A long time without knowing
I was formally diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder in March of 2011. However that is not when things started to get better. For starters, my schizoaffective disorder is essentially a mix of schizophrenic symptoms and bipolar symptoms. In my case it was paranoia and delusions, mixed with bipolar depression and manic symptoms that were rapid cycling. Meaning my mood went from crying over everything to feeling like I could be the President of the United States and solve the world’s problems all within a period of a week to a month. The paranoia and delusions however would last for months to a year or more.
In 2011 I was so delusional I didn’t believe my diagnosis was real. I believed that I had discovered some hidden information and that my doctor and my husband were just trying to convince me it wasn’t real in order to keep the secrets hidden. I refused to accept that I was schizoaffective. So my condition while seemingly began to improve was actually getting worse because I wasn’t receiving treatment. What happened was that I had snapped out of one delusion and my symptoms became dormant, but that just convinced me I didn’t have a problem. The next time it would appear was a lot worse, voices, hallucinations, delusions. At that time I even believed I was talking directly to God himself via my email inbox and junk mail folders on the computer. I believed the headers and file names were in a specific order and the pattern was the message from God.
I heard voices warning me about terrible things that were going to happen what I should do to escape these terrible events. At one point I even left the house believing the pizza delivery guy was coming to kill me or kidnap me and take me somewhere they could cut my head open and experiment on my brain. Then my mother came to visit. As we were driving down the road back to the house from the airport I began to tell her about the emails being from God and the Pizza guy trying to kill or kidnap me and I remember the look on her face being very confused. No matter how much she tried not to look shocked or sad I could tell what I was saying was very off the wall and probably not very possible and I knew what the doctors had said in 2011 was exactly what I was going through at that point. There was no more denying the diagnosis anymore.
What ended up helping me the most was being able to hear myself say what was happening and have understanding however untrue the understanding was from my loved ones. While they didn’t truly understand me because what I was saying was, forgive me for lack of a better word crazy, it was real. They did their best to just listen and show compassion when I felt trapped and scared. Scared to sound crazy, and trapped by my delusions but not judged by the ones who meant the most to me was the true way I was able to begin the healing process. I didn’t accept my diagnosis because I was afraid I would lose my ability as a person to have a perspective on anything. Or that I would lose my children or my husband because of my diagnosis. Those things still scare me to death but they are things I have accepted as possible outcomes should I chose to forget what cards I have been dealt and not continue my treatment. Those are the things that helped me the most.