“But you seem normal, you can’t have schizoaffective disorder? I know of someone with that and she can’t work, and she can’t go to Uni. You do both, maybe you’ve been misdiagnosed!”
Thank you for your opinion, however you do not have as much specialist knowledge as my psychiatrist.
When I was eight years old, I had overwhelming feelings of self-hatred and intrusive thoughts.
When I was nine years old I was suicidal.
When I was 12 years old, I began hearing voices that told me to burn objects and clothing items that were of importance to me. I would sit on my bedroom floor clutching my head, rocking back and forth for hours to stop the voices.
When I was 14 years old my paranoia was so severe, I chose to take a lifelong vow to hide whatever was in my head, because if anyone found out then they would kill me.
When I was 15 years old and I let a friend know some things that was happening at home, I got told I was attention seeking. I told my parents I felt suicidal and I was told the same thing.
When I was 16 years old, I was self-harming. I hallucinated, I felt worthless and I was extremely paranoid that people were trying to kill me, controlling me and were pretending to like me. I had my first manic episode. I couldn’t sleep but I didn’t need to sleep. I started getting into debt and I was risky and careless. I started using drugs regularly – anything I could get my hands on. It was a pure escape and I found I could talk about my feelings for the first time and the next day no one would remember what I had said.
When I was 18/19, I was using drugs daily. I thought it had been helping me initially but my already severe paranoia was in overdrive. My hallucinations were not as subtle and I had a hard time pretending I could cope with day-to-day life. I hated myself the most at this point. I had dropped out of college three times since school had ended. The only job I had was for four hours in a shop on a Saturday and I hated it. I gave up taking drugs when a friend was clearly addicted and it was making him ill. It was a wake-up call. I was rock bottom. I was abusive to everyone I knew because I was convinced they secretly hated me. My paranoia and depression were still severe and I had developed agoraphobia and panic disorder alongside these.
At 21, I gained employment. I also had a very severe manic episode where I thought I had the cure for specific diseases. I had unstoppable amounts of energy and I was ‘happy’. I thought I was a special person, chosen for a job most humans were unfit for; to guide the generation into an all-seeing and all-knowing phase. This shortly came crashing down into a very severe depression that I am surprised I survived. I got dismissed unfairly from my workplace and appealed this. I won.
Work is a constant battle. I am always changing my hours and shift patterns. University is an even bigger battle; I find it very easy to give up and it takes every single ounce of me to not throw in the towel every time I wake up in the morning but I am continuing to fight through what has ruined many chapters of my life so far.
I had no childhood. I had no teenage years at school; I was not care free and I was not happy. My late teenage years were not “the best years of my life” as everyone says. My early 20s were extremely difficult. I am now in my mid-20s and I am not letting something as insignificant as my diagnosis stand in my way.
Yes, I have friends.
Yes, I have a job.
Yes, I go to University.
And yes, I do have schizoaffective disorder.
Don’t judge someone who has tried to open up to you; they have probably been through a lot. And just remember, everyone has experiences they don’t share with everyone, even close friends and family.