There is no quick fix for managing schizoaffective disorder and dealing with mental illness. For me, it requires a constant, concerted effort on a daily basis. Being aware of my thoughts, and staying positive are critical for me to move forward. I also enjoy tremendous family support, which I couldn’t live without. I hope that by sharing my experience with schizoaffective disorder, other people will be encouraged to help themselves or a loved one deal with mental illness.
I’ve been trying to work on my memoir each day during the week, so that I’ll have a manuscript draft ready by the fall. I’ve found that describing what I remember from my experiences over the past 10-12 years is often exhausting.
After spending a couple of hours writing, I feel tired and drained. The physical act of writing isn’t strenuous, it’s pulling the memories out of my head and thinking about how best to describe them to the reader. Much of what I remember is so bizarre that I’m not sure anyone would believe what I’ve written. Often, truth really is stranger than fiction. I also want to bring out the positive experiences that I’ve had, and most importantly, describe in detail how I transformed what I perceived as a truly hopeless situation into a valuable experience that will encourage other people.
Although I’ve made significant progress over the past few months, the voices still bother me occasionally. I heard them last night in the shower, so I distracted myself to keep from listening to them. I don’t remember what the voices were saying, but I kept my thoughts occupied by focusing on a Korean boy who sang beautiful opera on the Korean version of America’s Got Talent.
If I don’t make a concentrated effort to focus on my own thoughts, I get pulled into what the voices are saying, and either start insulting them or arguing with them. In the past, I was often angry with the voices. I would insult them and call them names in my head when I wasn’t arguing with them. I was afraid of the voices. Now, I am almost always able to ignore them. For me, this is a huge improvement. It means they are not influencing my life any longer, and they no longer have any power over me.
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