How My Life Changed With These Schizophrenia Symptoms

I’ve written about some of this before, adding more detail with each update.

My voices started when I was 24 (or at least that’s when I first started getting treatment for them).

After two psychotic breaks, they diagnosed me as having Psychosis NOS.

I enrolled in college that same year! I had just enough arrogance and tenacity to take the bull by the horns (and that’s what I did).

I was at university, attending classes, keeping it together until I was 26 (when I had yet another series of psychotic breaks).

This time, I was being urged to take the meds. They were awful and had horrendous side effects. I didn’t take them.

I then went back to school to finish. My arrogance and tenacity was waning.

I studied psychology and philosophy, and I didn’t know what to think, to believe, or to feel; and most days, I still don’t!

That my friends is grief, as well as severe mental illness.

I went from being an active and fit 24/25 year old to eating three to four times more than what I used to (or needed), by the time I was 26.

I mean, I never even ate fast food, except maybe twice a year! And, I didn’t drink pop either!

For me, this had less to do with vanity, and was my attempt to take care of myself amid some really shitty genetics.

So, everything about who I was, just completely changed in a matter of two years. Everything.

I graduated though! I walked out with the bare minimum GPA required for graduation.

What was I doing? But, more importantly, what was I thinking?

The experience of going to college and ultimately graduating, for me, was pure terror! I am the better for it, but that experience has hurt me in several ways. Even to this day!

Maybe that’s hard for some to understand, but looking at what I deal with every day, it’s not so difficult for me to understand.

Yes, I went from being someone who thought that they had everything under control, to realizing that I didn’t have much of anything under control. Especially my mental health!

And today, today all I really want to do is recapture some of who I was at 24/25.

Yes, I’ve had moments. Some of them even lasted for a little while, but nothing that gets me close to the old me.

I guess that’s par for the course, when you try and go to university with Psychosis NOS, and then, end up with schizoaffective disorder?

I surely don’t know where my mind was! Other than, I had a diminished capacity for understanding my situation.

In those days, I actually thought I could brute force my way to physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well being. And, I tried real hard to do that!

Today, I do pretty good, compared to my peers, and for the meds I take. The meds are all at high dosages though! :/

The only real difference between me, then and now, is my insight and awareness. Insight into my condition and awareness of myself as someone independent of my condition.

For that, I have my personal development journey to thank! And, it has been quite a journey for sure!

No, it’s not all about the label, but it is about quality of life, which for me, is lacking in many ways.

I know I’m not alone in this. A lot of us are lacking in quality of life!

Let’s face it, all of us struggle and our lives pale in comparison to what they once were!

In general, I hope to, in this space, share with you more about how schizoaffective disorder affects me.

For now, let’s discuss my voices.

So distressing, so invasive, so real, and so powerful!

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts on what my voices are like, so here goes:

The voices, for me, are active all the time. They’re either in the background or foreground. They are thoughts.

I sometimes find them to be pieces or remnants of conversations that l once had with myself and/or someone else.

They’re similar to the running dialogue that we all have, only the nature of my voices are extreme, chaotic.

I am plagued with a constant back and forth of dialogue that never ends. It’s usually disparaging dialogue too! And, I’m a pretty positive person!

Still, my voices are negative and oftentimes disgusting.

I hear things that fly in the face of what a person should be experiencing in their lives. 😦

For instance (and this is highly personal), I could be in conversation with a person, keeping it together outwardly, but holding nothing but hurtful and disparaging thoughts about that person inwardly.

Things that, if they could hear my thoughts, that would probably be the last time we spoke!

Now, imagine if this happened with every relationship you have in your life!

That’s precisely what I deal with every day.

I share all of this to open people’s minds about the devastation of schizophrenia and severe mental illness. Not to garner sympathy or attention.

While everyone’s situation is different/unique, this is (and has been) my experience!

None of what I go through is a walk in the park, nor is it for anyone who has severe mental illness and is symptomatic.

Thanks for reading!

29 Comments

  1. In my experience mental illness ‘just’ takes over and your whole life is upside down and not in a funny way. I recognize the will to be back ‘as before’ and the struggles that go with that. I’m willing to accept that that may never happen but still I want a ‘decent’ part of me back. I guess it’s all in the journey like you said. Great post!

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  2. I can’t even begin to understand how difficult it must be for you Mio, to have those voices permanently, all day, every day.
    While I do hallucinate (hear voices and see people/things) when I’m tired and haven’t slept for two nights (which happens often due to the pain of TM), it’s almost bearable. I think it was worse the first time I ever had a lengthy psychotic episode because I hadn’t much heard of psychosis or schizophrenia other than in films, which obviously depicted these disorders in the most dreadful manner.
    I’d love to have my old life back, not to have pain or mental illness. But you know what, before all this, I wasn’t ‘happy’. I think at least now that I’ve been able to work through a lot of issues, developed healthier coping mechanisms and stopped blaming myself for things I had no control over, I get longer periods of happiness.
    How do you cope Mio? Would you say you’re happy?
    I came across this blog recently https://healingschizoaffective.com/2020/04/05/the-true-cause-of-mental-illness/ and wondered if you might find it interesting or useful.

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    1. I browsed his site. I don’t believe in healing. Have you healed, or any of the people you (and I) interact with? It’s just not a one size fits all world. I view positive statements every day (affirmations basically), and don’t believe it gets any better than proper personal development. I’ve been down a lot of roads in the personal development realm, and as a I’ve said, I do pretty good. I cope by doing personal development and keeping my stresses to a minimum. Hey, I do the best I can. It’s people like us who are sharing our experiences with the world. To me, It’s one day at a time. But again, there is no healing. Btw I work through my bouts of trauma by reframing them whenever they come up. I can’t do that with my voices, as one example. Thanks for the link though. It’s always nice to know what’s out there.

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      1. Is that what it’s all about? Healing – ugh! No, I don’t believe in healing either.

        Anyway………. I’m glad you have some coping techniques that help. Reframing is an effective skill. And of course, you do the best you can with what you’ve got.

        Are your voices talking about you or to you Mio? Do you hear them as being outside your head?

        Yes, it’s always good to know what’s out there. I’m forever looking at and for blogs that support my beliefs. Caz

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      1. I understand from the perspective of a parent living with schizophrenia.

        Have you seen the Anderson Cooper video where he goes through a day with a schizophrenia simulator to show people what hearing non-stop, negative voices is like? It’s hard to watch. I would be curious to know what you think.

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  3. I never graduated college / university. I borrowed money from my parents to try but I flunked and opted not to continue. Had to pay them every cent back and more…. I think it’s amazing you graduated, it must have been so hard and I really admire your accomplishment!

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      1. I think most schools (at least in my country) do a bad job preparing students of whatever age for university/college. Add in mental health struggles and often inadequate student support from the school, and ouchhhhh…

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My mom was untreated schizophrenic. I just finished writing a book for this very purpose – to open people’s eyes, and open dialogue, and also to let people know they’re not alone in their experiences. Growing up, I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about what was going on at home. In fact, I was specifically instructed not to. But that only extends the cultural silence and isolation. Thank you for your courage. Love, Kelly

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      1. The Locust Years. Should be out on Amazon by end of August hopefully. (I keep finding things that need fixing!) My website is Kellyhanwright.com. You can also follow my facebook where I’m posting updates ❤

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