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Schizoaffective Disorder and Work — a Good Combination

June 21, 2013

When dealing with disability, it is important to not let the diagnosis define the person. There are numerous people who, with self-care and outside support, overcome their limitations. By recognizing triggers and having coping techniques in place, people with mental health challenges can live positive, successful lives.


If you have been reading Disability Living this week, you may feel disheartened about schizoaffective disorder. While these posts are meant to inform, not discourage you, it is important to understand that people with this diagnosis are capable of leading independent lives and active careers.

It is not only possible for a person with schizoaffective disorder to operate in the world, but he or she has the ability to blaze a vibrant trail, encouraging and inspiring others along the way.

One such person is Keris Myrick, a career executive living in California, USA. She has schizoaffective and obsessive compulsive disorders.

Work Helps Woman Cope with Mental Health Challenges

In a 2011 New York Times article, Keris opens up about her condition. She credits her present stability to a support system that includes her psychiatrist, employees, father, and dog. These important people (and pet) come alongside her, ensuring she is grounded in reality. Keris communicates openly with them about sensitive topics, like hearing voices and experiencing delusions. As a result, these individuals help her keep false thoughts at bay.

Keris also sticks to a treatment plan that involves both medication and therapy. Her present balance works for her now, but was not discovered quickly or easily. She worked hard, along with her doctor, to find the right combination for her unique symptoms. It took years of trial and error, but now she knows herself better than ever before.

Ultimately, Keris knows what type of life is stabilizing for her temperament and abilities. This is confirmed by her success at work, a nonprofit organization that benefits greatly from her skills and leadership. Settling into her executive position highlights how important it is for her to be in a challenging, demanding, and time consuming career; not simple labour jobs.

To say Keris keeps herself busy is an understatement. This rigorous work schedule is actually freeing for her because it allows her mind move to fast and furiously, as it often wants to, but her thoughts and actions are focused. A relative quote from the article’s author, Benedict Carey, says this about Keris: “Her mind runs on high, and without fuel — without work — it seems to want to feed on itself.”

May the Right Career Help You Cope with Mental Illness?

Keris Myrick is an inspiration for all people, especially those who have mental health diagnoses. While not everyone is meant to become an executive, or fulfill this type of fast-paced, demanding schedule, Keris exemplifies the ability to develop coping techniques that aid cycling moods, energy levels, attacks of the mind, and more.

How do you manage the symptoms of your mental health diagnosis? Are you able to function in a career position? What are ways that you cope with bursts of energies, lackluster moods, delusions, hallucinations, and other symptoms?

*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority.  Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.

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