Your illness may have interrupted your studies or work life. If so, it may be very upsetting to see your friends moving ahead
in their lives. Hard as it may be, you are better off returning to your activities slowly. Jumping back into work or school
can interfere with recovery. After all, you wouldn't run a marathon the day after having a cast removed from a mended broken
leg. Taking small steps at first will increase your chances of reaching your goals.
Returning to work or school
You need to decide with your doctor or counsellor what kinds of activities to do and how much. Some of the following factors
may affect your choice.
What are your values?
How important is it to you right now to go to school or work? Are there other activities that might satisfy you, such as hobbies
or volunteer work?
How well do you feel?
Even when psychotic symptoms are well controlled, women may struggle with other issues. They may note changes in how they
remember and concentrate. Or they may feel a change in their energy level. For some women, changing to a less demanding program
at first may help prepare for the next step. This applies especially to women who have not worked or gone to school for a
What do your doctor and treatment team advise?
The expertise and experience of your team can help you assess your readiness to tackle something harder.
How flexible is your school or workplace?
Women often resume activities part time after a psychotic episode. Will your school or employer understand this and help you
arrange it? Will they be flexible in other ways (e.g., your work duties or school assignments)? Do you need your doctor or
other care provider to advocate for you? Should you consider a different setting that better suits your needs at this time?
How are your finances?
Do you have an income or any savings? Are you eligible for financial aid, such as sick benefits, student loans or social assistance?
Being sick has no doubt affected you a lot. Yet you are still essentially the same person. You have the same personality,
interests, likes and dislikes. Remember the things you like about yourself and what you like to do. This will help you stay
realistic and live a satisfying life.
Other ways to stay well
Keeping appointments with your treatment team and taking drugs as prescribed are critical. Discuss any concerns about drugs
or other aspects of treatment right away with your doctor or health care worker. That way, problems can be addressed. Simply
dropping out of treatment or stopping medication without medical advice is very risky. It will only make you likely to relapse.
After a psychotic episode, everyone hopes it will never happen again. This is especially true after a first episode. It is
important to stay optimistic about the future. However, being realistic also matters. Having a healthy lifestyle and following
treatment advice will give you the best chance of staying well.
If symptoms return, they are best dealt with early. Learn the early warning signs of an episode of illness. Discuss these
signs with your doctor, counsellor, family members or close friends. Deciding ahead on what to do if symptoms reappear helps
to avoid a crisis. Some families like to write down their plan and the phone numbers of people they may need to contact.