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Schizoaffective Disorder; Learning How To Cope

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

mary Schizoaffective Disorder; Learning How To Cope

A year ago I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. From 2006, I had been thrown around between different medical professions and diagnosed with everything under the sun. Getting a diagnosis that I can actually relate to has been a life saver and I can finally start to get my life under control.

I first noticed hallucinations, both visual and auditory when I was around 8. Being that age, I didn’t know anything was wrong with me, I thought it would seem like I had imaginary friends so I never mentioned it. My sporadic moods started at the age of 11. I wanted help as I couldn’t cope; I knew feeling suicidal was wrong, I knew feeling like killing myself one day and feeling on top of the world the next was wrong, I knew cutting my body to shreds was wrong, so I went to see my doctor. He blamed it on teenage hormones and hitting puberty. I believed him, of course I would! This continued for a few years, getting desperate, seeking help, being turned away. It was a vicious circle.

Things got completely on top of me at one point, I couldn’t take the pressure anymore, the moods, the voices, the anxiety; and at the age of 13, when my parents were out of the house, I overdosed on every tablet I could get my hand on in the house, and downed them with a bottle of vodka that I knew my parents had in the kitchen. I wished it was the end and I prayed I wouldn’t wake up. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough, and I woke a few hours later and was violently sick. I managed to convince my parents I was sick and recovered a few days later, wishing it would have worked.

This brutal cycle carried on for years where I couldn’t cope with my emotions and would take drastic measures to try and end the voice and the moods and inevitably end my life. I guess looking back now you can say that I am lucky to have survived many suicide attempts, but at the time I just felt like I was failing even more, that I couldn’t even take my own life; I felt like a pathetic failure.

Everything came to a head when I was 18. I moved down south to attend university and my moods worsened. I couldn’t cope with the pressure of my studies, and I was in and out of an awful relationship where I was controlled and unappreciated. It all became too much and I was referred to the ‘Crisis Team’ when those close to me were seriously worried about my fragile state of mind. After the intense care and treatment I received from them, I finally felt strong enough to put my trust in healthcare professionals again, and finally got on the right track to getting the right treatment. I was diagnosed with all sorts of different things, before finally hearing the word ‘Schizoaffective’. It felt like something clicked, and people understood how I felt for the first time.

Now I finally feel like I can breathe for the first time. Although I still have my down days, at least having a diagnosis means I know that there is help out there for me and there is help that I can get to deal with how I am feeling. I have met some horrible professionals in my time. Some that haven’t believed me, some that just thought I was after tablets, and one counselor who said that I couldn’t possibly be diagnosed with schizoaffective as it doesn’t really exist!  You just have to be persistent and take action if you feel like you aren’t getting the right help you are entitled to.

After going through seven doctors in my doctors’ surgery, I finally found one who would listen to me, and who I could trust. After going through four counsellors, I still haven’t found the right one. After seeing approximately twenty members of my Community Mental Health Team, I could only trust one. So please, if you do feel like one doctor or nurse or psychiatrist may not understand you, don’t give up hope, keep pushing.

I would urge anyone who feels like they need help to get it. Please. Even if you are just concerned about how you are feeling. It may just save your life. It saved mine.


Mary-Louise Perrott

Twitter: _MaryLouise

 Schizoaffective Disorder; Learning How To Cope

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