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Help - Questions Regarding Schizoaffective Disorder

I have suffered from major clinical depression throughout my life, however, there were issues that I never looked too deeply at due to the fact that I considered it part of depression.  I have recently had a severe episode with paranoia, and extreme stress -- in fact manic.  I immediately contacted my doctor, and he put me on abilify.  I've only been on the medication a few days, but already I feel the affects.  I'm much calmer (maybe a bit too much but I know these meds take time for acclimation).  I now believe that I have actually been suffering from schizoaffective disorder all my life and I have not properly been diagnosed.  This is not the fault of any of my doctors.  I mainly only discussed depression with them.  

On occasion I have audio hallucinations.  When I have the audio hallucinations, I am completely aware that I am hallucinating.  I know that I am not hearing anything real.  As I said, they are rare, but have been going on for years.  Now here is the strange part.  In a nut shell, I lost someone I loved dearly when I was a child and have never completely got over that loss.  There have been many times throughout my life, when I have felt his "presence."  It is very strange what I'm about to tell you.  The crazy thing here is that he has given me warnings -- he has warned me many times to stay away from certain people, for example.  I don't hear his voice or see him, but just feel his presence and some how understand his message.  Everytime I have gone against his warnings, I have regretted it.  I question if there is a possibility that there is some kind of spiritual communication going on -- yet the rational part of me says this is nonsence.  Then again, maybe these experiences are another type of hallucination.  I really don't know.  

I do know that I have experienced paranoia my whole life -- this has just recently come to my attention -- in my 50s!  As I said, I always blamed everything on depression.  When I was a child, I remember feeling a great deal of fear that whenever a member of my family went some where in the family car they were going to get killed in an automobile crash.  

As I look back over my life, I now clearly see that paranoia and fear, along with depression, have hurt my life to a significant extent.  It hurt my professional life, relationships, etc.  You know, I never realized that I was suffering from more than one mental illness.  I am and I have to accept it.  I've also recently become aware that there are triggers that can set off feelings of paranoia and fear and lack of esteem.  I need to learn to recognize these issues and avoid them.  Once you know who your enemy is, then you can arm yourself.  It has just recently come to my attention that my mental state was far worse off than I realized.  

Paranoia is simply hideous and I hope the abilify helps.    

Also, could any of you explain to me what psychotic thoughts are -- what are they like for you?   Also, I there has always been a strong tendency in me to isolate.  I actually prefer to be alone.

I really appreciate any help and insight into what I have experienced from any one.  

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585414 tn?1288941302
  That's a complex question but worth speaking to your psychiatrist about. When a person has schizoaffective disorder they have psychotic thoughts all the time but in depression or bipolar with psychotic features they have them only during mood swings. It would also help to keep a mood tracker and see if the thoughts you believe to be psychotic come and go or are there all the time. There are many types of psychotic thoughts but the important thing is they lack a basis in reality (perceiving things to be there that aren't, specific delusions such as believing things are referring to you that aren't) and sometimes delusions can be paranoid (believing people are threatening that aren't) or psychotic thoughts can have some basis in reality but misinterpret it or with more extreme psychotic thoughts have no basis in reality whatsoever. However stress and traumatic events in a person's life can worsen anything so that has to be factored in as well.
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Avatar universal
Happy to hear you're feeling so much better.  You seem very aware of all you've experienced which is very important and you express yourself very well. You're self aware and there's nothing wrong with that at all; it's good that you are.
There is a spiritual part of us all, but some are more sensitive to our surroundings and what we may feel.  I have a main basic rule and that is to trust yourself and your gut feelings that come from you only and not from any outside source no matter how strong it may feel.  Many do experience what you have experienced, but I believe you must be safe and trust yourself and not the feelings, messages or even words you may hear from a non-human being.  It's your life and your mind; believe in yourself, but that is not to say you're not picking up something.  I believe there is much that can't be proven whether one sees it or hears it, but trust yourself only and God if you do believe in God.  
Good health and much happiness to you :)
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Avatar universal
Thank you so much for the information that you provided me, and I appreciate what you told me.  I'm actually relieved.  I do not have psychotic thoughts all the time -- but I think I do on occasion.  As I said this recent issue with paranoia has opened up my eyes to the fact that I've experienced paranoia from time to time all my life.  When you believe that someone is trying to harm you or people are gossiping about you, when they are not, that is definitely not thinking in reality.  

I will see my psychiatrist on the 3rd of January and will discuss these issues with him.  

I fear that since I've had this -- I don't know what to call it -- later in life that it may be progressive.  I don't know.  

Thank you so much.
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Avatar universal
You have given me some very wise advice.  I agree with you completely -- that it is important to believe in yourself and not something that probably is not real.  There are many areas of my life that are rational -- but then areas, especially as of late, that are irrational.  It is like part of my brain is normal, and the other part is not.  Hopefully, the abilify will stabalize me and clear this up. But, how does one live with this type of mental condition (and I'm not exactly sure that it is schizoaffective disorder -- maybe bi-polar with psychotic elements)?

I'll tell you something bluetray1 about God.  This experience has led me to believe that you can get to such a low point in life that there is absolutely nothing -- I got there, and realized that God may be the only hope -- when you know there is nothing else.  It has had some spiritual effects on me, but they seem normal and not some fanatical religious things.  

There is much that we do not know about the complicated human brain.

Thanks for your help!
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Avatar universal
Hi There, You're very welcome.
I began to hear voices over 3 years ago, but I always believed them to be from an outside source such as spirits and still believe this completely. The entire experience has not been easy at all, but it did bring me right to God and restored my already existing belief that God does exist.  I started out hearing 5 voices with my ears and now hear one voice in the house only.  I know very well what hearing a voice or voices can do to a person and their mind, but I believed in myself and believe in myself even more now than ever before.  I'm a worrier like you are; many are you know, but you can learn to deal with  that and expel much of unneeded worrying and obsessing.  It takes faith in yourself, practice and time and learning that we all tend to worry too much or become upset when it really serves no purpose.  This is a life time learning experience about oneself.  I always over analyzed myself too like it seems you do, but I now know this is not needed.  I accept myself for who I am and change what I can or want to, but we must believe in ourselves and always love ourselves.  I've learned to help myself with OCD because no meds or doctors could so I took action and it is working thank God.  I have also always been a very anxious person and I work on that daily too, but the important things to remember are to never give up on yourself, believe in yourself and like yourself for who you are.  Speak with your doctor about your concerns, but I would suggest to try and not think it will become worse. I know this isn't easy to do, but from experience I've also learned that it's our worrying and obsessing that makes everything worse...:)
If and when you sense negative feelings or thoughts that come from other; remember that it's "their" negativity and "not" yours so leave it with them; don't put it on yourself because it doesn't belong to you.
Keep your positive attitude and I wish you all the best...
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Avatar universal
EVERYTHING you said I truly agree with.  There is that overly self analyzing which I do way to much of.  I have always been that way, and now I'm seeing, as you stated, that it serves no good purpose and that it can only just make matters worse.  It is exhausting.  

I also agree that you do have to believe in oneself too.  

For some reason, I always felt that having these problems some how prevented a person from living a full life and maybe if I hadn't felt that way, I could have come to terms with many issues in life before now.  

I think the anxiousness we feel has to be worked on -- and it is something that I have to try to eliminate as much as possible.  I may not can get rid of all of it, but I believe as you do that with dedication we can improve our lives and come to know that our lives are meaningful.  We're good people, not defective people.  

I want peace in this existence, and I will strive for it, and I want it for you too.  I feel in order to get that peace, I have to let go of issues that serve no constructive purpose.  It isn't easy, but I believe it can be done.  

There is spirituality in this life -- or even a spiritual realm of which you have touched, and so have I.  I can't explain it or begin to understand it, but it is a way that may be very important in finding happiness and contentment in this life and to strive to give others happiness too.  

Thanks for your enlightenment bluetray1 -- I've gained many insights disucssing these issues with you.

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Avatar universal
Your reply means alot to me; very thoughtful so thank you very much and it seems we have much in common which is nice to find.  I too don't think I can rid myself of all anxiety, but I will try to eliminate as much as possible.  I found this very simple breathing method helps...When anxious or stressed breathe in calm air and exhale the anxious or tense air and think this while doing it. There are other methods such as just stretching; walking, laying down and contracting all the muscles in your legs; holding and then relaxing the muscles. I guess you can try this with any muscles in the body too.
Thank you for sharing your insight and experiences. We learn that we all do have things in common; each and every single one of us.  Good to hear from you; stay well...
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