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How I Got Through the Holidays with Schizoaffective Disorder

January 17, 2019 Elizabeth Caudy

The holidays can be hard for someone with a mental illness like schizoaffective disorder. Learn how I got through the holidays with schizoaffective disorder at HealthyPlace.

Now that the holidays are over, I can sit back and congratulate myself on a job well done. I got through the holidays with lots of joy—and without having a meltdown. That can be hard for anyone, not just someone like me with schizoaffective disorder. I know the holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but all this pressure to be worry-free is one of the reasons the holidays can be so stressful, along with shopping, planning, and social commitments. Here’s how I got through the holidays with schizoaffective disorder and without having a major freak-out.

I Got Through the Holidays with Schizoaffective Disorder by Pacing Myself

I had to pace myself to get through the holidays with schizoaffective disorder. My family celebrates Christmas, as well as Christmas Eve. My husband Tom and I don’t have kids, we live in a small apartment, and I can’t cook, so my parents, who live in a big house two blocks away from us, host the festivities. My mom cooks a big dinner for us, my dad, my brothers—who come in from California—and friends.

It really is lovely. I especially appreciate getting to see my brothers. It’s very exciting. But it can get to be a little too exciting. So I pace myself. If conversing with everyone in the kitchen gets too overwhelming, my husband Tom and I go into the living room to hang out with my parents’ cat near the beautifully decorated tree and the fire in the fireplace.

Also, Tom and I usually leave before dessert, and we did that on the Christmas Eve and Christmas. My family was very understanding that I needed to do that because of my schizoaffective disorder. Sitting at the dining room table with more people than I was used to and trying to follow multiple conversations got overwhelming, as it often does on holidays ("Who Asked the Schizophrenic Voices to Dinner?"). So everyone understood, as they always do, that Tom and I needed to leave early.

This Schizoaffective Used CBT Skills to Get Through the Holidays

I used skills I learned in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to get through Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I used a skill that could be called challenging a thought. If I’m having a disturbing thought—that everyone in the room is annoyed at me, for instance—I gather evidence for and against that thought. More often than not, there’s a lot of evidence against the thought and not much evidence for the thought. So, using this technique over the holidays really helped me.

Also, Tom and I had a really low key New Year’s Eve. We ordered in food and watched a movie. We stayed up until midnight for the first time in years. I think I was able to stay up until midnight because there was no pressure to be at a party or even a restaurant that night. This goes back to pacing myself.

So, through using CBT skills and the skill of pacing myself, I was able to make it through the festivities of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’m very proud of myself.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2019, January 17). How I Got Through the Holidays with Schizoaffective Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2019/1/how-i-got-through-the-holidays-with-schizoaffective-disorder



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.

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