1. Yochanan Ben Carmel
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    Yochanan Ben Carmel Banned for trolling

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    Would a schizophrenic be able to realistically hold a job as a translator after six years of CBT?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Yochanan Ben Carmel, May 6, 2014.

    It would be nice if you pointed out any holes in the below.

    Laurel Christensen, diagnosed with schizophrenia (I am not sure which subtype would be the one I will describe below, just tell me if it fits with anything real) at age 19, after going through therapy for a while, living with parents, trying to find employment, was hired to work as a translator because of her knowledge of Mandarin. She is recovering, but still shows symptoms of blunted and inappropriate affect, as well as auditory hallucinations, for which she takes medication. She has a limited circle of friends, living with her parents, but when John meets her, he invites her to work for Silver Baker, seeing that she has a knowledge in Mandarin. I won't give any details after this point, but I just want to know if this is alright.
     
  2. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Sure, some people cope with these kinds of problems well enough to be very successful.
     
  3. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    @jazzabel: 15 years of psychiatry yes??

    I'm almost done with my abnormal psychology class and from my very limited perspective I think you're probably fine. Schizophrenia, as with most mental illnesses, lives on a wide spectrum. Some people are high functioning, others aren't. CBT is super effective for pretty much everything it seems, as long as a person really puts in the work to get its benefit. Some people with extreme delusions, such as those who believe they're Jesus or something, seem so deeply connected to those delusions that it takes a mental kind of crowbar to pry them into actually doing that work. My grandma was schizophrenic and much of her identity seems to have been rooted in some of the loony things she believed. Almost as if it brought her comfort in believing them.

    I think it's good you say they're on meds because meds are typically so helpful for schizophrenics, especially managing hallucinations.

    Haha, I think the least believable thing is that a person with that name has a decent enough grasp on Mandarin to be a successful translator - but I'm sure that can be explained. :)
     
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  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @lewislewis is right. I'd just add a comment about the age of onset. It's unusual (not impossible) for a female to develop schizophrenia so young. While the general peak onset of this illness in a male is anywhere between 17-21, for females it's more like 21-25. Also, females are more likely then men to develop paraphrenia, which is similar to schizophrenia only milder and occurring past middle age).

    Although, schizophrenia has insidious onset, a so called prodrome, the time between the onset of first symptom and the diagnosis, can be several years. During this time, there's a gradual deterioration of the mental state as well as performance and cognition, but because it develops so slowly, people around tend to keep adjusting. So, it wouldn't be uncommon for your character to seek or be provided with therapy for mental health issues during this time, anything anxiety, depression, adjustment issues, mild paranoia etc. Also, once the illness develops and is treated with antipsychotics, ongoing therapy works really well, for anything from dealing with ongoing symptoms (like background hallucinations, mild delusions etc) to improving insight. But therapy alone doesn't 'treat' schizophrenia, medication does.

    Young female schizophrenics also tend to have (all these are tendencies, not absolute rules, of course) a less florid illness then men, less active symptoms. Where you see females have bizarre delusions with a lot of active symptoms (like men sz tend to) it tends to be organic psychosis or postpartum psychosis. But paranoia, negative symptoms (blunted affect, amotivation, emotional blunting etc) , ongoing auditory hallucinations and remaining to live at home with parents are quite common scenarios in young schizophrenics, including the women.

    ps. Laurel Christensen could have grown up in Hong Kong, I think they speak Mandarin there?
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
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  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    people with mental disorders are not peas in a pod... some can achieve amazing success in the most difficult fields of endeavor, while others are incapable of any sort of 'normal' life...

    you are writing fiction, so your character can be and do anything your story needs her to do...
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  6. Yochanan Ben Carmel
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    Yochanan Ben Carmel Banned for trolling

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    She is a Sinophile in nearly every way. She is not her illness and that is one thing that is just her.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Elyn Saks is a lawyer/psychiatrist and professor of law and psychiatry who has schizophrenia. She has a memoir called The Center Cannot Hold. So, I'm not sure why your character could not be a translator.
     
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  8. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    While Jazzabell is correct that schizophrenia doesn't appear until your early 20's this is because the full symptoms don't manifest until that late. As early as 14 or 15 she'll be suffering mild depression, psychosis, and paranoia. It's just not diagnosable until later in life.

    But as far as the job goes, even with medication, it can be a very difficult thing to hold down a job with a mental illness. Partly this is because management becomes alarmed the first time you have a psychotic episode at the office. (Though it's illegal to fire someone for having a mental illness, it's not hard to invent a reason to fire someone.) But the other reason is that schizophrenics can very unnerving and unlikeable people. The kind that have poor people skills and get fired for not being a "team player"

    The best way to deal with it is to move around on the job a lot. If her translation job can allow her to switch to different divisions at a rate of about 18 months she stand a much better chance of being employed.

    And she should smoke. The schizophrenic population has a tobacco use rate of nearly 90%. Something about tobacco just makes them want to suck it all up.
     
  9. Yochanan Ben Carmel
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    Yochanan Ben Carmel Banned for trolling

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    I was thinking about making her pick it up later.
     
  10. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Oh my god are you so wrong! Living with a mental illness is literally every part of your life. When people ask what I do for fun, I say, "Stay sane."

    The people you hang out with, the clothes you wear, the tv shows you watch, the books you read, your relationship with your friends/family, even when and where you shit. It is, every second, about your mental illness.
     
  11. Yochanan Ben Carmel
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    Yochanan Ben Carmel Banned for trolling

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    I have been told otherwise by sufferers of mental illness. Or, at least, they try not to let it define them
     
  12. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    The answer to this is complicated. In South Africa the answer is yes.
     
  13. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    They are living a fucking fantasy. That's like trying not to let your wheelchair define you. The platitude works great, as long as you never encounter stairs.

    EDIT: I'm bipolar II, ADHD complication, my wife is schizo-effective, and I have spent a long time in the mentally ill community. To the point that most of my friends either have a mental illness, or work with someone who does.
     
  14. Yochanan Ben Carmel
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    Yochanan Ben Carmel Banned for trolling

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    When I finally got the joke, I lold.
     
  15. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just hope that you didn't think I was implying that her illness is what defines her. You asked a very specific question and I was answering purely regarding that aspect.
     
  16. Yochanan Ben Carmel
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    Yochanan Ben Carmel Banned for trolling

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    No, I wanted to make sure that you understood that I didn't think that she was defined by her illness.
     
  17. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I live with mental illness and it definitely is not literally every part of my life. Speak for yourself.
     
  18. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would never assume something like that, unless someone explicitly said so. When specific aspects are discussed, it's usually under the understanding that that's all they are - specific aspects of a more general situation.
     
  19. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    That's cute, is it depression, or OCD?

    I'm talking about the real mental illnesses. The ones were you wake up in jail, on a suicide watch. The ones where you don't hold a job for more then a year, and have alienated most of your family.

    When you call your psychiatrist from prison to talk about your med changes, you find out what defines you really fucking quick.
     
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  20. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Um, dude? Not every single person with a mental illness winds up in jail, or on a suicide watch. Granted I imagine having a mental illness can be frightening/frustrating/exhausting or all of the above, but people do manage. It's not like, 'Welp, I've been diagnosed with schizophrenia, may as well remove myself from polite society before I do anything.' You can in fact live a relatively normal life with a mental disorder, you know. People have done it. Hell, there was a famous mathematician who had auditory hallucinations, if I remember correctly. Again, I'm not saying it's fun, or easy, to have a mental disorder. Not everyone can make it, but yet some do. Some do find a way.

    I'm half-blind and have severe hearing loss, yet I don't let that define me. I don't let that stop me from having a normal life like anyone else with two working eyes and ears. I work around it, I accommodate for it. I don't let it be the only thing I ever was, and the only thing I ever will be. By your logic, I should just curl up in a bed and cry because as a half-blind and mostly deaf guy, I can't possibly do anything anyone else could because I only have one eye and one ear that works. I'm not a human who happens to have physical problems.

    Again, not all disabled people can make it, for whatever reason. But don't you dare say that just because someone has a mental or a physical disorder, that they are automatically helpless and defined 100% by what they have. That's the very concept the disabled community is fighting against. The concept that they are somehow incapable of living a normal life because of what they've got. A blind person isn't defined by the fact that he/she can't see. They're defined by what they do in life regardless of the fact their eyes don't work.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
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  21. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Great post, Link the Writer. Not sure when mental illness became a contest to see whose is "worst" but that's not a healthy mentality at all.
     
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  22. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Huh, dude? I'm not saying that mentally ill people need to be cut off from society. And there are people on the spectrum that don't even need medication.

    But for most people with a serious mental illness functioning in society takes a huge amount of care, preparation, and management. Seeing your doctor regularly, taking your meds, understanding how the meds affect you, experimenting with medication, setting a rigid sleep schedule, avoiding your triggers, avoiding your triggers, avoiding your triggers, and having someone there for you to tell you when the voices aren't real.

    You can whine that "my mental illness doesn't define me," but if you're controlling it right it will define pretty much every action you take, and I honestly don't see the difference. From your daily routine to the people you hang out with, to the job you are able to hold down. It takes constant vigilance and care to keep yourself functioning, and abandoning that you will end up fired, in jail, or dead.

    OP, what your should take away from this is writing a character with a mental illness means incorporating that illness into pretty much every action they take. And if they've managed to keep a job for six years it has not been an easy ride for them.
     
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  23. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Fact: Jack Asher's experiences are representative and defining of all others' experiences!
     
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  24. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Fact: Jack Asher goes to support groups, therapists, seminars, has a whole bunch of mentally ill friends, and is mentally ill himself.

    On the off chance that you even know any mentally ill people, you should ask them about what they do in a day to keep themselves functioning. You will be very surprised at the secret life they live.
     
  25. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    More facts: if anyone has an opinion about mental illness other than Jack Asher's, that proves that they 1, don't have any personal experience with mental illness, and 2, don't know anyone with any personal experience of mental illness.

    Interesting points to make when others in this thread have talked about their experiences with mental illness, but then, you've already declared their experiences "not real". Much how society once treated all mentally ill people...
     
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