The Mighty Logo

How Schizoaffective Disorder Took Over My Life... And How I Reclaimed It

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

I thought I might have a “normal” life growing up. And I did. Up until I was 9 years old. I received the diagnosis of trichotillomania which was due to the anxiety I had going through medical treatments for my kidneys as a child. To say bullying was a part of my life is an understatement. Now, I was never physically bullied, but the words hurt just as bad, and a lot of the words came from people of my own race, calling me a race traitor.

I had started becoming socially anxious in high school due to the bullying, and not too long down the road, I started becoming paranoid about people following me. I had already spent time in a psychiatric hospital for anxiety and depression at 13. Then, I was put on medication for both when I was 15. Fast-forward to when I was 20 years old: I had a handful of hospitalizations under my belt and few different diagnoses. High school was over, and I was safe from bullying. However, unfortunately I hadn’t shaken off my social anxiety. It was something that I could never shake off, I learned.

I had stopped my meds at 20 years old, due to a doctor telling me I was pre-diabetic. That scared me. So, I quit all my psychotropic medication cold turkey. Little did I know how sick I was. I descended into an alternate reality that slowly crept up on me every day, without my knowledge. I started to lose weight and become a different person. I would start going to the same grocery store every day and buying a newspaper, as instructed by a voice. I sat and read the newspaper out loud, at the same coffee shop every week, religiously, highlighting my instructions to save the world. The instructions were secretly coded so only I knew how to decipher them in the different news stories. After all, I was the top secret agent in the country, so of course I would be the only one. I had stacks upon stacks of newspapers in my room. They were growing as high as I am tall. I couldn’t throw them away though, because if someone saw the instructions, I would be hurt for leaking out top-secret information.

The divine from above gently protected me and my family. I became the smartest person in the world, and the most capable. I was a reborn fallen angel who came back to save the world on God’s behalf. “Thank you for this opportunity,” I said, every day, repeatedly. I would walk in circles on my parent’s acreage outside on the countryside, because the thoughts and voices came to me clearly when I did. There were microphones and cameras set up everywhere, both inside and outside the house. I could not mess up. I had to do exactly what the secret agents told me to do.

This went on for four years. I was signed up with an outpatient clinic by the hospital. I was told I could never work, never go to school and that I would always need help for the rest of my life. I was told I had schizoaffective disorder. I fought them about medication. I thought they were trying to poison me with an antidote that would take me away from my duties to this country. It wasn’t until somewhere down the line, the paranoia was way too much for me to handle. I was promised by my therapist, whom I trusted, that maybe a week’s worth of the medicine would calm down my paranoia. So I took the medicine. Slowly, everything in my head started to fade away and I wasn’t happy. I started to become depressed, lonely and angry at my therapist and doctors. I started crying all of the time. The next year went by fast, due to all the sleep I was accruing from the medication. I stopped having most of those thoughts, and I thought to myself, “Maybe being like this isn’t the end of the world. Maybe it’s another beginning for me.” I eventually met a man who cared for me in every way imaginable. My hygiene got better. I moved to my own place. We eventually got engaged.

Who would have thought that the next year I would land a job in the mental health field telling my story, and helping other people who went through what I went through?

Follow my journey on The Dopamine Flux.

Getty image by m-imagephotography

Originally published: October 24, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home