My Early Signs of Schizoaffective Disorder

July 19, 2018 Elizabeth Caudy

I see the early signs of schizoaffective disorder in my preteen and teenage years. Learn what the early signs of my schizoaffective disorder were at HealthyPlace.

My early signs of schizoaffective disorder showed up when I was as young as 11. But I wasn't diagnosed with schizophrenia until I was 19, and then re-diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, four years later. However, there were definite early signs of schizoaffective disorder with bipolar symptoms during my preteen years.

Early Signs of Schizoaffective Disorder Started at Age 11

I got my first period when I was 10 years old so, by age 11, I was blossoming into a woman. I was a very pretty girl and I had every reason to be happy.

But, now, I wonder, was I a little too happy?

I was obsessed with the 1960s and I wanted to be a rebel, like the hippies. I had been a very good student but now I started acting out. I remember I wrote, "English [meaning English class] is dumb," on one of my homework papers. My teacher wrote a note about that which I had to bring home for my parents to sign. I considered forging my mother's signature, but I didn't.

Even though I was rebelling and acting out, I was really happy. Then it all came crashing down because I made some stupid comment to a friend while we were watching TV. I felt so horrible over that comment that I fell into a depression. This was in sixth grade.

I remained depressed until eighth grade when alternative and grunge became popular. And, after feeling left out during seventh grade, I found a group of friends who, in keeping with the popularity of grunge, thought it was cool to be different. I was different--I finally fit in. And I was looking forward to high school.

Mood Swings in High School Showed Early Signs of Schizoaffective Disorder

I got very manic my freshman year in high school. I discovered photography through a class and I became obsessed with it. I didn't apply myself in my other classes because I was so enamored with photography. I befriended upperclassmen who identified as "freaks," and I wanted to be a freak, too.

But then I got very depressed again the summer after my freshman year of high school. Suddenly, I was depressed that I didn't have a boyfriend. I remained depressed about this until the spring of my sophomore year of high school when I met my first boyfriend. I was happy for a while, but then, that summer, I experienced the kind of mania I experience today--an agitated, anxious mania. I don't know why I was feeling agitated and anxious, but that's part of what a mood disorder is. There's no objective reason for how you're feeling.

Also, as I reached my late teens, I saw everything through a dark tunnel and couldn't look at people without viewing them as I thought they would look several years before the present moment and several years after. Everything seemed surreal.

However, my mood swings and hallucinations didn't seem serious enough to warrant professional help. I didn't tell anyone about the hallucinations--and others didn't question my behavior in general as unusual at the time. The biggest arena that was affected by my mental health was my grades. But I thought--and almost everyone else thought--that was because I wanted to focus on photography.

I know what you're probably thinking. "It's normal for pre-teens and teenagers to experience mood swings."

Yes, that's true. And my hallucinations could have been caused by lack of sleep. But I recognize additional symptoms now, and I maintain my mood swings were severe. I know myself best. The fact that I did go on to develop schizoaffective disorder proves my point, I think.

Looking back, when did your early signs of schizoaffective disorder begin to appear?

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2018, July 19). My Early Signs of Schizoaffective Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 14 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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