Staying Up When Your Mind Brings You Down


The world I live in doesn’t exist to the majority of the people around me.

I exist in the world with them, but my reality can be distorted. I have schizoaffective disorder. I hear voices and see things. My days consist of me silently mediating my thoughts around what I hear in my head. My actions and vocalization of opinion is closely monitored not only by myself, but by the committee in my head. Taking care of myself is hard at times. Interacting with others can be difficult.

As a former meth addict, I’m perpetually drawn to stimulants. Since I no longer use meth, I go for the safest, most accessible thing… caffeine. Caffeine is my fix. Sometimes large amounts of it. Despite many medication changes, I feel the caffeine is the only thing that elevates my mood and allows me to feel “normal.”

Now, there is a dark side to this. I say that caffeine makes me feel “normal,” but there is a price to pay that comes with it. This price includes mood swings, paranoia and anxiety. But the idea of living life as a Lithium-zombie just isn’t fun nor does it sound appealing. It’s as if the caffeine brings me up and I stay up.

Having this schizotype-disorder though makes going about my addiction hard. Sometimes I become so alert I just can’t be by myself and isolation is both an attribute of my disease of addiction and my mental illness. I love being alone, I love being around people. I just don’t love being paranoid and lonely. I think too much. I even criticize myself before the voices in my head can. Currently I am trying to decrease this problem with caffeine. It’s been a year long process, but my desire to not be ridiculed by the voices for self-medicating is growing. I don’t know if I can achieve this feat.

I don’t even know if there is another option. I have picked up the habit of meditating, but it is very hard to do so when you can’t achieve silence. Auditory hallucinations take away my prayers, my hopes and even invade my dreams. All I want is someone to hear my cry for help. I no longer want to be standing in this world surrounded by loving people and feel so alone. I want to be present and not a zombie. I want to interact and not overthink my ability to communicate. I want to be able to be alone and look in the mirror and smile, not cry.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Schizoaffective Disorder

young woman in front of cherry blossoms wearing backpack facing building

Why Your Ignorance About My Schizophrenia Could Cost Me My Life

I’m passionate about sharing my story, and adamant those who struggle with mental illness should not be ashamed. But I can’t just talk the talk; I have to walk the walk. That means looking old acquaintances from high school in the face around town, even when I want to hide. I am open about my diagnosis, but that [...]
vector eye and eybrow

6 Things I've Learned About Myself and Schizoaffective Disorder a Year After My Suicide Attempt

For the longest time, after checking myself into a hospital for suicidal urges, after a harrowing drive to the emergency room fighting my thoughts to just drive the car into the other lane or the ditch, I wanted to write about what I’ve learned about myself and what I’ve come to know about the world [...]
wooden human figure with lines swirling around his head

How Getting a Schizoaffective Disorder Diagnosis Changed My Life

The knowledge that I have schizoaffective disorder is a recent development. Yet despite its unexpected nature, the news makes sense looking back. My brain is more like a maze than a straight shot, as the doctor who diagnosed me explained. I had come for a neuropsychiatric evaluation originally in search of an ADD diagnosis, due [...]
mechanic at work in his garage

When People Are Surprised by My 'Rather Normal Life' With Mental Illness

I am not defined my mental illness. I have been called “crazy” so many times I lost count. I have been called “psychotic,” “schizo,” “not right in the head,” having “a few screws loose” and “not all there.” None of these really bother me because in a way it’s true. What really bothers me is [...]