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Schizoaffective Disorder

About 16 years ago, I was prescribed an antipsychotic for my schizoaffective disorder, and it triggered obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms. Here are some of the ways I acted with schizoaffective disorder and OCD.
My physical therapist, Marge, really surprised me by starting a conversation about mental health stigma on my last visit with her. I need to be in physical therapy because I’m recovering from double knee replacement surgery. Our conversations have revealed that she’s very anti-mental health stigma. Some people aren’t, so I just don’t discuss it with them. Physical therapy suddenly took on a whole new dimension.
Schizoaffective anxiety and recovering from surgery are a particularly bad combination. Yesterday, I was picking up some packages from the mail room. The mailroom is down a flight of stairs from our apartment. Only one package of four free COVID tests would fit in my tote bag, so I had to carry the other one by hand. I have a system for getting the mail on such occasions since I just had double knee surgery, and it’s hard for me to get up and down stairs. Schizoaffective anxiety in recovery makes it harder because I'm scared.
I just tested positive for COVID-19 on top of managing schizoaffective disorder and anxiety, and having just had the second of double knee replacements.
Now, I have therapy skills for my schizoaffective disorder, but that wasn't true when I was younger. My first psychotic episode hit 25 years ago this holiday season, when I was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). I was only 19 years old—terrified and somewhat unaware of what was happening. I’ve grown up a lot since then. You can grow and change while living with a mental illness. I know because I did, and my mental illness changed with me. What helped me and my schizoaffective disorder grow up, along with medication, are skills I learned in therapy. Here are some of the ones I found to be most helpful.
My psychiatric nurse practitioner is reducing my anti-anxiety medication for my upcoming knee surgery when I will be on painkillers. She says long-term use of an anti-anxiety medication can cause cognitive impairment. My therapist says it’s addictive, which I already knew from decades of using it on an as-needed basis. Here's what reducing my anti-anxiety medication has been like.
I’ve written a lot about my past knee replacement surgery in my right leg. But I have another knee replacement in my left leg in less than a month. Since I know what to expect, I can prepare better this time. Hopefully, because of this, my schizoaffective anxiety won’t flare up as badly because of the surgery.
I previously wrote that I would never go on another weight loss medication. As it turns out, I lied.
My recent surgery is negatively affecting my mental health. My last post was about having a schizoaffective episode right after the surgery. As if that wasn’t enough, I have had to go through and am going through a lot of other stress and anxiety, too. While my knee is healing well, the surgery's mental health impact is almost unbearable.
This August, I underwent knee replacement surgery and had a schizoaffective episode. I didn’t think getting this surgery would affect my mental health as much as it did. Here’s how I ended up in a schizoaffective episode.