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Schizoaffective Disorder

In September and then again in January, I increased my antipsychotic for schizoaffective disorder even though I knew it would probably cause weight gain. And, it did. But I am much better off now mentally than I was before I made the changes, so I don’t want to decrease the schizoaffective medication just to lose weight.
My schizoaffective disorder makes it hard for me to clean my home. I do little things here and there, though. I regularly take out the garbage and the recycling and I do a bit of dusting. But it’s not enough. My apartment is still very messy. It’s messy to the point where my husband Tom and I don’t have people over. It’s really embarrassing to say to friends, “We can’t have you over because our apartment is too messy.” We just don’t invite friends over.
Reading books helps immensely with my schizoaffective disorder and my schizoaffective anxiety. Reading books is a great escape, too, and gives value to my time. But it’s a catch-22 because, in order for me to be able to concentrate on a book, my schizoaffective anxiety has to be at a lower level than it usually is.
My mother inspires me. Don't get me wrong -- both of my parents are great. They have both been very supportive of me my whole life, including during my first and only psychotic break and my diagnosis of schizophrenia and then schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. But in this article, I am going to focus on how my mother inspires me.
As I’ve confided before, one of the most debilitating symptoms of my schizoaffective disorder is that I hear voices. I’ve been hearing them a lot more often lately. I’ve been hearing them so often that I called my psychopharmacologist to raise the dosage of my antipsychotic medication. That helped a little bit, but I’m still hearing them more often than I’d like to. Here’s how I’m dealing with these schizoaffective voices.
Even though March is a hard time of year for my schizoaffective disorder, I am focusing on learning to love myself. Besides, I also tend to benefit from taking on new projects. After all, it is seven years ago this March that I quit smoking. So, this spring, I’m taking on the project of self-compassion. And learning to love myself is proving to be more difficult than I first thought it would be.
My current lack of exercise is hurting my mental health. As I write this, it’s the end of February with no end in sight to a particularly brutal Chicago winter. We’ve been pummeled with snowstorms and numbing cold almost daily. I know I need to get outside and walk or do some kind of exercise, but when I look outside at the l drab and gray landscape and the snow keeps falling from the thick blanket of clouds over the sky, I just can’t find the motivation. And this lack of exercise is having a very negative impact on my mental health.
My Uncle Carl died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 81 on January 24. Everyone in the immediate family called him Buddy—so to me, he was Uncle Buddy. He was my mom’s brother. I loved him very much, and we had something very important in common—we both had schizoaffective disorder, and we're both more than our schizoaffective disorder.
My schizoaffective anxiety makes me overthink simple tasks. I mean everything. And “overthink” is an understatement. I obsess about the worst case scenario of almost all the things I do—washing my hair, doing the laundry, and driving in the rain are all this way. This is called “catastrophizing.” My mind makes a catastrophe out of the simplest plans and tasks. It’s very hard to live this way.
Sometimes, I expect myself to just snap out of it: it being my schizoaffective anxiety. This is problematic for several reasons. First, it reeks of self-stigma—to the point where I would say it is a form of self-stigma. What’s even worse, it can block me from doing the necessary hard work in therapy to get better.
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