In 2011, The New York Times began printing a front-page series of articles called “Lives Restored: Living With Schizophrenia”, about managing severe mental illness.The series profiles people who are functioning normally despite severe mental illness and have chosen to speak out about their struggles.
The series is an important contribution to the understanding of family members of the symptoms and struggles of their loved ones. In the fourth article, for example, Milton Greek, 49, a computer programmer, talks about having persecutory delusions since he was an undergraduate at Ohio University. In time he not only learned to live with them, but find purpose and meaning from them. From the article:
“When I began to see the delusions in the context of things that were happening in my real life, they finally made some sense,” Milt Greek says. “And understanding the story of my psychosis helped me see what I needed to stay well.”
Mr. Greek is one of the most exceptional, having built a successful life and career despite having schizophrenia — and, he says, because of it. He manages the disorder with medication, personal routines, and by minding the messages in his own strange delusions.
Schizophrenia is the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “I know a lot of people with the diagnosis don’t feel that way, but the experience changed me, for the better. I was so arrogant, so narcissistic, so self-involved, and it humbled me. It gave me a purpose, and that purpose has been very much a part of my recovery.”
To read the individual articles of this series, click just below. (Each is accompanied by a short black-and-white video featuring the profiled subjects.)
1.“An Expert in Mental Illness Reveals Her Own Fight” (about DBT innovator Dr. Marsha Linehan; June 23, 2011)
2. “Learning to Cope With a Mind’s Taunting Voices” (about Joe Holt, a computer consultant and entrepreneur with schizophrenia who hears voices; August 6, 2011)
3. “A High-Profile Executive Job as Defense Against Mental Ills” (about Keris Myrick, 50, a chief executive of a nonprofit organization, who has schizoaffective disorder; October 22, 2011)
4. “Finding Purpose After Living With Delusion” (about Milton Greek, 49, a computer programmer with schizophrenia who found meaning in his delusions; November 25, 2011)