Schizophrenia is a spectrum disorder. Some people experience acute symptoms, while others experience mild to no symptoms. When you begin to notice signs of schizophrenia, it's best to reach out for help. I did, eventually, and I found an intensive outpatient program (IOP) that has helped me and that I enjoy.
My psychopharmacologist of the past 20 years is retiring, and my former psychotherapist moved out of state, so I had to find a new therapist to treat my schizoaffective disorder and a new practitioner to prescribe psychiatric medication for my schizoaffective disorder.
For the past three months, I haven’t had insurance for my prescriptions or necessities such as blood work. During April and May, with no insurance even for doctors’ visits, including therapy, I experienced one of the most stressful periods I’ve ever lived through. Here’s what it was like.
My psychopharmacologist of almost 20 years is retiring, and I have to find someone new to treat my schizoaffective disorder. Lisa (not her real name) is terrific. She’s the one who re-diagnosed me as schizoaffective, bipolar type, instead of as schizophrenic. This was really helpful because mood stabilizers have proven key in helping with the schizoaffective voices I hear.
I’ve been taking ballet classes online as a way to get exercise without going out into the cold--or into a world contaminated with the COVID-19 virus. Here’s how ballet is affecting my schizoaffective anxiety.
Exercise really helps my schizoaffective disorder, particularly my anxiety. In the past, I've found it hard to exercise in the brutal Chicago winter weather. I’ve now found a way to exercise without even leaving my apartment building that I’d like to share with you.
It's 3:00 a.m. and I can't sleep. I'm sitting in the commons area of an eerily quiet psychiatric hospitalization unit while I recover from a relatively severe psychotic break. I wasn't going to blog this week because, well, the obvious. On top of that, all I have is pen and paper, no Internet access. But my wife still managed to post this week despite taking me to the hospital and picking up the slack in my absence. It is good to emulate one's heroes and I can think of no greater hero than my wife. I just wish I were a little more like her. But I have to remember that psychiatric hospitalization does not denote weakness.
My current lack of exercise is hurting my mental health. As I write this, it’s the end of February with no end in sight to a particularly brutal Chicago winter. We’ve been pummeled with snowstorms and numbing cold almost daily. I know I need to get outside and walk or do some kind of exercise, but when I look outside at the l drab and gray landscape and the snow keeps falling from the thick blanket of clouds over the sky, I just can’t find the motivation. And this lack of exercise is having a very negative impact on my mental health.
Negative symptoms of schizophrenia offer a harsh reality for me. I noticed a change in my ability to feel emotion shortly after I began exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia but long before formal diagnosis. I was well acquainted with feelings of depression and anxiety related to surviving child sexual abuse, but this was different. I lost interest in activities I formerly enjoyed, I no longer felt like associating with others and I felt a tremendous sense of indifference towards life in general. I was experiencing negative symptoms of schizophrenia.
Sometimes, I expect myself to just snap out of it: it being my schizoaffective anxiety. This is problematic for several reasons. First, it reeks of self-stigma—to the point where I would say it is a form of self-stigma. What’s even worse, it can block me from doing the necessary hard work in therapy to get better.