Schizophrenia and Life with Limitations

January 25, 2023 Rebecca Chamaa

Limitations affect people with schizophrenia, but I believe people with schizophrenia can achieve great things. I know of three women who have schizophrenia who started and run non-profit organizations. I know of three women who are parents to young children. I know several people with schizophrenia who have jobs as writers or artists and others who work as marketing professionals and content creators. Elyn Saks, one of the most well-known people with schizophrenia, is a doctor and professor. These are examples from the two to three dozen people I follow on social media or who I have become friends with in my years of advocacy. If I knew more people with schizophrenia, I assume I would find people with the illness in every role, identity, or profession. 

Limitations Look Different for All of Us with Schizophrenia

I assume everyone living with schizophrenia has some limitations, which are not unique for those with mental illness. Almost everyone has at least one limit in their lives. Maybe, someone has difficulty with hand-eye coordination, so being a top athlete is most likely out of their reach. The same person might struggle with playing table tennis or even video games as exercise or entertainment. That is one straightforward example of limitations among the billions of potential limits. 

As a person with schizophrenia, my limitations involve travel and being unable to commit to anything early in the morning because my morning medications cause me to go to sleep after I take them. (In my house, we have a second sleep and a second breakfast. Because we have a second breakfast, friends jokingly call me a hobbit because J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved characters eat a second breakfast). I have other limitations, but I won't write them all out.

I have had dreams that I was unable to pursue because of limitations relating to schizophrenia. In my 20s, I wanted nothing more than to be a poet, but the first medications I was on after my initial psychotic episode, made it challenging to write. Even though I have mourned the loss of more than one dream due to symptoms of schizophrenia, it is not unique for people to have to give up on a dream. I would love to run a 5K or finish a half marathon, but my lousy ankle makes those dreams impossible. My not running a marathon has nothing to do with mental illness.

A life with limitations can make it feel like my world is getting smaller and smaller. The way I try to widen the world for myself is to challenge myself to do things outside of my comfort zone. That means trying something that may cause me to fail. Failure is difficult, but it can teach me a lot and help me to discover what I can do. I was terrified to teach my first workshop during the pandemic. Teaching was never on my radar or wish list of things to try. I've been running workshops and speaking at events for three years now. Was I great when I first started? Probably not, but I stuck to it, and now I have a new skill and entry into more opportunities (a more extensive world).

Mental illness presents challenges and limitations, but those of us with a diagnosis aren't alone in that space. Even those without mental illness must work around their limits, making us all more alike than different. 

APA Reference
Chamaa, R. (2023, January 25). Schizophrenia and Life with Limitations, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Rebecca Chamaa

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