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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Mental Health Recovery

I was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder when I was 14. The journey to recover isn’t beautiful, though. In the way, I fell in a hole I thought I can never escape from.

BACKGROUND

Since I was 6, I’ve been encountering auditory/visual hallucinations and illusions. It range from spiders, humanoids, fireballs, screams, and whispers. I believed that I was the secret daughter of Jesus Christ, the one who can save the world. I thought it’s a normal phase so I disregarded it.

My family was imperfectly happy. We have a few fights here, more bonding there, until it weren’t. Due to reading my Dad’s phone messages, I found out that he’s cheating. Financial crises sprouted out of nowhere. At a young age, my parents made me choose who I must live with. I chose no one. The quarrels got more violent. I arrived home once and discovered that Mom had a severe arm and back injury. Dad pushed my Mom to kill her.

I made my own world in academics, away from everything. I was known to be an overachiever. I joined whatever clubs and contests I “need” to satisfy myself. In one snap, I dominated them with my high grades and influence. For me, everything is a competition. I should be the best. I should be the top one.

SELF-DESTRUCTION

As these scenarios continued, my symptoms worsened in every minute. The academic pressure caught me. My family was fading. I slowly die.

But that’s not it.

A shadow enveloped me. I transformed into a devastating entity. In school, I used my influence as a Mayor to abuse my classmates, thinking that’s how punishment works. The abuse could be physical, mental, emotional, name it. The class paid back with backstabbings, online and offline. A year later, they even took a video of me in my mental breakdown. It went viral.

At home, yelling at Mom became the new norm. Multiple times, it made her cry. Those were the only ways I knew to spit out all of the darkness that grew within me. But I did have friends, right? I pushed them away.

My bestfriend since elementary years became my academic rival. I was envious. In return, I humiliated her. My other friends found comfort with other cliques. The one who would surely understand me was miles away from me. I stayed away from my friends because the only thing I can do is to destroy them.

I cried every night. I couldn’t sleep for weeks. In doing so, I danced to the tune of happy songs and used cellphone the whole night until 5 am. There were times I couldn’t shower or move in general because I had no energy to do so. I quit eating, so I got a massive weight loss. My self-esteem broke down. I developed an inferiority complex.
Dumb. Ugly. Undeserving to live. Die.

The thoughts were born to emphasize how horrible I were. They became voices. Loud and dominating, probably from the throats of men in different ages. I didn’t want to be alone nor to be with other people. I couldn’t stop thinking. They told me to burn the school because. I couldn’t take it anymore. And so I resort to suicide, a lot of times. I was 11 when I tied my neck with a jacket to suffocate myself.

Due to the help of my friends, they encouraged me to open up, and so I did. The weight went lighter but it’s not enough. I still continued my bad habits. Everything is a cycle that can never be stopped. With the only strength I had, I managed to discuss it with my parents three years later.

They thought I’m possessed (knowing how powerful the religious upbringing in my family) or maybe my cellphone addiction caused me to be like this.

REPEATING THE CYCLE

As time goes by, my parents slowly connect again. They willfully changed bit by bit and united to bring me to a psychiatrist. Little did I know that I was only resting in the eye of the storm. A bigger relapse will soon come. It happened.

This time, I attempted to kill my parents and cats to feed my bloodlust. The cycle repeated, even with the meds. The dosages went higher and higher. It made everything worse.

The meds increased my appetite so it made me fat. People pointed that out which made me hate myself more. I couldn’t be sharp as I was before. It slowed down my memory skills. My grades fell. Everyone’s ok with it because they understood why but for me, it costed the consequences of high expectation. I thought I’m useless, that the only thing I was proud of was taken away from me. My grades fell.

These pushed me to cut my arms and punched the wall. I forced my cats to scratch me so the harm wouldn’t be my fault “directly”. However, I figured out that the meds were the only way I can feel human. A normal one. So, I faced the choice to end the cycle. I didn’t want to hurt more people anymore. Without me, my loved ones will live free from the burden I caused.

I overdosed in my school bus using the antidepressants and antipsychotics I chose not to drink beforehand.

My adviser brought me to the hospital and it costed a lot. I thought “some” people would help me, but they didn’t. Instead, they shamed me, telling that everything I done was for attention. It shattered me. I didn’t know how to fix myself. Maybe because I feared responsibility. Maybe this was the payment of all my sins.

REAL RECOVERY

This event strengthened my family even more to hold together. My real friends came to comfort me like they always do. After my release from the hospital, my parents sent me to a psychologist. The money we used to consult to her came from the donations of my classmates’ parents. The realizations finally took the best of me. A spark was born. A start for a new perspective lightened my way out in this dark hole.

I begun looking for new motivations and healthy habits. I keep socializing out of my comfort zone. I gradually chose to let go of academic pressure to enjoy this meaningless life. It’s time to recreate my meaning. I’m 6 months free from suicidal attempts and self-harming. Three months later, my psychiatrist will pull out my meds. Thanks to all who supported me, I managed to have control over my illness.

Now, I want to help people who are struggling with their mental battles. For those who are battling with these issues and know these kinds of people, please reach out to one another and seek professional help.

There is no cure for mental illness, but it’s treatable. You can still live a normal life. You are not defined by your illness. Hope is existent. Find yours.

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