My Schizoaffective Anxiety Gets Worse in the Summer
Thursday, June 7 2018 Elizabeth Caudy
My schizoaffective anxiety is worse in summer when it gets hot (What Is Schizoaffective Disorder? 'DSM-5' Criteria). That really stinks because summer is supposed to be the best time of the year. It wasn't always this way--it didn't start happening until a few years ago. Here's how I cope now that my anxiety is worse in summer.
My Anxiety Wasn't Worse in the Summer Until a Few Years Ago
When I was in college and graduate school, summer was a welcome break from the hectic schedule I kept during the school year. Summer was also a time for schizoaffective medication changes. That was stressful in and of itself, but I didn't notice a direct correlation between anxiety and the heat.
Actually, I didn't notice it happening until the summer of 2014, right after my great aunt died. I was very close to her and she often complained about the summer heat. Another major change that happened just before was that I switched antipsychotics. Switching antipsychotics is the worst medication change I can go through, and I try my hardest not to do so unless it's absolutely necessary. The reason I made the move in 2014 was that the atypical antipsychotic I was on gave me symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Last summer, my doctor and I reduced my schizoaffective anxiety by lowering the dosage of my antidepressant. But I get really stressed out when I'm undergoing a medication change--my brain freaks out. What I mean by that is that my psyche doesn't adjust well to the change in chemistry at first. I think this is common. But since I know my brain is going to do that, and I have anxiety, I stress out about medication changes. That makes them worse.
How I Hope to Keep Anxiety from Getting Worse this Summer
This year, I'm trying to keep my schizoaffective anxiety at bay with cognitive behavioral therapy. In November, I started seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist, and right now we're working with a workbook that targets anxiety and worry.
Since I know the anxiety that accompanies my schizoaffective disorder gets worse in the summer, I try to tell myself that whatever I'm worrying about probably isn't real, it's just a part of my schizoaffective anxiety. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. But doing the exercises in my cognitive behavioral therapy workbook definitely helps. And I do always manage to enjoy fun parts of summer, like the Renaissance Faire and going to Door County with my family.
So even if it does stink that my schizoaffective anxiety gets worse when it's hot out, I'm using strategies to help and that will ensure I have a good summer, in spite of it all.