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Creative Schizophrenia

Recently, my excellent therapist suggested that I try to start needing reassurance less often from other people. My schizoaffective disorder makes me doubt myself and second-guess myself a lot, so I often ask other people if something I’m doing or did or that happened is okay. But doing that only reinforces the idea that I’m not capable. So I’m trying to be more independent. Here’s how needing reassurance less often is going.
Our cat George recently passed away. George was such a comfort to me as I struggled with schizoaffective disorder. I miss him a lot. Find out about grieving a pet when you have schizoaffective disorder.
It was the summer of 2006. I had just completed my master’s degree in photography from Columbia College Chicago. My schizoaffective mania was taking over—yet, I felt very suicidal. It all came to a head on a trip to Door County with my parents and my younger brother. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Sometimes, it seems as though feeling anxiety is the only thing I can feel. Everything seems to provoke my anxiety—even seemingly simple tasks such as bathing and washing my hair. I am constantly worrying, even when I’m supposed to be having a good time.
I blame myself for hearing voices because of schizoaffective disorder almost every time it happens. I know this doesn’t make sense, and I’m not being fair to myself. But it also adds an element of guilt to an already difficult situation.
A lot of people say that taking schizoaffective medication hinders their creativity. For me, this hasn’t been the case. Taking psychiatric medication keeps me stable and helps me stay productive—and ensures that the art I make is good.
I'm afraid to drive. My schizoaffective anxiety used to only make me afraid to drive in the snow, and then the rain. But now I feel anxious whenever I drive. Here’s how I’m coping.
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 dad has always been there for me. Always. He's been there since the day I was born up until now, before and after my diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. He even whispered, “I’ll always be here for you” in my ear before he gave me away at my wedding. Not only has he always been there for me, but watching him battle his own personal demons has been inspirational for me.
In September and then again in January, I increased my antipsychotic for schizoaffective disorder even though I knew it would probably cause weight gain. And, it did. But I am much better off now mentally than I was before I made the changes, so I don’t want to decrease the schizoaffective medication just to lose weight.