Author Archives: Preslee
I’m afraid. Afraid of words that are labelling me. Afraid to sleep alone. Afraid to spend the days alone. I’m afraid.
I know it’s just a word. I’m good with words. It’s a diagnosis. But it’s a diagnosis that I don’t completely understand. I’ve been digging, trying to find resources for myself and to share with others. Honestly, there’s not much out there. Did this just pop up out of nowhere? How do they even know this is me? Then I look at the symptoms again, and my past behaviors with and without medications, and realize this is me.
I’ve always been so good at being alone that it’s never bothered me before. But now, the silence is deafening. There is no joy. Only me and the shadows that come around every so often. I think it’s the silence that scares me the most. But being around people and noise is too much. I just want you, just you.
And that scares me too. I’m too dependent on you. It’s too much for you, for me to put all my fears into you. To hold me up when I’m falling apart and yet, here you are with the tape and glue. It’s too much for one person. And I’m afraid that I’m killing you or pushing you away by pulling you too close.
I just feel afraid of everything and I don’t know how to make it stop.
I’ve been doing more research, reading some articles and blogs, and I think I have a better understanding of this.
Schizoaffective disorder has two types, bipolar type and depressive type. Bipolar type shows mood swings and mania, while depressive type shows depressive episodes.
Since I’ve been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, I’m going to talk about that one the most.
According to HealthyPlace, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder are in two completely separate categories.
A person with bipolar disorder can have hallucinations or delusions as part of a mood episode (think bipolar with psychotic features) and still be considered just bipolar. The psychotic features are not the main problem. The mood symptoms are. Just like a person with schizoaffective disorder can have mood symptoms but not be bipolar, because the mood symptoms are not the main issue at hand.
Here are the criteria for schizoaffective disorder according to the DSM-IV:
So, seeing that, and reading a couple of blogs from people with the disorder, I think that I might have had this all along and I’ve been misdiagnosed previously.
Looking back on my life, I can remember times that I’ve seen ghosts – started when I was a kid. They were always in my house, in my school, at work. I thought, at one point that maybe I was a medium of sorts. When I was younger, I used to talk to angels – or that’s what I’ve been told by my mom. Hallucinations of death, that I recognized as death, started when I was 15. I noticed that the hallucinations stopped when I got on medications. By that time though, I really just thought I had an active imagination, I never expected that I had a mental health disorder that caused me to have hallucinations.
I’ve known for a long time that I’ve been bipolar. The mood symptoms are just too much not to notice. The highs and the lows.
One thing I know, this disorder doesn’t make me scary or dangerous. I am not a danger to others or to myself. I’m ok. And if I need help, I have the resources to get help.
That’s my new diagnosis. I don’t know how to feel about it. To be honest, it makes me feel crazy. I’m fine with being bipolar. I’ve been fine with it for a while now, you know except when I’m screaming that I don’t want to be bipolar anymore…. But other than that, I’m ok. But you start throwing words like schizoaffective/schizophrenic at me…that’s where I start getting scared.
I know it’s the stigma. The stigma attached to the words schizophrenic, schizophrenia, and schizo is bad. That’s where people start saying that you’re crazy, dangerous, etc. And I am scared of a word. That’s all it is really, a word to describe my symptoms. But the stigma that comes with it, even as someone who wants to be an advocate, just terrifies me.
What is schizoaffective disorder?
Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions, and symptoms of a mood disorder, such as mania and depression. -NAMI
Schizoaffective disorder is a relatively rare disorder and has been little studied but it is estimated to affect 0.32% of the population. The cause of schizoaffective disorder is not known but genes and brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) may play a role. Some doctors believe that schizoaffective disorder is simply a variant of schizophrenia and not a separate disorder in its own right.1 – Healthy Place
Schizoaffective disorder symptoms may vary from person to person. People with the condition experience psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, as well as symptoms of a mood disorder — either bipolar type (episodes of mania and sometimes depression) or depressive type (episodes of depression).
The course of schizoaffective disorder usually features cycles of severe symptoms followed by periods of improvement with less severe symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of schizoaffective disorder depend on the type — bipolar or depressive type — and may include, among others:
- Delusions — having false, fixed beliefs, despite evidence to the contrary
- Hallucinations, such as hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there
- Symptoms of depression, such as feeling empty, sad or worthless
- Periods of manic mood or a sudden increase in energy with behavior that’s out of character
- Impaired communication, such as only partially answering questions or giving answers that are completely unrelated
- Impaired occupational, academic and social functioning
- Problems with managing personal care, including cleanliness and physical appearance
— Mayo Clinic
From the little information that I have been given on the disorder, and it wasn’t from the doctor, it’s a “newer” diagnosis. And according to the information that I can find online it’s difficult to diagnose because it’s a mix of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, so people who have the schizoaffective disorder often get “misdiagnosed” with either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. And apparently it’s different than bipolar disorder with psychotic features because of how the psychotic and mood symptoms present in this disorder.
When I get back to the doctor in January, I hope to get more information. For now, this is all I have. So if any of my readers have any information that they have found, experienced, or anyone has shared with them, could you pass it along to me?
My life bothers me a lot.
There’s too much stress, too much frustration, too much, too much.
That being said, I don’t want my life to end. Some times I just want it to slow down.
I want to go back. All the way back. Rewrite some things and see where the path would change. But I know that, if that were possible, I wouldn’t have the family I do now.
I wish I could erase parts of my life. The parts that bother me the most.
I wish I could forget my childhood, not the good memories, just the bad ones. All the fighting, the harsh words, the emotional distress. Keep the good, erase the bad.
I wish I could forget Donna and all she did or didn’t do for me. All the times I wasn’t good enough for her. The pain she still causes me. I wish I could forget her, because I’m afraid to turn out to be just like her. But knowing her, how she is and what she does, makes me a better person. It’s a lesson in parenting I will never forget.
I wish I never married the first time. I lost a great opportunity when I did it, for what? A jerk who didn’t care about me or my feelings. I feel like spoiled goods for my husband now.
I wish I could take it all back. Retry my life and still end up with the love of my life. But I know that there is a plan bigger than me and that everything happened the way it was supposed to. Because if it didn’t, I wouldn’t have my soulmate. I wouldn’t be an advocate. I am where I am needed for now.
Things are going to change. I have goals now for my life and career. I just have to keep going.