I have low self-esteem and schizophrenia (schizoaffective disorder). Unfortunately, I often feel very low self-esteem. I don’t know if it’s because of my schizoaffective disorder, but the schizoaffective disorder sure doesn’t help.
How Self-Esteem and Schizophrenia Are Connected
I Don’t Trust My Schizoaffective Mind
I feel I can’t trust my own mind. I’d say that’s a pretty good trigger for low self-esteem. I’m constantly second-guessing myself and calling up people in the middle of their busy days to ask them if it’s okay that I did something, such as hanging a coat damp with snow across the back of a chair near the radiator to dry. Would I start a fire? Did I do this right? It’s always about really basic, simple things, too: whether I took out the garbage “right” or whether I cleaned up a mess in my apartment “right.”
Most people would say there’s no wrong or right way to clean a spill or take out the garbage, but I find things and fixate on them. For example, should I have tied the knot on the garbage bag tighter? My brain focuses on the minute details to the point where reality is distorted.
I Am Too Hard on Myself
Unfortunately, I also have really low self-esteem about this blog. I hate to admit that to you. It’s just that I care about it so much and I care about helping the people who read it and I want to make it perfect. And, well, nobody’s perfect. I’m constantly getting positive feedback from readers about what a good job I’m doing to zero-in on troubling issues they face too. But I still feel really anxious and insecure about my work.
My friends and family are always telling me I’m too conscientious and too hard on myself. Again, I don’t know if this comes from having schizoaffective disorder. When people tell me this, though, it tends to go in one ear and out the other. Maybe I should start paying attention.
Part of me does pay attention, but I worry that if I stop being so tough on myself about this blog or about any other thing, I won’t be driven to do it as well as I do. Okay, this doesn’t make sense, either. I know that I do my best work when I am relaxed, open, and receptive. And it’s well-known that people perform better when they have confidence.
My therapist recently suggested I talk to myself like I’m my own best friend. A best friend would definitely not say the things I say to myself. Sometimes the things I say to myself work me up into such a frenzy that I hear schizoaffective voices. (Stress brings on the voices.) When I find myself engaging in this kind of negative self-talk, I sometimes ask myself, “Is this worth hearing voices over?” It never is.