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I'm Still Me — Even With My Schizoaffective Disorder Diagnosis

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Fifteen years of mental illness. Seven years of seeking treatment. Eight different sets of diagnoses. Dysthymia. Anxiety. Depression and anxiety. Major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety. Major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety and postpartum depression. Bipolar II and generalized anxiety. Bipolar I and generalized anxiety. Finally, schizoaffective disorder (bipolar type) and generalized anxiety.

It was a surprise, but it really wasn’t. After talking with my psychiatrist for awhile, just about my symptoms and what has gotten better or worse since ECT, she took a real serious but concerned tone and said, “Kaitlin, has anyone ever told you that you have schizoaffective disorder before?” “No.” I replied. Come to find out, she had been trying to weigh out if I had bipolar I with psychotic features or schizoaffective disorder (bipolar type) for a little while.

I trust my psychiatrist (along with my psychologist) with my whole heart. They’ve seen me at my worst and at my best. They know me. Which is why, with all of my amounting symptoms, I trust my psychiatrist with this new (hopefully final) diagnoses.

Friends, I see things. I have horrible paranoia. I have delusional thinking. Sometimes I feel or hear stuff, but with my medicine that isn’t as frequent. My brain is an unusual place.

Schizoaffective disorder is a combination of symptoms of schizophrenia and mood disorder, such as bipolar or depression. Symptoms may occur at the same time or occur at different times. So, it’s like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder had a baby, which is my brain.

But guess what? I’m still Kaitie. Nothing has changed. I’m still going through the same medicine and therapy regime I was before. Yes, I have all these scary symptoms but I’m a far more danger to myself than to other people. Trust me! I can still function as a “normal” person. The depression (right now at least) is under control. Mania has been under control. The psychotic symptoms… are there but manageable. It’s not like I’m all of a sudden turn to harmful, lewd and ridiculous behavior. I’m still me.

I’m still Kaitie.

Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

Originally published: June 25, 2020
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