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Beating Up on Myself Because of Schizoaffective Disorder

May 14, 2020 Elizabeth Caudy

Because of my schizoaffective disorder, I beat up on myself a lot. Whenever anything goes wrong, I blame myself--or look for ways to blame myself. As a feminist, I want to love the goddess that I am, but this isn’t the reality for me.

Beating Up on Myself with Negative Self-Talk

Beating up on myself came to a head and I knew I had to change my self-talk when, today, I was sobbing over a “stupid mistake” I had made. My husband Tom asked me,

“Why are you beating yourself up to the point where you’re making yourself cry? Imagine if I talked to you the way you talk to yourself?”

Here was the “stupid mistake:” I had researched charities for a specific cause that I wanted to help but didn’t know much about. I finally felt I had found the best charity. The researching part was fun. But I knew that when I made the actual transaction, my schizoaffective brain would find something to freak out over. My brain delivered: on the receipt, my apartment number was listed twice in the address. I felt so irresponsible that I had not more closely looked at my address before I submitted the donation.

That’s when I started sobbing and continued sobbing even after Tom assured me the people at the charity would be able to figure out it was a typo. It wasn’t until my mom also assured me it would be fine that I calmed down. And it wasn’t until I wrote through the entire experience that, now, I’m able to take pride in the fact that I helped make a difference.

Beating Myself Up for Something that Wasn’t My Fault

Of course, this isn’t the only example of my schizoaffective disorder causing me to beat myself up. I guess the most extreme example occurred about 20 years ago when I was still living with my parents. My brother and his friends invited me to go see a movie and I declined. But one of my brother’s close friends asked to drive my car, needing a second vehicle to accommodate the whole group. He totaled it. I blamed myself for the car accident with the rationale that, if I had gone, I would’ve driven the car and the accident would never have happened.

I knew at the time that this was ridiculous, and no one was hurt. But I still needed reassurance about it.

My dad says that when I do this I’m listening to an alter-ego he calls “Bad News Betsy.” Betsy is a bully. She wants me to believe that everything I do is wrong--even not going to a movie because the trip there involved a car accident, which doesn’t even make sense.

Today I went for my daily 45-minute walk even though it was raining. Usually, I would have not gone on the walk because of the rain, but I wanted to challenge myself. You would think I would have been proud of myself for this. Instead, I beat myself up over the fact that I accidentally let my umbrella graze a cardboard box poking out of a garbage bin. I should’ve been watching my umbrella more closely, I told myself.

Also, as always happens these days on walks, I chastised myself for times I was unable to adhere to proper social distancing. Maybe it would be a good idea to start chalking all this up to Betsy, as a way to distance me from her.

I could also acknowledge that I have low self-esteem. Who doesn’t? I wish I could love the goddess within me, like a true feminist. But, there I go again, beating myself up, this time for not being enough of a feminist.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2020, May 14). Beating Up on Myself Because of Schizoaffective Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2020/5/beating-up-on-myself-because-of-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.

Baby Brother John Caudy :)
May, 19 2020 at 10:21 pm

You can do this. Take it one step at a time, and keep up the exercise! It was so great talking to you today. I love you so much Elizabeth!!! Love Johnny ❤️❤️

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