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Living with Schizophrenia

For the past six weeks, my left knee has been causing me a lot of pain. The pain is flaring up as I sit to write this. It may have been caused by doing a stretch during an online ballet class--I honestly don’t know what caused it. What I do know is that it hurts a lot, and it’s wreaking havoc on my schizoaffective anxiety and schizoaffective depression.
I used to dread the holidays because of my schizoaffective anxiety. This year, however, I’m looking forward to them. Here’s why.
I’ve told you about how exercise helps with my schizoaffective anxiety, but what I haven’t shared is the fact that my schizoaffective anxiety can make exercise stressful. Here’s why.
This summer, I went to Door County once again with most of my immediate family, including my brother’s new baby. Of course, my schizoaffective disorder came along for the ride. I didn’t have a perfect trip, but I still managed to have a reasonably good time.
I was diagnosed as schizophrenic in 1999 after a psychotic episode at college. My first diagnosis of a serious mental illness markedly changed my sense of fashion, and the changes stuck even with a later reassessment that I was schizoaffective. I have a few ideas as to why.
To celebrate my husband Tom’s birthday last week, we went to the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, Chicago, one of several venues of this virtual show. I was afraid my schizoaffective symptoms might get in the way of enjoying the exhibit or even be triggered by all the lighting and music. But the experience turned out to be so beautiful--it brought tears to my eyes. Here’s why.
Every summer, I go to the Renaissance fair. I’ve been going with various friends since I was 18, but since I met my husband Tom in 2007, we go together but don’t invite other people because of my schizoaffective anxiety. Even just hitting the "Ren Fair" with Tom can still make me anxious, and sometimes I even experience the schizoaffective symptom of hearing voices. Crowds do that for me. But that can happen anywhere, and I still like to go.
A blessing was recently bestowed upon my family--my brother, Billy, and his life partner, Sandy, had a baby girl, whom I adore. Even though they live in California and I live in Illinois, and even though I haven’t yet met Baby, watching videos of my niece has quickly become one of my coping skills for my schizoaffective anxiety.
My mom and I go north to Door County in Wisconsin together every spring for our mother-daughter weekend--just the two of us. We go back up with the rest of the family later in the summer. Last year, things were very restricted because of COVID-19. This year, we were vaccinated. Being vaccinated really helped with my schizoaffective anxiety, and it also made a big difference for our trip.
Walking has always been a way to help with my schizoaffective anxiety. That is, it was until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Then walking became scary until I got vaccinated and became fully immunized. So really, my vaccine reduced my anxiety.