I didn't know that I needed help until I was told to get some. I was an A student at the time but having difficulty with relationships. Apparently people were complaining about me, but I was unaware of it. I was expelled from school, and I went to see my employment counselor. You see, I was back in school because I got laid off from work and was retraining for a career change. The counselor set me up with a psychologist, I was assessed and then sent to a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist diagnosed me as schizophrenic. I was also questioned by another young psychiatrist in front of a panel of psychiatrists, about a half dozen, and they unanimously diagnosed me as schizophrenic. Who was I to argue? I've been saying that I'm schizophrenic ever since.

Once diagnosed, I was given a prescription of medication, risperidone. I tried to return to school to finish my courses, but they would not accept me even though I had done exactly what they told me to do. I negotiated with the director, and he agreed to let me continue from home by correspondence. I had to write my exams in a neighboring city about 130 kilometers and one and a half hours away by car. I finished my courses.

An opening came up in a psychiatric rehabilitation program at a local hospital annex. My family doctor recommended that I go, so I did. The program lasted almost a year. I would have continued, but once I had taken all the courses they offered, they sent me on my way.

They tried to get me to live in a psychiatric hospital, but that meant giving up all my worldly possessions, including my Registered Retirement Savings Plan. I was not willing to do this. Rather, I set out to find work. I felt that I was quite capable of working.

Since I was now a certified computer programmer analyst, I tried to find work in that area first. I decided that I needed to find work very soon because my funds were fast running out, and I was getting tired of life with no work. So I started looking for work in my old profession, as well. Before long, I was asked to come for an interview by an engineer and a surveyor. They gave me work as a self-employed worker. That was eight years ago, and I am still working for them primarily as a draftsman and calculator.

I've been on medication all along since 1996 or '97 (my memory is a little foggy). I don't think about the illness all that much, I just try to live my life to the fullest as best as I can. I still have troubles with relationships and spend most of my time alone. I work alone at the computer and am often the only one in the office. I eat most of my meals alone and I live alone. The only time I do any socializing with any regularity is on the Sabbath at church. I like to think that I'm not really alone, but Jesus is with me always. My psychiatrist would think I'm nuts.

Living life to the fullest when you live alone seems like an oxymoron. I have no wife, children or family. Neither do I own a boat, cottage or house. But I do live by the Christian way as best I can, observing all the Holy Days and trying to love my fellow man as myself and loving God with all my faculties. I work, pay my tithe, host a religious Web site by studying, writing and posting articles, prepare for the future by saving and investing, and try to maintain a state of prayer and gratitude.

With God's help it will all work out. I hope it will all work out for you too!

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