Living With Schizoaffective Disorder

Updated on May 31, 2017
Audreyshropshire profile image

When I was 8, I began having auditory and visual hallucinations. At the age of 18 I was finally diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

Schizoaffective disorder is a combination of symptoms of schizophrenia and mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder. Symptoms may occur at the same time or at different times...

When I was 8, I called him my imaginary friend...

When I was eight years old, I began having auditory and visual hallucinations. I would hear people whispering to me when there was no one there, and I would see shadows that were not there. I would often respond to the voices I heard, and my parents thought I had an imaginary friend. I thought so, too.

As I grew older, the hallucinations became worse. I would often lay awake at night because my head was too loud and too busy to sleep. I would go through stages where I would have extreme amounts of energy; I would not eat or sleep and the house would be spotless. Then I would crash, and I would spend three days in bed.

When I was 13, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and given a cocktail of medicine. When I was 15, my mental illness got the best of me—and I began having suicidal thoughts. I ended up having my step-mom take me to the Children's Hospital, and from there I was escorted by police to a mental hospital where I spent a little over a week.

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on more medication. "This will help you sleep, this will help you regulate your emotions, this will help you stay awake."

When I was 18, I gave birth to my son and fell into a deep psychosis. Finally, I was honest with my family and my doctors, and I was given the correct diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. This means I have characteristics from both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

I am now 19, and I am the healthiest I have ever been mentally. I am very open about my mental health, and I let my loved ones know when I am struggling.

Living with this condition is a struggle, but not for the reasons you may think. I am able to combat my disorders symptoms, but for a very long time I was not able to combat the stigma that surrounds both bipolar and schizophrenia.

Living with the stigma is harder than living with the disorder

Both halves of my disorder hold very strong stigma in our society. On one hand, I'm the "bipolar girl" who snaps at everyone, and my mood changes like a light switch. On the other hand, I'm the "schizo" who will one day snap and harm everyone around me. Neither of these stereotypes is true, and I'm going to educate you on why holding this stigma can be very damaging to those around you.

You wouldn't know by looking at me, would you?

When you look at a picture of me, the first thing that comes to mind isn't psycho, is it? However, once I explain to you my diagnosis, the stigma that is so prevalent in our society begins to surface.

"What do you hear?"
"What do they tell you to do?"
"Are they telling you to hurt me?"

The answers are: I hear many different things; the voices aren't always telling me to do things; and no, I am not being told to hurt you, nor would I ever do that.

You can't look at someone and guess what issues they have. I've met many wonderful people in my life, many of whom have mental illnesses.

Use "person first" language

The last thing I'm going to talk about is something else that enhances the stigma about mental illness. When you are talking about someone with schizophrenia, do not refer to them as "schizophrenic." Instead, refer to them as "a person with schizophrenia." Using this kind of language separates the person before their illness or disorder. It shows that you understand they are not their illness; rather, that their illness is merely one part of them. This practice should be used for any illness or disorder.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Audreyshropshire profile imageAUTHOR

        Audrey Shropshire 

        13 months ago from Spokane

        Hi Denise, I'm very glad to hear her symptoms are being managed! Having this diagnosis is scary, especially for those that aren't inside the head of the person suffering. I made a video a few months back and uploaded it to YouTube about what it's like "in my head" to show my friends and family.

      • denise.w.anderson profile image

        Denise W Anderson 

        13 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

        I have a daughter with schizzo-affective disorder. She is currently 29 years old and living at home. She has had emotional disorders since birth, but the schizzo-affective part was added when she entered adulthood and had a break from reality. It has been a long and difficult road for our family, but we are grateful that her symptoms are currently managed with medication and she is able to live at home.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, healdove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://healdove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)