I already shared my story on two other group forums but I would like to say that I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1980 at age 19. For the next two years I suffered with severe symptoms without a minute of relief. I spent most of my time in that period fighting not to go crazy which to me meant somehow disappearing within myself and not being aware of my surroundings or actions and maybe never coming back. I have actually met people in that state who are lost in their own world and only half way in this world. But After an 8 month stay in a locked psychiatric hospital I got out and lived in a nice house for the mentally ill in a rich town near Stanford University. After 9 months living there I got a job where I stayed for four years. I was still in the mental health system living until 1995 with other schizophrenics, people who suffered from depression, bi-polar people, bulimics and anerixocs, and people with OCD. I got addicted to crack but I have been clean for 20 years. I have worked mostly part time since 1983 though I still get SSDI. I have gone to community college. Presently, I live by myself, work part-time and take an online course. I drive and know my neighbor who introduces me to his friends. I cook for myself, clean and take care of myself. For help I take my medication without fail, see a therapist weekly and a psychiatrist monthly. I stay in touch with my family and try to be friendly to my neighbors. My symptoms have noticeably lessened at age 49. Life is still very hard and confusing with lots of frusterations and obstacles but a 100 times better than in my twenties. I have bad days of course but there are good moments sprinkled in there. I just want to show what is possible with this disease.