My First Taste of Schizoaffective Depression
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.
Caudy, E. (2019, July 14). My First Taste of Schizoaffective Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2019/7/my-first-taste-of-schizoaffective-depression