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How Sheltering-at-Home Affects My Schizoaffective Disorder

April 2, 2020 Elizabeth Caudy

I mentioned in last week’s article that sheltering-at-home with schizoaffective disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t that hard for me because my schizoaffective anxiety keeps me in so much anyway. However, now the extreme isolation is starting to take its toll.

Schizoaffective Disorder Intensifies Sheltering at Home

Schizoaffective disorder intensifies the stress of sheltering-at-home. It's hard to lose my routine. I haven’t been able to go to in-person therapy appointments because of the pandemic. As of this writing, I’ve had one phone session. Hopefully, we’ll be able to switch to video sessions soon. But that’s just one arena of my new isolation.

My husband Tom and I go to my parents’ house for dinner with them every Friday night. We got together last week as usual. We didn’t hug or touch in any way, not even clicking glasses for making a toast. We just raised our glasses instead. It was hard not to be able to even touch my mother and father. But this week, after the sheltering-at-home protocol took effect, we aren’t going there at all. I often stop by to see them during the week and that’s stopped too.

I’ve always had a routine for my weeks. Every other Tuesday night I would go to a support group, every Thursday I would go to therapy and then go out for tea with a friend, And every Friday night Tom and I would have dinner with my parents. Most Saturday mornings, I had breakfast with my parents and my mom and I ran errands since she works and she’s off on weekends. And every other Saturday night Tom and I would go out for dinner.

So that was my routine. And now it’s gone. Routines are especially important when you have a mental illness like schizoaffective disorder. I could have gone to my parents’ house for breakfast on Saturday, but I had developed a slight cough so I wanted to stay in. Of course, I was worried that even the mildest cough meant I had COVID-19. But that’s another article.

Schizoaffective or Not, It’s Important to Shelter-at-Home

It especially stinks to be staying at home when it’s starting to warm up. And, even though I don’t usually go out much, that makes the times I do all the more important. I looked forward to the routine every day. I realize I can still head out for a walk alone, but it’s hard to go when I don’t have any place I’m going to or people I’m going to see.

I know I’m not in this alone. And I think it’s very important that people stay in. It takes up to 14 days from contracting COVID-19 for symptoms to show. The whole point of sheltering at home is to prevent the wildfire spread of this illness when people don’t have any symptoms and they don’t know they have COVID-19.

I mentioned I have a cough. I had thought it had gone away last week, but it came back. I especially want to stay in while I have this cough. The cough is waning and it’s such a slight cough I wouldn’t think anything of it if the pandemic weren’t going on, but I mostly don’t want to scare people. Besides, I don’t really have many choices since Illinois residents are still under a shelter-at-home order.

So, yeah, it’s a bummer. I know it ’s worth it for my health and for the health of those around me. And practicing shelter-at-home is something positive I can do during this crisis. So I’ve been starting to make routines while sheltering at home to help me stay structured and calm even though I have schizoaffective disorder. After all, this may be the new normal for a while.

What are you doing to keep your mental health routines during this shelter-at-home, COVID-19 epidemic? Share what you are doing in the comments below.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2020, April 2). How Sheltering-at-Home Affects My Schizoaffective Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, August 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2020/4/how-sheltering-at-home-affects-my-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.

John Arthur Caudy
April, 4 2020 at 10:45 pm

We all are going a little stir crazy. I try to make a little routine of doing a different task in a different room of the apartment. Hang in there. And we'll talk soon. I love you so much.
J

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