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SCHIZO AFFECTIVE DISORDER

What Is Schizo Affective Disorder?
Treatments
Research
Visitor Comments
Schizoaffective Links


What Is Schizo Affective Disorder?

Schizo Affective Disorder is quite rare and is defined as "the presence of psychotic symptoms in the absence of mood changes for at least two weeks in a patient who has a mood disorder."

Diagnosis of schizo affective disorder is given when the person does not fit the criteria for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other mood disorder ie, depression.

First off people with these symptoms are often diagnosed as having manic depression (bipolar disorder). Although, if delusions and hallucinations persist after the mood has stabilised and other symptoms of schizophrenia present themself, then the diagnosis of schizo affective disorder is given.

Misdiagnosis often occurs when someone presents with the symptoms of schizo affective disorder, because of the close relationship between; schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizo affective disorder.

Treatment:

A combination of therapy and drug treatments is often followed after diagnosis. A patient might be prescribed anti-psychotic medication and lithium, or anticonvulsant medication with lithium. However, because of the relatively close relationship between all three conditions, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizo affective disorder, an anti-psychotic medication will usually be prescribed for all three, with an addition of either lithium or an antidepressant.

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Research

Schizoaffective disorder from Better Health Channel.

There is also a Health Translations Online Directory that enables you, health practitioners, and those working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to easily find reliable translated health information.

The Directory provides web links to online multilingual resources across the health sector including government departments, peak health bodies, hospitals, community health centres and welfare agencies.

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The factual information on this page was compiled from:
NAMI (http://www.nami.org)


COMMENTS
by people who have had experiences with Schizo Affective Disorder.

Please send us your comments and experiences with Schizo Affective Disorder to share with others.

I was nearly 38 years when I started having symptoms of schizoaffective disorder in Mar 2002.† I'm told that is†very unusual for someone my age, considering I had no prior history of any abnormal psychotic behavior.†

It started out seemingly harmless enough.† I had many "mini" psychotic episodes that would last†up to†several hours at a time and manic in nature, and I managed to keep most of them a secret for over a month.† I was able maintain my life without too much disruption.† I didn't realize what was happening; I had recently completely†committed my life to Jesus Christ just two months prior, so†I thought I was going through some sort of spiritual warfare.††It seemed like I could physically sense a spiritual presence†and I thought it was God, but each episode would start off friendly and loving to only†lure me in to the delusion, and then the messages† would turn ugly to fear, terror and horror.† Each episode was progressively worse.† At the end of each episode, I would "snap out of it" with great†clarity†and think I was really stupid to be lured into that (as if I could have prevented it). †

Finally the auditory hallucinations kicked in to full gear, and†like before†it started off friendly and got progressively ugly.††It was a voice of deception; the devil himself.† It was like the voice took over my being and started talking for me and telling me to do†crazy things, which I did.† I felt as if I were in the back seat and someone else was†driving.† I felt helpless, I couldn't shut the voice up.† †It was my first†major psychotic break that landed me in the hospital for 12 days.† While I was in the hospital, I started to have visual hallucinations as well, and one night I tried to make a break for freedom and ended being tackled by the staff, restrained and sedated.

I was released from the hospital on Zyprexa, only to be non-compliant with it (the voices told me I didn't need the medication).† I ended up back in the hospital within 3 weeks.†† It was not as long the second time around.† This is when I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. They switched me to Risperdal, and I was soon stable. I was given Cogentin to offset some of the side effects, which worked pretty well.† I was told that if I didn't take my medication I would certainly lose my job that I had for 18 years.† That seemed to do the trick for me.† I was very compliant after that,†and I†have since been in remission.† I managed to keep my job, Praise God!

Socially, as long as I don't try to talk about my illness with people, I am accepted.† I notice it's okay to talk about all kinds of illnesses, i.e. cancer, surgeries people are having, etc., and sometimes even depression; and people talk freely about these illnesses .† But if anyone mentions any†psychotic disorders, it's as though a leper stepped in to the group†and people†don't want anything to do†with you.† Perhaps some†day that will change.† Society just isn't†there yet.†

I don't consider myself depressed, but I have comparably little†interest in my life long love of horses that I had until this happened.† I do focus my thoughts on eternal things and my relationship with Christ;†it's the most important aspect of my life.† The best therapy I have is prayer, worship, fellowship with other Christians, and to try to focus on other people's needs, helping out where I can.† Since I can't really talk to most people about my disorder,†I listen to other people talk about their problems, and pray with them and watch God working in†their lives, and my own.†

I'm thankful for a forum like this where I can share my experience openly.

(18/02/2005)

Thank you for maintaining this forum.

I was diagnosed as schizoaffective 5 years ago, although I displayed symptoms from my late teens.†

My experiences are similar to others on this page so I'd like to focus on some advice for coping with the disease.

First, I have found psychologists to be absolutely useless in regard to this disease, with one exception. I saw probably a half dozen psychologists over several years, none of whom even came close to diagnosing me or offering anything to help improve my life. I say this for 2 reasons: first this is a serious biological disease which for most people takes away everything one cherishes except faith and the body, and second, psychologists focus on behavior and compensatory responses to cope with illness.† There are no compensatory behaviors which will ever reduce or eliminate the strong delusions and occasional hallucinatory states.

Find a good psychiatrist. My psychiatrist is one of my few allies in life†and without him I would have great difficulty in managing the illness.† I have found a wide spectrum in how involved psychiatrists care to be. Try to find one who can explain to other professionals in the welfare system why it is you need help and how debilitating the illness can be.†

Another thing, if you have been reduced to the level where you can no longer work, take advantage of all the welfare that is available.† I spent years in destitution and often homeless and without medication. My so-called "social worker" never even bothered to tell me there was such a thing as food stamps, much less subsidized housing, free medication from the drug companies, etc. I finally made it on to SSDI, and I can tell you the reduced stress of no longer having to decide "do i buy meds or pay the rent?" is tremendous.†

I, like most schizoaffectives I have met, have a post-graduate education and a very high aptitude.† Being reduced in the end to manual day labor isn't what I consider being gainfully employed.† For me, social security provides double what I made as a laborer and of course releives me of the stress of trying to work while I'm completely psychotic.

Lastly, I think acceptance is a big step forward in living with the disease. While there's nothing anyone can do to prove to me that I don't work for the CIA, can make it rain, snow etc. or not, I also understand that this is delusion and I accept that it will never end.† This has taken away a great deal of the anxiety associated with delusion.† As far as the really psychotic times, when I think I'm the antichrist or a prophet and am hallucinating, the only thing that gets me through it is I know eventually it will pass, based on experience, but that doesn't make it any less painful.†

Although I lost my wife, family and friends to this disease, it's not that great of a loss in the big picture.† My greatest fear is that eventually, during a really psychotic episode, I will unwittingly commit a felony and get stuck in prison. That would be very bad.† On the other hand, I'm thankful that medicine and civilised people in general are beginning to come to grips with this disease and we are far better off today than those in past generations were. I hope these comments help someone.†

(21/01/2005)

I am 20 years old and have recently been diagnosed with the depressive type of schizoaffective disorder. I suffer from delusions, auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations, impulses, and suicidal ideation. I think I also have some sort of thought disorder. I am currently a junior in college and am majoring in Anthropology and Psychology. I have suffered from psychotic symptoms since I was about 14. I have had some half-hearted suicide attempts. (stepping in front racing vehicles). I was unaware there were others like me. I felt wierd. I've had countless nights, awake, hearing people making fun of me, talking about what I'm doing. I think people are reading my mind sometimes. I've seen people I care about all beaten up. I constantly think people are spying on me. I've spent countless nights up trying to see myself in my mirror. I can't see my face or body. I have trouble seeing the whole of things. I've spent countless nights up trying to see myself in the mirror while people talk about me and conspire throught the walls. Sometimes I'll look at my watch, thinking only minutes have passed, but instead the whole night is gone. I've had so many delusions over the years, I can't even remember them all. When I was younger I used to be more manic. Now I am depressive though. One night, alone in my dorm room, it got so bad I know I would have killed myself if I had had I shotgun. I knew I had to get help and I did. I was on medication for a little more than two months. I was on Depakote, Risperadol, and Zoloft. I got off the medication just recently though. The old problems have now returned. Added to these troules, I was molested by an older man when I was little boy. It is really hard for me sometimes. Still, I know I am stronger for knowing that I am not alone. This site has helped a lot. Sometimes I think I have to keep going, but sometimes it gets so hard.

(22/12/2004)

Hi. I am now 49 years old and have been diagnosed since age 33, with symptoms emerging at age 27 with a break-up with a college romance.† Needless to say, underground things started to happen and which trying to explain to psychs just left it frustrating.† I've been on a variety of meds since 1988, beginning with Serentil and now I am on the most recent that I know of, Abilify.† I'm not a stupid individual, although my family members rarely let me make own decisions regarding my benefit.† I live alone.† I am applying for SS as I have tried to work over the course of my illnesses developments, and have continuously failed.† I am delusional about my past and my self-esteem and self-worth sometimes make me immobile.† I somewhat attractive yet, but am afraid I will never meet Mr. Right in my lifetime, although there have been several Mr. Wrongs. It's hard for people to understand the illness' symptoms because they go unseen and maybe unnoticed.† I have both auditory and hallucinations, although they are both at a lull period now.† I have abounding faith in God, however, not much in people or what's out there to be offered.† I have much guilt, too.

(04/11/2004)

I'm a 53 year-old male. I was in treatment for depression since my first year in college at age 18. At age 26, I had my first psychotic episode after being dumped by my very first girlfriend. I've had two episodes since then, at ages 31 and 40, and was hospitalized twice as suicidal. My episodes involved walking or driving off and ending up at odd places. I seem to switch my mind off entirely and move on intuition alone. During the last episode I spent four days in an abandoned house babbling, zoning out, lost in my own mind, and performing odd rituals. I was taken to hospital after trying to start someone's car by twisting their license plate.

I have not been hospitalized or on medications for 12 years, held a bookkeping job for 24 years, earned a Master's degree, and was married 17 years. I still suffer from mood swings, especially with losses of love or esteem. What has kept me afloat has been spirituality. This includes a belief that I have some purpose to fulfill that only I can do--this is mostly a longing as I haven't found it yet. I believe that I planned my life out before I was born so as to have a serious set of obstacles to build character. I believe that if I leave before accomplishing my purpose, I will only be sent back and have to start over again. I believe that time doesn't matter that much--our souls are eternal. Finally I believe that we keep the lessons we have learned in this lifetime for future lifetimes. These beliefs might be delusional, but they have served me well.

Since quitting my job 4 years ago, I've moved out of the city, bought my very first house, worked with the developmentally disabled, and taken classes in psychology and screenwriting over the Internet. I've found answers to many of life's persistent questions on Google and in books. My current recommendations would be Drunvalo, the Kybalion (or Summum), and Machaelle Wright. Some of the Ascended Masters also have wise things to say. This is 'airy fairy' stuff I admit, but it seems to answer a need in me for some larger and less conventional reality. I've learned that a little bit of nuttiness in my life prevents me from having big episodes of nuttiness. The trick is in 'keeping my head' (maintaining the 'inner observer') at all times.

I've always been very quiet and withdrawn, but do enjoy daily voice 'toning' exercises to wake up the chakras followed by hymns I make up afterwards. Find what works for you whether it's yoga, meditation, aikido, drumming, chanting, dancing. Learn to trust your instincts. I believe that we are unique spiritual and sensitive people with subtle gifts that require lots of nurturing.

I wish rays of love and hope to you all, especially you younger folks. It's a difficult path to travel. Please stay the course. It gets easier with determination, understanding and acceptance. In other words, love.

(14/10/2004)

My counselor gave me a website address that led to this page.†† I can relate to everyone's experiences.

My worst feeling right now is that the devil is the voice in my head, therefore medicine won't make it go away.† In spite of this I have hope.† I hope that the devil will leave me alone, God will divert his attention elsewhere, and faith will make the medicine work because God heals by faith.

I don't know if I'm the manic or depressive type of schizoaffective disorder.† I've been told I seem manic, but I don't recall any "highs."† So, if I diagnosed myself, I would be depressive.† My worse symptoms are apathy and obsession with death.† To boot, I'm 26 years old and still live with my parents.† They inspire me with their lives, but the apathy prevents me from doing anything with mine.

I used to take Wellbutrin, which helped a lot, but am not anymore because of memory problems.† I now think the memory problems are from three overdoses so that's something I'm considering again.† Risperdol has been the best anti-psychotic so far, but I have gained 55 pounds in less than a year (apathy).

(17/09/2004)

I've read a lot about depression, but not much else at this site. I have schizoaffective disorder, ptsd, and a borderline disorder. How these affect me, is I cannot hold a job, I have terrible nightmares right now as I recover more and more memories of being molested by my much older brother when I was younger. I am the youngest of ten kids. Eight boys, two girls. My sister, who suffers from depression and ptsd, is 21 yrs my senior.

I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 16 yrs old. I was placed on lithium and zoloft, but got pregnant shortly thereafter, so I went off them. I've been off and on meds every since. I now take geodon, topomax, wellbutrin, zoloft, klonopin, and tetracycline. †I've been hospitalized four times, usually for cutting, as I am a cutter. I was rediagnosed†last year†as schizoaffective due to the†voices.†March of 2003 my daughter came forward with the fact that my ex husband had molested her pretty much the whole time I was married to him. So we went through all the proper channels, she had to testify before the grand jury to get an indictment, and a week before trial, the state's attorney decides to dismiss the case. All because I committed my daughter to a psychiatric unit for symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. Which was caused by what my ex husband did to her. But his attorney found out about it, and our attorney felt she couldn't handle the cross examination. How messed up is that? So not only is my life plagued by mental illness caused by sexual abuse, so is my daughter's. How unfair.

I was finally diagnosed with shizo affective disorder at the age of twenty nine and i spent two months in Psychiatric intensive care.

I had been seeing Psychiatrists since the age of sixteen on and off But despite my mother being diagnosed with croniic schizophrenia at the a ge of 25 Most told me to go away.Two Psychiatrists told me i was a mummies boy and told me to grow up.

I am on 150mg of venaflaxine and 600mg of sulpride daily and have never felt better and am holding Down a responsible stressfull job.

I would like to meet a girlfriend who has understanding as nearly all of my friends left me after my first major episode.

There is hope.

(14/05/2004)

I am a 30 year old female. I have been diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder. My first breakdown was in 1997. It is now 2004.

My life has been a living hell. I have no friends anymore. After my first bout with being mentally ill and being locked in a psychiatric hospital, I lost all of my friends. They just got scared and left. Mental illness terrifies people. I guess because society has made it so taboo.

I wish for one minute of their life, they could experience what we do everyday of our lives. If there could be a greater understanding of mental illness, I believe the mentally ill would have greater recovery rates.

During my first breakdown I heard voices tell me to die in a pool of blood. I thought people were after me and I was going to jail. I thought my sisters boyfriend was in the CIA and was spying on me to take me to jail. Now, the voices say negative things about me and tell me people are watching me and comment on things that I am doing.

The most ironic thing is that I have a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. My goal was to become a Child Psychologist. I was working with troubled and abused children in a residential facility at the time of my first breakdown. Everyday since then has a been a constant struggle.

I worked full time and went to school full time and made the dean's list all through college. I am on an anti-depressant and anti-psychotic. I will have to take meds for the rest of my life. I am glad to know that I am not alone in my plight with the horrific disease. Thank you for sharing your stories. They have been extremely comforting.

(MKR 30yr.old female)
(23/04/2004)

I have a schizo affective disorder and it has taken my life away. Everyday is hard for me. I try to avoid having hurtful thoughts which sometimes leave me feeling worthless and not good enough to have friends. You feel shameful and like people gang up on you. I sometimes wish there was a cure. I have to fight everyday. I try to think positive and this method is called Cognitive Behaviour therapy which involves taking strategies in thinking better. It is worth considering. It will make you appreciate yourself a little more. But Iíll be honest it is hard to live with this disorder but remember donít give up a fight.

(29/02/2004)

Thank you so much for posting the comments of other schizoaffectives. It really helped me to know, for instance, that "Michael" hears voices inside and outside his head -- like I do.

I'm thinking the voices I hear in my head are hallucinations and the ones I hear outside MUST be real and the people that are after me but now I am considering that they may be hallucinations as well..... ??

Hmmm.. Well, it really helps to know that others are going through the same things I am, reading what the others wrote is very helpful and again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

(43 Year Old, Female)
(03/07/2003)

I have only just been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder after a stay in hospital. I am 50 years old. Previously I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I am relieved at this diagnosis as it has a better prognosis than schizophrenia and my biggest fear was deterioration. I am a teacher who loves her job and I have a wonderful family who give me much love and support (what an understatement!) I was first hospitalized at the age of nineteen and stayed there for two years (those were the days) After that I met my present partner and stayed relatively symptom free for the next ten years, with only occasional voices and panic attacks. I finished my teacher training and in the belief that I was well, had three children. Then I had a difficult class, followed by massive anxiety and hallucinations. I had to stop work. The hallucinations were visual, auditory and tactile. My perceptions would alter in bizarre ways. I became paranoid. I was misdiagnosed with epilepsy and discouraged from seeing a psychiatrist by my neurologist (quack).

The acute stage gradually passed and I returned to work, coping with the help of anti-anxiety medication, but living a nightmare which no-one else was aware of. After a few years of this I was at last referred to Community Mental Health. Even there it took six months before they changed my initial diagnosis of anxiety disorder to schizophrenia. This was a breakthrough for me for I had long been convinced that this is what I had but could not convince the doctors or psychologists I saw. At last I had appropriate medication and counselling. The support I received and still receive is fantastic. A week ago I was irrationally suicidal. In hospital I was terrified that the nurses were going to kill me. Now I am home and feeling well. In two days I return to work. I feel that I am extremely lucky to have this support and modern medicine. Even though I hate to take antipsychotics with their side effects I realize I have no choice but to grit my teeth and bear it. It is a lot better than spending my days in a psychiatric hospital which is what would have happened to me thirty years ago. Let's hope the future brings even more improvements. To all of you with this or related illnesses. It's an incredible journey. In spite of all the hard times and loneliness, there is something special about it that gives us a deeper experience of life (reality?) than we would otherwise have. Let's stick together!

(50 Year Old Male)
(15/04/2003)

When it first hit me I was eighteen years old and high on majuana. I was watching the film Girl Interurpted and Angolina Jolie turned toward me and said "well boys," directed at me specifically, and then something like "It's time to turn up the heat and get a little action from those girls out there." She went on for the duration of the movie basically talking sexy.

I was slowly discovering the gift of telepathy. It went from ocassional incidents of auditory break through to the entire world being telepathic with the ability to communitcate through the television. It was like on the Wixard Of Oz when suddenly Dorothy finds herself in a magical world.

People could send images by simply imagining them. And everybody was superhumanly brilliant, and superhumanly funny. I felt subhumanly guilty for everything that I was and had ever done. I coundn't keep from saying the most emarassing stuff, which at best was hillarious and at worst devastating. At first it was usually a whole lot of fun.

For me schixoaffective disorder has allways been very sexual. I would have highly emotional relationships with people I saw walking around at school and never actualy talk to them in person.

I'm not a homosexual but I began to have encounters with just about anyone, telepathically of course. It was like I was being introduced to this whole subculture of intillectual, free love types. It all seemed so magical and enteraining and then things started to go wrong.

I found it very difficult to speak out loud because I would have to keep two conversations going at once. Every one else did it with no problem they were all secretly geniuses playing the role of ordinary people. I began to avoid talking to people out loud all together.

While in reality my social life and schoolastic life deteriorated, in my own private world things were becoming chaotic. People began to get emotionally violent and would verbally abuse me long into the night sometimes for days at a time. They were brilliant and could access my memories so I was being critisized for everything I ever did wrong. It was like being in a trial held by insanely cruel but superior beings bent on shattering my self esteem.

These beings became so enraged that they began to sexaully abuse me even rape me and I could actually feel them touching me. If this wasn't bad enough I began to lose control of my mind. My thoughts and actions were allways sexaul and allways perverted. I began to grab peoples privates (keep in mind that this is only through this telepathic form of communicating), my own genitals (not in reality), I would go after everything sexaully, family members, children, animals. This whole time I was still considerably sane and capable of reasoning. I would try every thing to control my imaginary self who seemed to be under the control of someone else entirely. I would clinch my fists, contort my face, I most have looked silly.

I felt sure I had commited horrible acts against man and was thinking about suicide. I was hospitalized for ten days at ninteen and put on the correct medications.

I am no longer psychotic. I still hear voices. I still have a hard time not imagining discusting things. I no longer want to hurt myself. I do not blame myself for the things that my sick mind put me through. I look forward to the future.

(20 Year Old Male)
(26/03/2003)

I am 24 years old and was diagnosed with major depressive type of schizo affective disorder in the past year.

When I have an episode, I believe that people are conspiring against me, that the FBI is after me, and that I hear people telling me that I'm going to hell as well as other unnerving statements.

I believed that I was going to prison for being a "terrible" person. I thought my boyfriend was Jesus and refused to let him see me because of my "shame". I believed that someone was tapping into my computer files and that the television and radio personalities were talking about me.

I felt so guilty and worthless that I would throw up and I lost weight from my lack of appetite.

I thought that my phone was being tapped and my friends were undercover police officers. I believed that my family was being funded by Taco Bell and other major food and retail chains for living with me. I thought I was a terrorist and my family was going to get millions of dollars for the book that the pictures would go into.

My fear of going to prison and my guilty feelings led to an attempted suicide nine months ago. I've been hospitalised twice in the past three years with my initial diagnosis being bipolar disorder.

Before my suicide attempt, I held a fulltime job, was very social, and I held dean's list grades in college. Now, I can't seem to fully relinquish the delusions and get back on track.

Even now, I feel as if someone knows what I am typing.

(Katie)
(28/01/2003)

I have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder (depressed type) for about a year now. I am eighteen. Currently, I am on risperdal, wellbutrin, trazadone, benztropine and in a few days a new antipsychotic to my salad.

I have been hospitalized seven times in the past year, each time staying a month or more. I have spent most of my year in a psychiatric hospital.

I suffer from auditory hallucinations (voices) which tell me that I'm not worth living and I believe that I can bleed them out. (I am a self-injurer as well) I see blood pouring from my walls, doors in the ceiling, skeletons or demons instead of my friends and family.

I have believed that the pharmacist was poisioning me so I wouldnt take my meds which ultimately makes things worse in the long run. I have several other beliefs that people are trying to convince me otherwise. I have special knowledge of things that I cannot reveal to anyone. People can take my thoughts and I can read minds. To stop the people from taking my thoughts I wear a tin foil cap. It sends away the electromagnetic thought patterns like a deflector.

I am also a serious unipolar depressive. I have seriously tried to end my life on several occasions. The doctors say if I take another overdose then my liver will shut down.

Its scary because even though my mood is fine, I could be so sick psychotically. I can never seem to have two being good for any amount of time.

It really sucks.

(Nessa)
(29th November 2002)

The voices in my head are very real. Sometimes they exist outside my head too. The voices put me down and are difficult to tolerate. Medication usually works at getting rid of the voices but the same mediication makes me sleepy which prevents any activity I might have planned. The voices are real in so far as I hallucinate them. They say bad thiings about me and are often like a record stuck in a groove. The voices put me down and I try to counter them by affirmations and contradictions. It is as if my brain delights in telling me all the bad things about me and I am faced to put up with this derision or to shout back that I am a person of woorth and good.

Michael
(6th August 2002)

I experience voices from time to time but usually when I am stressed. I take zyprexa for the voices. I also have major depression but this is controlled by lithium and efexor. I have anxiety so I take alepam. I think I must rattle with all the tablets I take each day. The voices are desparaging and are put downs. It is bad enough that I am negative without being even more negative because of the negative voices. The lithium stops highs and lows so I fluctuate from not bad to good in mood. I dont get highs and I am yet to feel happy.

Sent in by Michael
(25th July 2002)

I have suffered from schizoaffective disorder for the past 39 years and was diagnosed when I was seventeen.

Schizoaffective disorder is actually a sub-type of schizophrenia and shows all the structural changes in the brain as schizophrenia such as dilated ventricles and widened sulci which are visible on CT scan or MRI, although it usually has a better prognosis than schizophrenia.

This does not mean that the suffering is any less as most people with schizoaffective disorder can suffer the horrors of auditory, visual, tactile and olfactory hallucinations and delusions.

I, unfortunately suffer with all these plus severe depression and sometimes hypomania which is a milder form of mania.

When I am very ill with the schizophrenic aspect of the disorder, I see terrible things that terrify me such as huge menancing spiders, people with weapons and demons - especially Satan which all want to attack me. Sometimes I see nuns which all tie in to the delusionary patterns that I have which are that I am Satan's daughter and that everything terrible that happens in the world is my responsiblity - quite a load to carry - but very real to me.

Even though I have a lot of insight and an educated mind, when I lose my grip on reality nothing will shake these beliefs from me. Sometimes I become very paranoid and believe that people are conspiring against me and spying on me and I usually try to avoid people when I can. Strange that I chose nursing as a career.

The voices are also terrifying. Sometimes I hear Satan's voice berrating me constantly or at other times I hear conversations about me. There are other times I cannot quite hear what the voices are saying and this is very frustrating.

I have had the television talk to me when it is switched off and believe that people are reading my thoughts through my eyes and taking my thoughts out of my brain.

I live in constant fear of being discovered for my crimes and often won't even go outside - even to the letterbox - for fear of being attacked.

Depression is a big enemy of mine and I have made some serious attempts on my life. I never believed I would live this long - I am 55. At other times I become very active - not sleeping at all and believe I am invincible - these episodes don't last too long and are usually followed by depression.

I feel like a freak and I am ashamed to reveal these things about myself but if it will help someone else, then I feel I should do at least that for the people here who have been good to me.

I was born this way but my abused background shaped my personality which further compounds my problems. This is all I can think of for now.

Sent in by Moonlight
(11th April 2001)


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