Why Getting Older with Schizoaffective Disorder Is Hard
I am turning 41 years old this April. Getting older is hard for everyone, but it’s especially hard when you have a chronic illness such as schizoaffective disorder. Here’s why.
Getting Older with Schizoaffective Disorder and Feeling Old
I first started to feel old when I turned 25, six years after I’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia and three years after I’d been re-diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Now that I’m in my 40s, I realize it was ridiculous to feel old at 25. Is it ridiculous to feel old when you’re in your 40s?
I’d like to think so, but I have this impending sense of doom that my schizoaffective disorder is keeping me from doing things I want to do and that time is now running out. I am specifically referring to my schizoaffective anxiety. My anxiety makes everything--and I do mean everything--so, so difficult. Add in the stress and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic and I have the perfect storm for worrying that life is passing me by.
Yet, maybe I’m being too hard on myself. My schizoaffective anxiety kept me from going to parties, but then I went to a party earlier this year. And the anxiety used to keep me from washing my hair, but now I wash my hair regularly. And COVID-19 has brought me and my three siblings much closer with an ongoing stream of upbeat emails.
Maybe, just maybe, I’m slowly getting better. My therapist has said she thinks so too.
Schizoaffective Disorder and Feeling Like I’m Running Out of Time
But, at almost 41, I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m running out of time. Time for what? I always wanted to be famous. Now I don’t think I’d even like being famous, especially since my psychotic episode decades ago scared me most because I truly thought everyone was talking about me. Well, fame means everyone really would be talking about me when I entered a room. And for lots of other reasons, being famous sounds like a way to make life much harder.
I also always wanted to live in New York City. I did live there for a few months in 2000 when I studied for a semester at Parsons School of Design at the New School University. I studied there under the auspices of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2002. I want to be able to call myself a New Yorker, but one of the ways I cope with my schizoaffective disorder is to stay near my support system of trusted doctors and family in Chicago. This feels a lot like a solution, but also a lot like me letting my schizoaffective disorder and anxiety keep me from my dreams.
Again, maybe I’m being too hard on myself. Chicago is a great city and I’m only a short train ride away from downtown.
Maybe the way I’m feeling is simply that old fear of missing out (FOMO) and my life is fine. Of course, I’d rather not have schizoaffective disorder. But this is my life, and I’m doing the best I can. That’s enough. Wait--my life is more than enough. I have a wonderful partner of 13 years, and, through this blog, I’m living out my dream of being a professional writer. That’s not only just enough. That’s stellar.
Caudy, E. (2020, April 16). Why Getting Older with Schizoaffective Disorder Is Hard, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, August 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2020/4/why-getting-older-with-schizoaffective-disorder-is-hard