I’ve actually had this draft open for two weeks now. My manifestation of PTSD is hard for me to “defend,” because most people don’t understand why the manifestation occurs the way it does. With Schizoaffective Disorder, I feel like no one understands anything about a schizo spectrum disorder unless they have it themselves are “aware” enough to recognize it, so it’s harder to describe. The PTSD has, by far, been the worst illness in my life, but the Schizoaffective seems to want its turn now. From paranoia to disconnect to delusion to hallucination, I know I’m really sick, and it’s something I have to fight every single day. It gets so tiring. The coupling of PTSD and Schizoaffective is particularly hard for me because I am hypersensitive and prone to anxiety and chaos. Is that me, though? Or the illnesses? Sometimes I don’t think we will ever be able to tell.
My personal manifestations of Schizoaffective Disorder:
- paranoia: In my mind, paranoia pertains to the belief that others are intending to harm or destroy me; to put it metaphorically, when I am in a state of paranoia, if someone smiles at me, all I see are teeth.
- mood swings: Everyone is more or less agreed that I suffer from depressive type, so I do not suffer from the “good” manic symptoms, such as elation or increased productive energy. For me, it goes from too restless to stop to too exhausted to start. I’ll have racing thoughts, a significant decrease in impulse control, etc, and then I’ll crash into suicidal episodes where the urges are not only severe but have frequently landed me in the hospital. Anger is also a problem with me as well, as I sometimes burst into fits of downright rage for ill-defined reasons. I’ve even considered exorcism before, because my fits felt out of control–like a possession. I don’t believe in the “devil.” But when I am very sick, I can explain it with nothing else.
- visual hallucinations: I see Shadow People, which I often refer to as “Travelers.” I am told these are hallucinations, but I can’t be so sure. But I do see gruesome and violent things that I know cannot be real, such as people on fire or bloodied up in a crowded street, visions of myself committing violent suicide, etc.
- auditory hallucinations: I don’t hear voices. I hear static. Loud, grating static that overwhelms me to the point of doubling over. I say “static,” and most people reply with “tinnitus.” “Static” is not a good way of describing “voices so loud and so many, they overlap and I cannot hear words or my own thoughts but just din. Only din”
- depression: So as described, suicidal thoughts, suicidal urges. Also self-harm, seemingly inescapable dread and melancholy, fatigue, eating issues (either eating way too much or way too little), invasive death thoughts, increase in PTSD symptoms, increase in fibromyalgia symptoms, increase in sensitivity to triggers, poor concentration, no motivation, et cetera.
- delusions: The paranoia fits into this, but there are other things as well. The idea of whether I’m really, truly human or not is a struggle and probably reinforced by the PTSD. I’ll often say I’m made of human parts but generally avoid identifying as a human. I dream of other places, other dimensions. Sometimes I think those places as “home” as opposed to the building I live in. It’s one of those things that can’t really be proven or disproven. It’s in my gut. And I do definitely feel I don’t belong here.
- the disconnect or as I like to call it, the Great Divide: That “not belonging” feeling is extremely potent and prevalent. The PTSD’s depersonalization and derealization do not help in this. I am considered “weird” by many people, and they cannot easily relate to me. It is difficult for me to talk in social situations because as having both Schizoaffective and an INFJ personality type, I usually mention things that are generally not comfortable for other people to discuss.
I would normally close this well, but the pendulum is back at “low,” and I’m exhausted. Maybe I’ll wrap it up some other time. But it has definitely been in my drafts long enough.