I Had a Schizoaffective Episode Because of Surgery

September 14, 2023 Elizabeth Caudy

This August, I underwent knee replacement surgery and had a schizoaffective episode. I didn’t think getting this surgery would affect my mental health as much as it did. Here’s how I ended up in a schizoaffective episode.

A Schizoaffective Episode Because My Painkiller and My Antianxiety Medication Don’t Go Together

My doctor put me on a very powerful painkiller, which was essential at first. But, by the time I got home from the hospital, I saw how lethargic it was making me, so I stopped taking my as-needed antianxiety medication. Truth be told, they probably weren’t giving it to me in the hospital either. I don’t know. Also, my psychiatric nurse practitioner (NP) said I shouldn’t mix the painkiller with the other sedating medications.

What I do know is that being off the antianxiety medication made me have a schizoaffective episode: I heard voices and had panic attacks. I also got the shakes. It was horrifying. I even hallucinated that my front windows were the side of a glass coffin. I had a similar hallucination during my very first psychotic episode about my room at my parents’ house back in 1998.

I had a lot of emotional flashbacks to an episode I had in 2006. But I think the hot summer weather added to the severity of the current episode and the one in 2006.

I know in the past, I’ve said my only psychotic episode was in 1998-1999. That was the worst one. But, it turns out, if you’re having hallucinations, which I’ve had at least hundreds of times since the onset of my schizoaffective disorder, you’re having a psychotic episode.

After almost a week, I ended up going off the painkiller and going back on my antianxiety medication. I thought I didn’t need the as-needed medication, but I really do. The difference between when I’d been off it for almost a week and when I first took it again after all that time was like night and day.

The Voices I Heard During My Schizoaffective Episode After Surgery

I want to talk about the voices I heard during my schizoaffective episode. They were very different than the voices I used to hear. I used to hear voices that made my brain feel really dizzy and foggy, kind of in another realm from reality. The voices would shriek horrible things about me.

These new voices I heard during my recovery sounded like radios playing or people singing. Even though they weren’t as scary as my old voices, they were still maddening. I kept asking my husband, Tom, “Do you hear that?”

It probably got a little maddening for him, too.

I still have to get knee replacement surgery on my left knee, and I'm worried I will have another schizoaffective episode. But I’m going to ask my doctor if I can go on a painkiller for the surgery that doesn’t conflict with my other medication. Now, I’m on an over-the-counter painkiller, but that won’t be good for when I’m in the hospital right after the surgery. I’ll figure it out. I definitely don’t want to have another psychotic episode during the first week of recovering from traumatic surgery.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2023, September 14). I Had a Schizoaffective Episode Because of Surgery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 24 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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