Coping Skills I Use for My Schizoaffective Disorder Symptoms

March 14, 2024 Elizabeth Caudy

Trigger warning: This post involves a frank discussion of suicidal thoughts.

One thing I’ve learned about having schizoaffective disorder is how to use coping skills for my symptoms. Some of the skills I’ve developed myself and some I’ve learned in therapy. Here are some of the coping skills I’ve learned for the symptoms of my schizoaffective disorder.

Coping with the Schizoaffective Symptom of Hearing Voices

Probably the most bothersome and pervasive symptom of my schizoaffective disorder was hearing voices, and I learned coping skills to calm them down. I say “was hearing voices” because I don’t hear them anymore, thanks to a change in my medication a few years ago. But when I did have this schizoaffective symptom, my coping “skill” was to chain smoke. Well, then, I quit smoking. I tried some other things, and I always took an as-needed antianxiety medication prescribed by my doctor. I would listen to relaxing music and go on Facebook. (In 2016, because of the election, Facebook became a nasty place and has remained so. I suspect it will turn nastier with this year’s election, so it’s a good thing I don’t hear voices anymore and don’t need it.) In 2016, another schizoaffective disorder coping skill I used was watching soothing movies to calm the voices.

I want to note here that when I got knee replacement surgery last year, the narcotic painkiller I took briefly made me hear voices again, but they were different. They weren’t as intrusive. They didn’t suck up my whole consciousness. They sounded like a radio or TV playing in another room instead of screaming at me and making me feel like my head was in a fog. Since I’m off the narcotic, I don’t hear them anymore. I don’t hear voices at all and hope they never come back.

Coping Skills for Schizoaffective Disorder and Suicidal Thoughts

I’ve learned coping skills for the schizoaffective symptom of having suicidal thoughts as well. I used to go to the emergency room, which is a perfectly good way of dealing with suicidal thoughts. But then I developed other coping skills for this symptom of schizoaffective disorder. The biggest breakthrough, which happened recently, was realizing that the suicidal thoughts were intrusive and that I didn’t want to act on them. I didn’t have a plan. Also, I’ve never actually tried to die by suicide. So, now when I have suicidal thoughts, I call my mom or my therapist, I give myself a time out, I take a bath or go for a walk if it’s nice out. (Remember, you should always reach out and talk to a professional about any suicidal thoughts you have.)

I encourage myself to live through the moment, and I remember that things will probably feel better in 10 minutes. Recently, I’ve been playing the piano. The last time I went to the emergency room for suicidal thoughts was a long time ago, a few months after the 2016 presidential election. Going to the emergency room is an excellent way to deal with suicidal thoughts, and who knows, I might end up in the emergency room again. That’s better than ending up dead.

So, those are some of my coping skills for schizoaffective disorder. What are yours? Please leave them in the comments.

If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.

For more information on suicide, see our suicide information, resources, and support section. For additional mental health help, please see our mental health hotline numbers and referral information section.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2024, March 14). Coping Skills I Use for My Schizoaffective Disorder Symptoms, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 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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