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Schizoaffective Disorder

Elizabeth Caudy
I was diagnosed as schizophrenic in 1999 after a psychotic episode at college. My first diagnosis of a serious mental illness markedly changed my sense of fashion, and the changes stuck even with a later reassessment that I was schizoaffective. I have a few ideas as to why.
Elizabeth Caudy
My psychopharmacologist of the past 20 years is retiring, and my former psychotherapist moved out of state, so I had to find a new therapist to treat my schizoaffective disorder and a new practitioner to prescribe psychiatric medication for my schizoaffective disorder.
Elizabeth Caudy
To celebrate my husband Tom’s birthday last week, we went to the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, Chicago, one of several venues of this virtual show. I was afraid my schizoaffective symptoms might get in the way of enjoying the exhibit or even be triggered by all the lighting and music. But the experience turned out to be so beautiful--it brought tears to my eyes. Here’s why.
Elizabeth Caudy
Every summer, I go to the Renaissance fair. I’ve been going with various friends since I was 18, but since I met my husband Tom in 2007, we go together but don’t invite other people because of my schizoaffective anxiety. Even just hitting the "Ren Fair" with Tom can still make me anxious, and sometimes I even experience the schizoaffective symptom of hearing voices. Crowds do that for me. But that can happen anywhere, and I still like to go.
Elizabeth Caudy
A blessing was recently bestowed upon my family--my brother, Billy, and his life partner, Sandy, had a baby girl, whom I adore. Even though they live in California and I live in Illinois, and even though I haven’t yet met Baby, watching videos of my niece has quickly become one of my coping skills for my schizoaffective anxiety.
Elizabeth Caudy
For the past three months, I haven’t had insurance for my prescriptions or necessities such as blood work. During April and May, with no insurance even for doctors’ visits, including therapy, I experienced one of the most stressful periods I’ve ever lived through. Here’s what it was like.
Elizabeth Caudy
My mom and I go north to Door County in Wisconsin together every spring for our mother-daughter weekend--just the two of us. We go back up with the rest of the family later in the summer. Last year, things were very restricted because of COVID-19. This year, we were vaccinated. Being vaccinated really helped with my schizoaffective anxiety, and it also made a big difference for our trip.
Elizabeth Caudy
Walking has always been a way to help with my schizoaffective anxiety. That is, it was until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Then walking became scary until I got vaccinated and became fully immunized. So really, my vaccine reduced my anxiety.
Elizabeth Caudy
My psychopharmacologist of almost 20 years is retiring, and I have to find someone new to treat my schizoaffective disorder. Lisa (not her real name) is terrific. She’s the one who re-diagnosed me as schizoaffective, bipolar type, instead of as schizophrenic. This was really helpful because mood stabilizers have proven key in helping with the schizoaffective voices I hear.
Elizabeth Caudy
I’ve been hearing voices for a long time--almost 23 years. So, I didn’t think anything I experienced during a schizoaffective voices episode would surprise me anymore. Well, I was wrong. The voices I heard a few days ago were very different from anything I previously experienced.