My First Taste of Schizoaffective Depression

July 14, 2019 Elizabeth Caudy

I was experiencing my first taste of schizoaffective depression 25 years ago, in the summer of 1994, when I was 15 years old. It was nothing compared to the depression I’d experience later in life, and I didn’t even realize there was a schizoaffective disorder aspect to it, but I knew something wasn’t right.

My Bridge into Schizoaffective Depression

That summer, my bridge into schizoaffective depression, I felt sad all the time (although major depression is more than just feeling sad). I felt sad for two reasons: one, I didn’t have a boyfriend and, two, I was suffering a severe case of writer’s block. Writing was how I had defined myself the whole previous school year, my first year of high school.

I know what you’re probably thinking. “Well, aren’t all high school girls depressed when they don’t have a boyfriend?”

This was different than normal sadness about high school social stress. I’m sorry that I can’t describe exactly how—it’s just that the way I felt was that something wasn’t right. I obsessed over the things I was depressed about and I was completely blind to the things that were good about my life.

Still, I didn’t experience the kind of depression I did later when I did things like refuse to get out of bed. I remember biking all over my neighborhood and reading voraciously. I remember I read seven books that summer—including The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. But I didn’t retain a lot of what I read. It was as if my eyes just skimmed over the words of those seven books.

Schizoaffective Depression Followed a Mania

I had experienced schizoaffective mania my freshman year of high school.

When I look back on being 14 and my freshman year of high school, I remember a feeling of brilliant expanse. This is not typical of freshman year of high school. The case with me was that I had joined the school’s Writers’ Group and upperclassmen were impressed by my writing.

I was also falling in love with photography. I started skipping classes that didn’t interest me to work in the darkroom. I would spend hours in there.

It was lucky that I fell in love with photography because, by the fall of 1994, when I felt betrayed by the muse of writing, my photography saved me.

Even in that summer of 1994, with my first taste of schizoaffective depression, I managed to help my dad build a darkroom in our basement. I biked a lot and read all those books. But was I in the slightest way happy about or proud of these things?

The answer is no. It was the start of what would be a very long journey—one that continues to this day. But I didn’t know I was on the road of schizoaffective disorder.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2019, July 14). My First Taste of Schizoaffective Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

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