Isolating Myself Because of Schizoaffective Disorder and GAD

Thursday, March 8 2018 Elizabeth Caudy

Isolating myself because of schizoaffective disorder and anxiety is just something I do. Learn why I'm simply afraid to socialize with anyone other than 'safe people' at HealthyPlace.

I'm isolating myself because of schizoaffective disorder and generalized anxiety disorder because I’m simply afraid to socialize in all sorts of ways—even more recently, in support groups. Here's why I'm isolating myself.

I'm Isolating Myself Because I’m Afraid Others Judge Me

Ever since I was diagnosed with schizophrenia and then schizoaffective disorder, I’ve kept my distance, isolating myself from the world. Interestingly, I dated enough to meet my husband 10 years ago. But I haven’t made many new friends and the ones I’ve made I normally see with my husband. I think I’m afraid that people will judge me for my schizoaffective disorder and generalized anxiety.

Some characteristics of my mental illnesses can make me feel self-conscious even in support groups. Meeting people has just become much harder. I hate making small talk. Also, if someone innocently jokes around —for example, pointing out that I bring my umbrella everywhere—I don’t take it as a joke. I take it very personally (How to Stop Taking Things Personally).

Isolating Myself but Feeling Lonely

I know I’ve written about being lonely. You’d think that because I’m lonely, I’d want to make new friends. But I’m so self-conscious about my mental illnesses at times that it makes it hard for me to socialize with anyone but “safe” people—my husband, the rest of my family, an old friend from high school, and old friends who live out of town. I don’t visit the out-of-towners, though, because I’m afraid to fly anywhere.

Luckily, these traits fluctuate in severity, as they do for many of us with a mental illness. And that gives me a window of opportunity. My old high school friend became a safe person because I got together with her so often—just the two of us having lunch or tea. Right now, though, I’m feeling very skittish. I’m even afraid to eat in front of people I don’t know that well. That’s one of the traits that can kick in to make me feel self-conscious in support groups. I try to push myself to make a group meeting. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t (Are You Afraid of Group Therapy?).

Even Though I Isolate Myself, I’m Worth Getting to Know

Deep down, I know that even with my schizoaffective disorder and painful anxiety disorder I’m still a good, smart, funny person worth getting to know. One acquaintance made my day by describing me as charming.

It’s been hard not having many friends, especially friends who live close by. Luckily, for better or for worse, this era of Facebook and the Internet allows me to socialize with others while in the privacy of my apartment. But that’s not the same as meeting with someone face to face. People are different on the Internet than they are in real life. So, hopefully, with spring, I’ll gain another period of confidence to interact with others in real life and not isolate myself so much.

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

View all posts by Elizabeth Caudy.

Isolating Myself Because of Schizoaffective Disorder and GAD

Rene Bertoša
says:
March, 12 2018 at 4:06 pm

Thank you Elizabeth for sharing your story. Best wishes?

Catherine
says:
March, 24 2018 at 11:14 am

Thank you for sharing.

Kelly
says:
April, 21 2018 at 6:00 pm

I consider myself a recluse because I really don’t venture out very often. I do have close friends, like you said “safe people” and my family too. I don’t drive and sometimes when I really want to go somewhere I take uber because i try not to have to depend on any one. I use “calm” on my phone for all my meditation sessions and also have a therapist I talk to once a month. I am really afraid of crowds. I feel all sorts of anxiety cuz of that!! . I hope you and Tom have a great weekend!

Linda
says:
June, 27 2018 at 9:55 am

Hello! My adult son, Eric has both schizoaffective disordet and GAD. He lives at home & he is 36. He has no friends although he used to have an older widower gentleman who he saw at church when he would go. He has now stopped that. He says he is always making jokes with him & he gets irritated at that. He is so isolated & continues to get more and more as time goes by. You are blessed to have your husband. How I wished he could find the right someone. I cannot hardly get him to his dr. His scripts will expire soon. Do u do better when you make yourself get out more?

June, 27 2018 at 2:48 pm

I do find I do better when I make myself go out more, although my GAD makes it hard for me to go out. You're right, I am blessed to have my husband.

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