Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Overstimulation
With schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, feeling overstimulated strikes often-- in large crowds or even small family dinner parties. What I mean by overstimulated is a sensation that there is too much going on and too much noise. With my schizoaffective disorder, I have felt overstimulated at the family dinner table, at parties, and even at my own wedding.
Like many people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, I’ve worn ear plugs to art gallery openings. I’ve left parties before dessert. I even had to leave my own wedding reception before the first dance.
As with most weddings, the weekend of my wedding packed in a lot of revelry. There was the rehearsal dinner, there was the bachelorette party, and then there was the wedding ceremony and the reception. It was just too much pressure for me. It had nothing to do with my fiancé. I was madly in love with him (and I still am). But after all that partying and all of that me being the center of attention, I had a meltdown at the reception. As I recall, it was shortly after we cut the cake. My mom, my new husband, the photographer, and my best friend were in the hall outside the reception room with me when I broke down crying and blubbering about how much pressure it was. My husband took me back to our condo and we got ready for our relaxing, no-pressure honeymoon in Door County.
Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, and Everyday Life
Like many people with schizophrenia or schizophrenia-related illnesses, everyday life-- and not just parties or major affairs like weddings-- can sometimes be too much. I have trouble going to the grocery store, for example. The sounds of the checkout line and all the people rushing about shouting at each other (or at least it sounds to me like they’re shouting at each other) is something I can’t take for very long. Last week, when my husband and I were having dinner with my parents, like we do every Friday night, I had to excuse myself from the table. The booming voices of my family (or at least I perceived them as booming) and the bright lights over the table were too much for me.
How I Cope With Overstimulation
Living a life where even the most basic events take me over the top isn’t easy. I miss going to parties and rock concerts like I used to do when I was younger-- I wasn’t always like this. But at the same time, going to parties and rock concerts was never a regular thing for me, so their absence in my life now isn’t that noticeable. As for going to the grocery store, I just get in and out of that labyrinth of choices as quickly as I can, and that works for dealing with that problem. And my family is my support system. They understand if I have to leave the pasta and take a break.
photo by George Street Photo and Video
Caudy, E. (2015, April 21). Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Overstimulation, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2015/04/schizophrenia-schizoaffective-disorder-overstimulation
Author: Elizabeth Caudy
I glad that you shared your story it helps me to see I'm not as alone as I feel. I wish that I had all the family support you have my family just won't understand. I sometime remember back when I once was normal when I would be around crowds of people laughing ,joking and partying all night now I wish I could just make it through the day doing the simple things food shopping,laundry,getting an pedicure, manicure ,doing my hair my God it seem so hard all the voices having to talk to so many people living in NYC I would just die if I didnt drive and had to get on the train or bus. I hate the thought of going to a business meeting with my husband I used to be the brains or a simple parent teacher meetings I learning to except my illness I spent years thinking I was normal and I had a special gift that I had to keep secret .Then one day I woke up out of that fog an begin to except my horrid truth of shizophrenia Im one of the many family members from my dads side that have it yet nobody on that side has a clue if they did they would blacklist me like the others. stay strong it get easier once you start to except your illness and fight back knowing what you need to cope.