months ago | (#45761185)

Many people working in professional fields suffer from mental illness. Just because someone has a mental illness doesn't mean they can only flip burgers or pick up trash. Also, based on the tone of your comment it seems likely you should seek treatment as well, since you sound more like a "raving psychopath" than the person you are replying to.

Re:barking up wrong tree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761213)

Interestingly, your post makes you look like an absolute psycopath, as per the current definition.

Re:barking up wrong tree (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about 7 months ago | (#45761231)

I normally do not deign to reply to cowardly and anonymous posters. But this your reaction begs and screams for answer. You, Sir, are so gross toward this courageous person that, if you had an account here, you would have instantaneously merited to have that account closed down. This is SO MUCH below any level of decency and respect that I find no words for it.

Don't stop your meds! (4, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | about 7 months ago | (#45760643)

...for any reason... Ever!

Re:Don't stop your meds! (0)

rvw (755107) | about 7 months ago | (#45760867)

...for any reason... Ever!

Don't ever reply with these stupid comments - for any reason - ever!

Do you really think a comment like this makes a difference? Would any mentally ill person follow your advice? If they decide (consciously or not) to stop taking medication because it's no good for them anymore, then they will stop. Comments like these will mean nothing or do the opposite.

The story submitter probably takes his medication, and has insight in his illness. That is about the best you can wish for with illnesses like these.

Re:Don't stop your meds! (5, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | about 7 months ago | (#45760967)

I am a doctor with many years experience working in the ER. I have encountered many schizophrenic patients who have stopped taking their meds, end up unable to cope and need hospital admission. What happens is that people feel better (because of their meds) and begin to think that they don't need the meds so they stop.
Just don't stop taking your meds. The reason you are feeling better is because of the meds. Just don't stop.

Re:Don't stop your meds! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761027)

I am a doctor with many years experience working in the ER.

No, you are not.

You an undergrad with an "eye" on med school. Probably will not happen.

Re:Don't stop your meds! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761597)

kill yourself

Re:Don't stop your meds! (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 months ago | (#45761763)

kill yourself

Why? I'm having way too much fun watching you masturbate in your mom's basement on "Chat Roulette". Where did you get those "granny panties"?

Re:Don't stop your meds! (5, Informative)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 7 months ago | (#45761823)

Unlikely. His post history mentions at other points being in his 60's and has referred to medical school. A fake profile with a decade of history seems like a lot of effort to go through to pretend to be a doctor on a tech forum. Not impossible, but I'm going to go with Occam's Razor on this one.

Re:Don't stop your meds! (2)

rvw (755107) | about 7 months ago | (#45761323)

I am a doctor with many years experience working in the ER. I have encountered many schizophrenic patients who have stopped taking their meds, end up unable to cope and need hospital admission.

I have someone close with this illness who takes the medication. What I do know is that this is an advice that is useless in the sense that the people who need this advice generally don't take it from people they don't know. People who take meds, and then decide to stop for some paranoid reason won't be reached with this advice as well.

Re:Don't stop your meds! (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 7 months ago | (#45761437)

So... best to give up and not offer advice at all?
I believe that the OP was asking for advice: "Ask Slashdot".

Re:Don't stop your meds! (0)

ultranova (717540) | about 7 months ago | (#45761653)

I am a doctor with many years experience working in the ER.

You are a random pseudonym on an Internet forum. Taking medical advice from you would be no better than taking medical advice from the voices in one's head. Sucks if you actually are a medical professional, but that's the price of anonymity.

Re:Don't stop your meds! (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 7 months ago | (#45760969)

In a previous life, I worked with mostly medicated kids in a clinical K-12 setting. It was absolutely the norm for them to be inconsistent with their meds. Granted, these are kids and not adults (though we did have some 18 and 19 year olds), but being consistent with your meds (especially the heavy anti-psychotics that doctors are "best guessing" to their effects on the patient) is not something a lot of people are capable of.

Re:Don't stop your meds! (0)

PCM2 (4486) | about 7 months ago | (#45761043)

In a previous life, I worked with mostly medicated kids in a clinical K-12 setting. It was absolutely the norm for them to be inconsistent with their meds.

I've been told that the segment of people on meds for psychological disorders who go off their meds when they shouldn't, at some point in their treatment, approaches 100 percent. (And when I say "when they shouldn't have," I mean the solution for the problems that inevitably arise ends up being to get back on the meds, or similar ones.)

Re:Don't stop your meds! (1)

DontScotty (978874) | about 7 months ago | (#45761341)

"Do you really think a comment like this makes a difference? Would any mentally ill person follow your advice?"

Yes, they would. Hearing this advice - and it's twin of "Do not adjust your own medication without doctor's okay" ARE helpful. Intellectually, we know not to fuck with our meds. However, there are times we think that we know better than ourselves.

His positive comment is a reminder that while we may be feeling better, it is NOT okay for us to stop doing what we are doing.
Just like the chiming little bell in your car if you haven't fastened your seat belt - that little nudge to be compliant with your safety might be the difference between ejection from the front seat or sore shoulders from the harness.

Re:Don't stop your meds! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761471)

The Internet is filled with people urging the mentally ill to give up their medications and seek "alternative" cures. Quite often these people are mentally ill themselves, and are sure their non-medicated solution is really working. Sadly we rarely get any follow-up posts to find out how effective these alternative methods actually are. It is an extraordinarily dangerous and selfish thing to urge people to give up medication to utilize unscientific, unproven treatment options.

For example, people commonly tell those who are depressed to stop medicating and use medical marijuana instead, a substance which actually exacerbates depression when used routinely, which is a matter of medical fact. This is unsound and dangerous advice, yet there are no shortage of people absolutely convinced that their anecdotal evidence is solid scientific proof. You can find the same arguments for homeopathic medicine, anti-vaccination arguments, herbal remedies, etc. Absolutely none of it is based on any kind of repeatable, testable, provable science.

Your comment is ignorant and rude. mspohr was giving good advice, period.

Re:Don't stop your meds! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760909)

Unless you've been misdiagnosed? Not even for that?

Re:Don't stop your meds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760921)

I take this [youtube.com] and some of this [youtube.com]

Re:Don't stop your meds! (5, Insightful)

shadowofwind (1209890) | about 7 months ago | (#45761785)

I think your advice was reasonable, based on your experience, and it was reasonable for you to offer it.

I do have a partial disagreement with it though. Medications have side effects, often significantly undesirable, and there isn't a clear, universally applicable line which distinguishes all schizophrenics from all non-schizophrenics. I have had symptoms which meet the definition of schizophrenia, and I had them a lot more for a couple of years before they went away again. Suppose I had decided it was a problem worth getting medication for. Then I could never stop the medications again? That would seem like a good reason to be very cautious about ever starting treatment.

My sister is a doctor in a big city ER, so I can imagine what your experience is like. But that's a skewed sample. It doesn't include the much larger number of mild schizophrenics who never wind up in the ER. Also, many doctors are not very interested in understanding the more subtle tradeoffs with medications and their significance, and they prescribe drugs casually if the patient seems to be asking for it, or for the sake of doing some kind of treatment to cover their own liability or to justify the visit. How large a portion of doctors have that kind of arrogance I don't know, because I've encountered both. But the percentage who went into medicine because of some combination of attraction to money, having power over people, and vicarious sadism is not small. Particularly in the more difficult areas like mental health and ER work.

schizophrenic (2)

vrhino (2987119) | about 7 months ago | (#45760651)

Thinking of my experiences on commercial development teams in the USA, I think you should be prepared 1) to deal with a lot of prejudice and 2) to find infrequent interactions that are compassionate and gratifying.

Advice from the former coworker of a schizo. (5, Interesting)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#45760691)

We understand, to some extent, why you are so difficult to work with. We can make some accommodation.

But if your having a bad day, take your ass home. Don't get self righteous. ADA does not make you right.

Re:Advice from the former coworker of a schizo. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761191)

A "schizo"? Really? And you say other people are difficult to work with?

I have worked with people who are schizophrenic in the past. Their behavior can be out of the normal range but in that divergence there is a reassuring 'pattern.' Over time you know what to expect based on the mood of the person.

And you know that their mood swings are a result of chemistry they have not control over, not out of malice.

The species I find impossible to work with is bigoted, intolerant fucks like you. There is no pattern in the behavior of an ass-hole. You never know when he's going to stab you in the back.

Re:Advice from the former coworker of a schizo. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761397)

Tone is important and yours seems far more aggressive than the parent's. Schizo is a contraction which is used by some schizophrenics and their friends/family when referring to the condition. Yes, some find it offensive, but the words "nerd" and "geek" can also carry negative connotations, and the word "nigger" is frequently used by coloured people without the offensive connotations that if would have coming from a KKK member.

Your use of "bigoted, intolerant fuck" takes what could have been a reasoned semantic/lexocogical argument and turns it into a big pile of hoisting from your own petard. (Petard is an old explosive weapon for breaking through castle walls incidentally, not a really stupid dog, just in case you take offence.)

One suggestion... (5, Insightful)

floobedy (3470583) | about 7 months ago | (#45760701)

You might try telling any new co-workers right away that you have schizophrenia. That way, there will be less confusion and misunderstanding by others. You could just mention it in a matter-of-fact sort of way, by talking about schizophrenia as just a chronic illness like so many others. That might de-mystify it for some people.

I worked with someone who had schizophrenia, and she simply told new co-workers right away. I thought it was a good way of handling it.

Best of luck.

Re:One suggestion... (4, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 7 months ago | (#45760821)

I absolutely agree... except about the "right away" part. I'd say give it a week or two for politics' sake.

I have ADHD, so while working I feel a mental compulsion to jump around between three or four projects at once. I know that one of those projects is always going to end up being the one preempted by everything else, because I usually have enough competence for three projects, but feel most comfortable juggling four. I keep Slashdot as that fourth.

When starting with a new team, I'll usually spend a week figuring out the team dynamics and demonstrating my abilities to the rest of the team. Yes, I keep Slashdot open on my computer, but I'm not slacking off. My projects still meet deadlines and work as promised. Once I can show that, I'll mention to people, often individually, that I have ADHD, and I'll explain with a few prepared sentences how I'm very uncomfortable being limited to focusing on a single task. Some folks will ask questions, others will just accept it, but generally speaking everyone is open by then to the idea that even though I'm mentally different, I can still be a productive member of the team.

I have met one person who was concerned about my capability. He was under the impression that having ADHD meant I would be unable to focus on anything, which is an unfortunate persistent myth. By explaining my condition at the end of a productive week, I was able to give clear and specific examples of when my ADHD was an asset, and describe my mitigation techniques when it was a liability. We ended up working well together.

Re:One suggestion... (3, Insightful)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 7 months ago | (#45760869)

That was pretty courageous of her... mental health issues still carry a stigma above and beyond other types of disorders, at least in the United States. If the OP isn't comfortable with revealing his/her schizophrenia, a possible middle ground would be to say: "I have a chronic illness that I have to be on medication for, and my moods can be unpredictable at times. Please don't take anything personally." Most people would attribute behavior fluctuations to side-effects of the meds, and that would be that.

And to the OP:

I really applaud the decision of getting out of the house and interacting with people. I was a full-time telecommuter once, and the isolation really does take its toll. I don't even like dead-quiet workspaces: I prefer going to work in an environment full of professional interaction and conversation. But if I were you, I would ease into it. Start with half-time: either 5 half-days or 2.5 full days a week (e.g., all Monday, all Wednesday, and Friday morning). Then adjust your schedule in a way that makes sense. If you work a full day, give yourself the lunch hour as alone-time to help you mentally regroup for the second half of the day.

Best of luck!

Re:One suggestion... (3, Insightful)

floobedy (3470583) | about 7 months ago | (#45761131)

That was pretty courageous of her... mental health issues still carry a stigma above and beyond other types of disorders, at least in the United States. If the OP isn't comfortable with revealing his/her schizophrenia, a possible middle ground would be to say: "I have a chronic illness that I have to be on medication for, and my moods can be unpredictable at times. Please don't take anything personally." Most people would attribute behavior fluctuations to side-effects of the meds, and that would be that.

I disagree with you about this. The problem is, if he says to others "I have some kind of illness", without specifying that it's schizophrenia, then that's treating it like a mystery or a stigma, not to be spoken about. That's treating it in hushed tones, once again, which causes the kind of rumors which the poster might prefer to avoid. Also mentioning "moods" will seem like an attempt at concealment or understatement, like he's depressed or moody.

If the poster has schizophrenia, then his co-workers are going to find out about it, sooner or later. It may as well be on the poster's terms.

Just treat it in a very matter-of-fact way. He could mention that he has schizophrenia in the same way you'd mention that you have diabetes and need to take an injection every once in awhile. It's a simple fact, like any other medical condition. It's out on the table right away--no need to be hidden or spoken about in hushed tones. That de-mystifies it.

Re:One suggestion... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761791)

As someone who has been working programming jobs for >20 years with schizoaffective disorder, I would NOT recommend outing yourself. I think public attitudes towards mental illness are often very biased and ill-informed. If you can "fake it" think that's the way to go. If you need to take time off for your illness, say it is depression or some other "more benign" affliction, possibly physical. It's your choice: do you tell the truth and ignore people who then treat you differently, or go through the effort to keep your private issues private. It's tough either way. Good luck.

--The mentally ill are just like normal people, only more so.

Good luck (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760705)

I think this is the first time I've posted anonymously to Slashdot in fifteen years...

Yes, it's tricky. Working alone, if you have mental health issues, can lead to a number of problems. As you say, you're very isolated, and that's emotionally difficult. But more, there's no-one else there to notice when things start going wrong for you. I know from my own experience that I don't always have good insight into how poorly I'm performing. But working in a commercial setting - in an office, against deadlines - can be a considerable stress raiser, and may make your situation worse.

This isn't always so. When I got my last job, I was seriously unwell and knew that I was. I very nearly didn't apply for the job because I thought I was too ill to do it. But when I actually got into the office, I found the work much easier than I expected and the team welcoming and generally good company, which boosted my self confidence and helped me towards a fairly rapid recovery.

I'd avoid medication if you can. Apart from all their other lovely side effects, anti-psychotics and anti-depressants can make you substantially less sharp, which may make you less able to do the job. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, if you can get it, is helpful to many people (including me). Maintain a good relationship with your doctor and make sure he or she knows your situation and your anxieties. Try to have someone around you who can watch out for changes in your behaviour and let you know when you're looking shaky.

And good luck!

Re:Good luck (4, Insightful)

dmr001 (103373) | about 7 months ago | (#45760847)

Attempting to treat an honest-to-goodness thought disorder like schizophrenia without medication is akin to treating near-sightedness with counseling. There's a place for cognitive therapy in schizophrenia but it's considered adjunctive treatment (among mainstream practitioners). There are a smattering of schizophrenics who can ignore auditory and visual hallucinations that are the hallmark of the disease, and anti-psychotics may indeed make some people feel less sharp (though that isn't universal). I'd wager that most people with schizophrenia are more capable of getting things done when they aren't beset by what are typically very vivid and often intrusive hallucinations. There are, of course alternative viewpoints [cmu.edu] , such as that of the Church of Scientology.

Re:Good luck (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761577)

(I am the grandparent poster)

Living with mental illness is hard. But those of us who have to do it have to do it long term. There are many reasons why being dependent on either anti-psychotics or SSRIs is a bad thing, one (as I said earlier) is that your cognitive ability is often impaired, and another is that if you have a crisis drugs don't help because you're already habituated to them. Yes, hallucinations are a real nuisance, and I've had times when couldn't reliably do stuff because of them. They're no fun. But they're also not the end of the world. Some people have to live in wheelchairs, and compared to that hallucinations are really not a very big deal.

I will repeat the advice I gave earlier: maintain a good relationship with your doctor and make sure he or she knows your situation and your anxieties. I'm not suggesting that anyone go off medication without medical advice or support.

Schizophrenia isn't fun but it's just another long term health condition and you can live with it. The thing which makes it most difficult to live with is the ill-informed and exaggerated fears of people who don't have it.

Re:Good luck (3, Insightful)

floobedy (3470583) | about 7 months ago | (#45761085)

I'd avoid medication if you can.

Don't advise people with schizophrenia to discontinue their medications! For many schizophrenics, it's important that they take their meds consistently. Many schizophrenics do not notice when they are getting worse.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, if you can get it, is helpful to many people (including me).

It's possible that you have a mental condition which is different from the poster's. What works for you might not be good advice for him.

Re:Good luck (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 months ago | (#45761105)

I'd avoid medication if you can.

Yes, that's just what I want, my confirmed schizophrenic coworker - no matter how much I like them or respect their work - going off their meds and having (in the words of the person who submitted the story) "a surge of uncontrollable thoughts" ... not to mention the emotional well being of all the other employees, who knows about this Top Brogrammer's physical ability to hurt people when flipping out? Possible access to dangerous weapons? Workplace suicide?

Yeah sure! Why not advise this individual with a medical issue to stop taking his/her psych meds. Are you a fucking doctor? Or do you just play one in the armchair in your living room?

Your "suggestion" is not in the best interest of the the person with the schizophrenic condition, nor his/her coworkers.

Scientologist Alert (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 months ago | (#45761117)

I'd avoid medication if you can.

How's Tom Cruise these days? Have you seen the latest Kirstie Alley extravaganza?

YOU ARE NUTS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760709)

Llllllierally !!

Re:YOU ARE NUTS !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761215)

If the poster really is literally an autonomous collective made of nuts, then schizophrenia or not this achievement is remarkable and should be celebrated!

I have a schizophrenic brother. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760711)

Basically, his affect is a bit flat because of the meds.

When he's doing bad, he knows enough to stay out of everyone's way. The sucky part is he starts to self-medicate with alcohol and pot.

What we do is give him space and sometimes, he needs a break from everyone - meaning, he stays away.

He has to ration his medical visits a bit because he's on disability now - part of that is because he did jail time and has extreme difficulty getting jobs as a result and the ones he does/did get are part-time minimum wage deals.

Anyway, he manages it by letting folks (family) that he's not doing well, consults the psychiatrist when he can, self-medicates, and stays clear of people if he's afraid of doing harm. He NEVER tells/told employers about his illness.

Psychologist (0)

TempleOS (3394245) | about 7 months ago | (#45760721)

I'm a psychologist and I love to suck dick. I make everybody suck dick.

Difficult Subject, but here's some advice (4, Insightful)

bstarrfield (761726) | about 7 months ago | (#45760729)

First, I really understand what you're saying. This is a tough situation, but I'm certain you can make it through.

You're being really wise not to isolate yourself. Spending time with people will make a very substantial difference in both how you feel and your general recovery. Isolation, even with caring family will hurt you. Please keep on trying to interact with people.

In terms of mental health... what you're describing sounds more like bipolar and less like schizophrenia. Schizophrenia can be medicated, if you're serious about it, carefully monitored, and have a good support system. Bipolar is a bit rougher, and you'll have to recognize what's happening to you yourself, and with the help of family and friends. Be very careful when you're manic - I know it can feel awesome, but the code you produce can be pretty damn awful. Depressed code is less of an issue as you'll likely not write that much.

You'll find that folks in CS tend to be very understanding of mental health issues. Very, very understanding. We're in an industry filled with intelligent and generally caring people, and you'll find support. Just be honest with your colleagues about how you're doing, and most importantly, make sure your first priority is taking care of yourself.

Re:Difficult Subject, but here's some advice (5, Interesting)

bstarrfield (761726) | about 7 months ago | (#45760783)

Dang, forgot to add something. As a more senior manager who has hired folks with various mental maladies, I can state unequivocally that the ADA provides far less protection than you'd first assume. Try very hard not to make your illness a discussion matter when you're in the hiring process, at least not until an offer is present. Companies will look for any reason not to higher someone, and unfortunately the stigma of mental illness can make the hiring process difficult.

Mental Health issues are just - unfair. It's ridiculous, it's unjust, it's reality that people with mental illness are often treated like crap. I wish I could change that, and when I hire folks I try to look past those issues. if someone is recovering from cancer, they're a hero. Someone with mental illness does not get that benefit. You must be smart, so try to play the game as it's presented to you, and understand that people are trying to improve the situation.

Final thing - some firms will be much more understanding of mental illness issues than others. Stay way from anything related to defense, national security, and finance. Look to firms like Apple, Redhat, and other companies that will value you as an individual, not just a cog in a vast machine.

Re:Difficult Subject, but here's some advice (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760845)

... in both how you feel and your general recovery.

One does not recover from schizophrenia.

Re:Difficult Subject, but here's some advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761535)

You'll find that folks in CS tend to be very understanding of mental health issues. Very, very understanding.

Not all mental health disorders are created equal. Light Autism (née Asperger) is very accepted. Bipolar and depression will be tolerated. But other illnesses are somewhat incompatible with corporate environments (Conduct Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, etc) and will be tolerated less due to their tendency to alienate people and make the worker unlikeable to colleagues. When peer reviews start to go bad, managers generally aren't good at looking past that to see that the root cause is mental illness.

An Efficient Methodology (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760733)

You could have one of you write the code and the other you review and debug it. Success!

Re:An Efficient Methodology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760859)

Wrong illness, dumbass.

G8 B8 M8? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760735)

Is this posting for real? It sounds like something you'd find posted as a troll on 4chan.

Telecommuting does have advantages. (2)

fred911 (83970) | about 7 months ago | (#45760743)

Limiting your exposure to others is one of them. Do you think there are more benefits than liabilities being in close proximity to peers?

Re:Telecommuting does have advantages. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761649)

Yes, not least of which is the therapeutic value. We are social creatures and the vast majority of us require frequent contact with others for emotional and mental health.

been doing it for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760749)

Medication definitely helps but it will also destroy a part of who you are/were. The way I've channeled my "high/lows" is by offering freelance gaming reviews. (the free games you'll get paid in are a great perk)

It's the perfect front for my mood swings and everyone just assumes you're an a**hole anyways because you trampled on their childhood feelings when a game that's perfect in their eyes doesn't meet your point of view. Hell I've had debates with myself across multiple accounts and nobody can tell. the difference.

My advice on interaction with your co-workers is take it in short bursts. Money isn't an issue so I like to take part time or seasonal jobs for 1-2 years at a time then need to retreat again into solitude for a few years to recover. Medication can prolong this but it takes all the passion out of you so don't count on any steady relationships unless you want to live your life as a zombie.

Cheers!

Do part-time on-site? (0)

oldhack (1037484) | about 7 months ago | (#45760753)

I'm not a schizo, at least not officially, although I've been called as such often (and a lot of other things).

But I assume you worked alone before because it had some beneficial aspects in the way your work. Maybe you wanna consider part-time on-site working arrangement, assuming you're allowed the flexibility.

You know, familiarity (and proximity) breeds contempt, as well as bonhomie. Perhaps you can modulate the accompanying stress this way.

What the hell is schizo anyway? Is that like manic-depression? Damn psychobabble quacks.

situation x person (1)

multiround (3471289) | about 7 months ago | (#45760761)

do you know when the surge of thoughts are coming? if yes, there are two possibilities: (1.) your co-workers are agreeable or open-minded people... or not. if they are, you can call them for a break (no pun intended) and share your thoughts. maybe they'll have feedback, they'll be inspired or just plain amused. don't be offended if they do. humor is one of the best - and complex - responses a human being can give. if they are TOO curious, tell them to read some Jung or R.D. Laing, hehe. (2.) your co-workers are rabbits who get scared easily, are overly conscientious about their work ("don't bother me! i have to finish this!") or just haven't seen enough of the world to have enough data points in their equation... well, there is nothing you can do then, if you feel it coming, grab your voice recorder (or not lol) and head out for a walk in the parking lot, or somewhere nice. or just do what you usually do - and ask them afterwards how bothered they were on a scale 1 to 5. if they say 3 or more, next time head out to a less populated place :P (ELSE) otherwise, it's important to understand that even if you DON'T see it coming, they may eventually get used to it. you didn't mention how frequent your "inspirations" are. if it's 2 times a day or like 5 minutes every 3 hours, it should be tolerable (and a welcome break). if it's 5 minutes every half an hour... well... ask your boss hehe. (IN ANY CASE) it's also possible (almost probable) that you will find one or more people who will genuinely like you, even if you won't last long at that workplace. you are not the only one who needs human contact and a good face-to-face conversation over a coffee or herbal tea (PARAGRAPH) maybe your therapist can give you some more advice. (PARAGRAPH) my advice is not professional/medical advice and should not be taken like that. also, slashdot kills my paragraphs, at least in the preview. that explains the obscure "tags". this is my 1st slashdot comment, have mercy

Practice (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760787)

I am bipolar, not schizophrenic, but for what it's worth.

When stress can trigger problems:
1) Knowing the limits of what sources of stress I can deal with is important;
2) That those who work with you know that it is a higher priority for you to avoid excessive stress than getting a task finished.
3) That if stress is approaching a red line, that you may have to disappear for a bit without explanation (possibly explaining later when you can).

Similar for other sources of difficulty.

With regards to thoughts: I practice Taiji (10 years), Meditation (4 years) and Yoga.  Learning to bring your attention back to a desired focus when distracted is something that we're not naturally good at, but can become good at with practice.  Practicing regularly (just like you brush your teeth each day) makes the awareness and gentle, loving yet firm self control become habitual.  Being able to dominate your thoughts with a passage of text (memorised by rote) or a single word (like a matra) can be very helpful, since this can starve annoying thoughts of attention.

That said, with learning to deal with such difficulties, you should:
1) Expect to fail;
2) Expect to get up and try again, without being hard on yourself.
3) Do your best to limit the damage from breakdowns, etc, for example, by taking a break earlier rather than later and being more open about real world difficulties.

With respect to social contact, that is important: how your behaviour reflects off others who know you can tell you things you can't otherwise notice.  This again takes practice to develop you awareness.

I could go on, but I have to have dinner and head out in a moment, and this is about as much as I want to put on a public forum.

Best of luck! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760795)

Routines, coworkers and responsibilities are really useful for me (bipolar...) and i know i would not do well with working alone. So props and best of luck.
  Youll probably want to inform your supervisor about your condition since theyll be either your biggest supporter or your biggest problem. As far as coworkers, tell them if you can make it seem like no big deal...
  Make sure you have some flexibility with scheduling and can duck out as needed. A private space, or the ability to hide out in your car will help when thing get rough is really important. Constant contact with your therapist is also really really necessay with a big change...

Don't Mix Work with Personal Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760815)

You should be attending therapy and group sessions to understand the need for physical connections. Basically don't use work as a way to fulfill your needs for physical(and emotional) connections. If you rely on going to work as a way to fulfill these personal needs for connection then it you may take it very hard if don't receive it from work.
It sounds like there are more underlying issues that need to be addressed first. Talk to a trained professional and separate work life from personal. Join reddit groups or other forms of social groups to get these needs fulfilled. Expecting it to be fulfilled from people at work is not always a sure thing from my own personal experience and can lead to problems in the work place.

bipolar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760861)

As a rapid cycling bipolar, i mostly will check for early in the day symptoms of the manic or low of the condition. It mostly always stay the same for the day. When it is manic, i will always be on the look out not to let my thoughts coming too strong in the conversations, or mostly do my best to entertain while feeling very good, without sounding arrogant and egocentric. When my lows would come in, i would try to up my social contacts with people, and fight the loss of energy as much as i can, or the bad thoughts by always trying to look more enthusiastic than i am. Both exercises are however exhausting (the low one the most). Real life therapy (one hour a week) helps, and of course medication. Don't know if this apply to schizophrenia, but hope it helps ! In the UK, people seem OK about my kind of mental issues. Don't know about the US.

Schizophrenic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760863)

How alone are you really ever, if there are multiple personalities living inside a single head?

Re:Schizophrenic? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#45760973)

Hah! That would almost be funny - almost - if that was what schizophrenia was. But it's not, so, it's not. Sorry.

This is normal... (2)

areusche (1297613) | about 7 months ago | (#45760903)

Highly functioning individuals all tend to have various quirks, idiosyncrasies, and other habits. I've worked with aspies, the depressed, and what have you and while all of them may suffer immensely in their personal worlds they are self aware enough to not let their disorder control them. They work with it and through it rather than using it as an excuse for problems.

Most people don't discuss mental health problems to other individuals unless it's going against a social fabric. "Why is John swearing randomly?" "Oh he has tourettes." Or the like.

As long as you can make most of the dead lines you will be fine. If you find yourself really getting into a hole, like a dark one, these sometimes happen then be honest with your manager in private and let him know what's going on. If you need a break than so be it. But remember, you're on a team and the success of the team falls onto you. Don't be the weakest link, your team mates will need you.

Stay strong my friend.

lucky you... (0)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 7 months ago | (#45760911)

...most people just think i'm kinda an asshole at times.. who isn't beside the phony passive-aggressive politically careful types that hide their true feelings for strategic reasons?

maybe i should get diagnosed with some kind of disorder so I can blame that for my moments...

Re:lucky you... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761101)

Read a book.

A disorder such as this is incredibly disabling, is not an "excuse", and is not fortunate for anyone.

Considering your perspective on mental disabilities, your perspective on people aren't aren't "assholes at times", and your general pedantic tone, I'm not surprised your coworkers think of you you as an asshole at times. Consider yourself lucky it's only "at times".

Sounds like a good plan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760929)

I have a friend who has had decent luck for the past few years doing exactly this. Working with other devs makes a big difference, for most of the obvious reasons. My own issues are not schitz-related, but it is also a huge help for me to be able to work with other people nearby.

Cheers, best of luck,
AC

From my own experiance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45760949)

I am a developer working from home as self-employed (so, no co-workers) and i had/have some mental issues (not exactly schizophrenia but close - by the way, my brother is schizophrenic so i think i know!).
I understand very well the "high/low" feelings (but i am not sure that the -main, or only- reason is the mental issues - i think that it may be "normal" state of mind situations... of even normal people!), and i also understand the "emotional difficulty of being physically alone" (i.e., without a chance to interact with people in the way most do thanks to their work enviroment).
I think that working with other people may benefit you - but you should be emotionally prepared for the change of enviroment and accept that you have some issues that may make other people a bit... you know!
In any case, you should try it - (most) people are good and helpful...

Bipolar (1)

Nemo99 (3471331) | about 7 months ago | (#45760981)

As a Bipolar type 2 suffer, I can understand. I do however find it difficult to retain work despite my ability

Recommend "Perception" (1)

rbrander (73222) | about 7 months ago | (#45760999)

I've worked with a number of challenged people; the ones who were frank about their issues made it way easier; the ones who were in active denial, way harder.

While you're discussing it, recommend the TV show "Perception" - hell, hand out free AVI files. The show's character may have little in common with your particular issues; likely he is far worse, since it shows him having long conversations with hallucinated people - but the point is, the show provides an example of somebody with a very serious schizophrenic problem who is nonetheless good at his job. And a nice guy to know. Heck, he turns out to be a kind of detective on the side.

This is an entirely new level of acceptance for most people - because people talk more frankly now, we all know we're working with manic-depressives, clinical depressives, anxiety- and panic-attack victims...minor mental illnesses are pretty common. But most people's image of a "schizophrenic" is still of the Bad Guy in some crazed-killer movie. The new TV show stresses that it's just another mental challenge that can be overcome with understanding and/or medication.

You may have to stress that you can't solve any murders, should they become fans.

I worked with a lunatic once (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761017)

never again. It was the stalking - the phone-calls after he was fired in the middle of the night, and that sort of thing.

Can't speak to your particular illness, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761031)

I'm severely bipolar. I do what's now called Devops. Yes, I think that's funny, too.

Be good at what you do. This goes without saying, and normal people also try to.

Build a protocol for your firm for if you have a problem. This isn't quite the same as the hit-by-a-bus plan. It is a contingency that is likely to happen. So plan it out, game it before it happens, fix bugs you find, game it again when you're feeling there. This isn't pleasant. I went off meds once doing this. Do it anyway.

Be humble. Corallary to the above.

Keep in touch with your problem. Make sure your employer knows what you need. For me it is going to support groups. I don't know what it is for you. My employer is supportive of me, for which I'm very thankful. I fucking hate the group therapy, but it does help. Be frank and honest. I need to go to these meetings, and that means some weekdays I leave at 4. I go in early those days.

Make sure your cow orkers know. This is hard. Again, be frank, pen and honest. Most people appreciate it. In my experience, the ones who don't tend to migrate.

Live a good life. The so-called work-life balance is real, but in a backhanded way. If your life sucks, your work will suffer. Do things you enjoy. Do things you don't enjoy, if they ground you with other people. Clean your home. Make it yours.

Be strong. Enough said.

Drawing Zombies on the Walls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761071)

My run-in whith a schizo started with a Nigerian roommate that watched soccer like Nelson Mandela just rode in on a horse and slayed the European-American white-wash over US involvement in disintegration of African governments. Something glorious must have been happening. This is besides the random screaming, the various high-pitched whoop-whooops, singing, and otherwise constant stream of overtness to be expected of...no, seriously almost nobody at all does all that.

At length, to fight off the noise, I began making my own noise, and occasionally our noises would meet as if a random soldier from another time showed up in the middle of someone else's battle. There could scarcely be time for friend-or-foe identification in the chaos and the only thing we could be thankful for is that it wasn't a battlefield and there was no finality to the confrontation. This is what it's like to learn to communicate with a person with mental illness? I'm probably being so intentionally insensitive that there has to be someone out there right now saying, "he's Nigerian, you fucking retard, it's a cultural difference down to how you shake hands and look people in the eyes."

I do develop software alone in my apartment and will see no humans for > 72hour stints. This has never bothered me as I don't really feel far from humans when they are away. I thought it would bother me having come from an office, but one day I cleared my mind that was born of habits, the kind of rhythms that you get yourself into so that you can be an employee living on autopilot, and all I could see was the glorious, infinite silence. There are no distractions. I play DnB music that is more or less driving and repetitive.

Occasionally it is rather if the train wakes up off the tracks while the engine is running and probably breaking things mechanically, but for the most part, get the coffee, the yerba mate, cigarettes and what else, take a few moments to ponder the big picture, and be filled with the kind of motivation an individual could formerly only get at monasteries in Tibet or someplace where they aren't so pretentious and think you need to monk out over their voodoo instead of your own.

Is this lifestyle detrimental in some way? It's the whole Schrodinger's cat thing all over again. As long as I keep opening the lid and finding it good without having to put good into the box, who am I to question the underlying mechanics of a system that might not even be effable.

Sounds like a good plan (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761169)

My ex-wife is schizophrenic and I observed that social interaction at work was very important for her well being. She's not able to hold a regular job now, but does work part time as a volunteer doing filing which gives her some structured interaction. And having worked on software at home a lot alone myself, I know how bad the lack of social interaction can be for ones mental health even if you're not schizophrenic.

It might help to consciously act a part. This is actually what most people do. They go acting out some persona they've invented for themselves, but seldom realize it. Consciously scripting who you are may help manage the issues. I hope that you can keep enough focus on the human cues from your coworkers to manage well. But I also know it's tough. In any case, I think that the benefits of more social interaction offset the risks.

I would certainly caution against revealing your condition to your coworkers. My ex and I still talk frequently after 15 years, but I watched many of her "friends" abandon her when she had a relapse after 12 years of being quite normal. Be very cautious about medication changes. Her Dr changed her from Novane to Zyprexa and it took two hospitalizations before I could persuade the Dr. to put her back on Novane. She never completely recovered, but is at least able to live on her own.

The right answer is whatever works best for you.

Best of luck.

Take some coworkers into your confidence. (3, Interesting)

dbc (135354) | about 7 months ago | (#45761183)

I have some experience with this as a manager. I had an employee (good, productive, employee), who was, unknown to me, bipolar. Meds kept it pretty well under control. For some reason or another, he changed doctors -- first one moved away or whatever. Anyway, the new MD decided to tinker with the meds. It didn't work out well. Severely abridged version of story: after the worst 3 days of my life as a manager ever, plus 2 HR reps, plus company nurse, plus N other impacted idividuals, we finally got him help. He was on medical leave for several weeks after that before things got put right again.

Here is the thing: he had plenty of friends in the company who would have been in the position to notice something going awry and heading off the trouble before it became a crisis. So, make a friend you can trust. One to whom you are not afraid to say: "My doctor is adjusting my medication. Watch for anything strange. If the wheels come off, here is my brother's phone number."

Re:Take some coworkers into your confidence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761331)

Agreed. I worked with a girl who has schizophrenia, she'd explained her situation to our direct boss who couldn't have been better about making sure allowances were made where necessary. At one point I was running things sometimes and the boss called me into her office and said "we need to talk about Alice..." - luckily Alice and I had chatted about it a week before in the pub, along with a few other employees. We'd all had a chance to ask any questions about it in an informal atmosphere was of far more use than the boss trying to explain it while freaking out in case she said the wrong thing about an employee's medical status. Be open about it wherever you feel able, a little first hand knowledge is far more powerful than office gossip.

(Notes: Name changed, obviously. "Going to the pub" doesn't mean going out and getting smashed.)

Heads Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761309)

First managing your disease makes you a hero. Schizophrenia is not a trivial challenge. In essence you go into battle every moment of your life and a few schizophrenics do that quite well. I had a brother in law that had severe illness and to a great degree he managed it pretty well. The man came from a bad environment and would best be described as a career criminal but with medication his sanity was usually well in hand. I have known two schizophrenics who got great gains by adding Abilify to their medication regime. Ask your docs about the possibility of Abilify lifting you up a bit as it does seem to eliminate the gloomy hours quite a bit.
              I have nothing but respect and high regard for you in your struggle.

Poetry Helps! (1)

niko9 (315647) | about 7 months ago | (#45761339)

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I'm a schizophrenic
And so am I

I keed, I keed!!

One piece of advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761399)

First, let me say I wish you all the best. I know this isn't easy for you in more than one way. I see that someone has previously advised not going off your medication, which is good advice, certainly not without consulting your doctor. One other thing that I would offer, from a social perspective, is be cautious about accusing your coworkers, or taking offense at things, to the greatest extent that you can. I once worked with a woman who I understand was schizophrenic. (Comments from team leader.) She was very nice, if a little different, and I enjoyed talking to her. She was eventually asked to leave, from what I heard she made many complaints to HR about things that didn't have any real basis. I saw some of her distorted thinking when she had apparently misread an email sent out as a congratulation of another employee with a vaguely and partially similar name, and accused me, wrongly, of doing something against her. She eventually realized her mistake, and tried to smooth things over, but there was significant damage to our mutual trust there. I felt bad for her, but given the way many companies are these days, I felt the need to be quite cautious in dealing with her from that point on. I hope she is doing OK.

My experience says to be clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761413)

I interviewed, hired, and worked with a guy that was absolutely perfect for about 7 months. He showed up on time, was smart, competent, and at times even very talented. He seemed to enjoy the job and the people he worked with. I was relatively close with him (we would take smoke breaks together), so it was odd that one day he just stopped showing up -- no calls or anything.

We had HR reach out, and it eventually went to the police to perform a "health check". He was alive, but had apparently suffered a "mental break."

I saw him panhandling in a nearby town a few months later and had a chat with him. He never explicitly said it, but I suspect that he was struggling with similar issues as the poster. I expresses that I was really bummed about how things had played out, and that I would've appreciated a call. All he had to do was to ask for help and it would've been provided. I was later contacted as a reference for a new job he was applying for.

Anyway, I think the lesson is that if people know about, and understand your struggles, they're far more likely to be able to help you if/when things go poorly. So be honest and let people around you know. Help educate them if possible. Always try your best at being a good representation of how someone who struggles can contribute -- you may be some peoples only experience with it.

Full disclosure: I'm a depressive with ADD myself, and I've learned how to manage skewed perceptions and whatnot, so I'm sensitive to these sorts of issues.

The rules to live by from a Fellow Schitzo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761423)

1: You can have as many multiple personalities as you want so long as they are all the same. As soon as one turns a little different, it develops lord humungous syndrome and begins taking over.

2: God gave you the Mania to make life worth living, and the depression to give you unparalleled clarity of thought (after-all, when you're depressed, you have no emotions, and are in a pure realm of thought).

3: People will tell you that you need medication; what they are really telling you is that you are a dangerous animal and unless you are kept in a cage you should die. This is the truth; medication is a cage, if you buy into it, you will be in the cage for the rest of your life. Ask a Mechanic how a car engine works; that guy will explain EXACTLY how it works. Ask a doctor, they will give you "Well we think it's caused by". What you need are hearty doses of Four things; Exercise, Food (Studies have shown food allergies can cause psychosis), a Place in Society, and kindness+love (or at least for complete assholes to leave you the hell alone). Don't go on the Medication, that will shut the doors that might let you remain stable or cure your mental ailments; when was the last time you ever heard of someone going onto medication and making a recovery?

4: Start making your meals on Sundays for the rest of the week. It free's you up to work harder and longer, and lets you very strictly control your diet to remove that as a factor for your issues. Exercise is a must. Stop drinking caffeine and carbonated beverages; this will do your mind a WORLD of good.

5: They are in fact out to get you, so become well-armed, but realize once you're well armed, there's no fucking way they are going to fuck with you and if they are, you're going to be one hard motherfucker to take down or can go on a mission from God and fuck them up. Your opponents will use your mental derangement to say you need to be disarmed; anyone who does that is demonstrably deranged especially if they are directly threatening you or trying to take something from you (ESPECIALLY if they justify it by saying it's social convention; fuck those people, just fuck them). I've always recommended those with a history of being abused go buy a gun; it's amazing how liberating it can be to know you can snipe an asinine bully of a boss from a mile off. The key to curing paranoia is preparation.

6: If you're working for an abusive asshole, leave. Go somewhere; anywhere; else. You will be better off. When you leave, Let then know in professional, but in no uncertain terms, the reason and the person who did it and why. If they ask you to come back, Do not look back; businesses like that deserve to die.

7: If you have issues stringing thoughts together or your mind is all over the place, meditate. Lay Down comfortably, close your eyes, and watch your mind race from thought to thought. Do not participate, just watch. Like a song stuck in your head, eventually you will realize YOU are the one who's making it play, YOU are the one who's racing from thought to thought. We make decisions for 3 reasons; just because, because of another reason ending in just because, or because of another reason in a loop; reason is a TOOL. At some point, some Demon convince you that you were not in control and began whipping your thoughts around each other. Once you realize you are in control and it is not, the storms that take over your head will eventually dissipate, and you will regain enough cognitive function to begin figuring out what made you that way.

8: Once you have control realize the reason you lost it was due to your intellect. Organization is a skill, it takes time to master, keep at it.

9: The reason the world doesn't seem real is because something, usually a lot of pain, is numbing you out. Figure out what it is, spend some healing.

10: Books on relationships and parenting, go read them. You ill learn a lot.

You'll get by (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761521)

Sounds like managing things is going to be part of your job.

We employed a schizophrenic as an intern. He never said but it was obvious from the beginning he was dealing with the condition. But he had a unique focus and ability to soak up information. He could be pointed at tough problems and kind of just never stressed any more or less. He just punched through or worked around issues that would have left other people stuck in their tracks. He's never afraid to ask for advice. He was (and is) one of the wittiest people I've worked with.

Four weeks or so into the job he had a crash of sorts. Maybe it was the change in environment. It took him out for months. But even by that stage it was obvious he was a keeper.

So five years on he's one of our most talented developers. With no prior coding experience. Everyone in the business knows that he shits gold. And he's only just getting started.

So: Something that is a disadvantage to some can be developed as a strength, if you have the creativity and fortitude to pull it off. Take your meds religiously. Minimise situations that will make things worse for you, but not so much that you don't expose yourself to the new. If you need social contact but have to work from home sometimes, have a two-way webcam setup to the office; permanently open on the screen so you have the connection with others.

Good luck!

Other people have this problem too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761549)

I, too, have schizophrenia. However, I live in England so I have the NHS to fall back on. My meds make me sleep a lot. I do know the risks of not taking my meds so I am compliant in spite of the unpleasant side effects of the meds.

I spent roughly 2 years in a psychiatric hospital. I became institutionalised. I've been out in the community for nearly 10 years now, and it has been a hard slog to get where I am now.

These days instead of working for a software house, I am a volunteer at a local Mental Health Charity (http://www.contactmorpeth.org.uk/) doing all sorts of things from making cups of tea, helping with computer problems and answering the phones. It is fairly light work so I spend most of my time studying "The C++ Programming Language 4(e)" by Bjarne Stroustrup.

My key worker ran some courses at a local University. She invited me to attend some of them so that the students could ask someone with a mental health problem directly. Also I maintain a blog - http://schizopanic.blogspot.co.uk/ - because when I started it I couldn't find any other blogs.

Best of luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761563)

I wish you the best of luck - my mother has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia her entire life. With treatment she has been able to maintain a semi-normal life and job for two decades. The relationships built by having a job and co-workers have helped her blossom far more then staying home ever did.

well ... (1)

znrt (2424692) | about 7 months ago | (#45761587)

i've been coding software for decades, now. my last 4 or so years employed in a large, promising and cutting edge software company. one thing i can tell you: everybody is nuts in this profession. so make yourself comfortable, don't think too much about it and welcome to the club!

You F4il It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761599)

smeels worse than a everyday...Redefine of OpenBSD. How poor deaXd last [anti-slash.org] To work I'm doing,

Alone for eight hours a day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45761615)

As a neurotypical developer who works from home, I find it a bit weird to have emotional difficulty being physically alone for eight hours a day. Or does this make me neuro-atypical, perhaps?

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