Hi, my name is Vicki and I have schizoaffective disorder. I was diagnosed in college when I was 23 years old. I was studying abroad in England at the time and things went okay for the first few weeks but then I started to get really paranoid and thought everybody was talking about me. I thought people hated me and just wanted me to go back to the states. However, my friend who was British saw a different Vicki and would not leave me alone.
Eventually I would not go to my classes and I would sneak around campus taking pictures. I wanted my family from back at home in the USA to see that I was having a great time. I would not even leave my room besides for meals with my host family. Oh and I thought my host father was George Harrison of the Beatles. I thought they were living undercover and that they wanted to host two students because they wanted to act like a normal family. I still do not know what the other exchange student in the house thought of me.
I knew something was very wrong with me. I did not know what but thought maybe I was really homesick and once I was home I would return to normal. Finally, I was home in Minnesota. My parents thought I was acting very suspicious of people and thought I was an alcoholic. I started going to AA meetings. My dad would hide all the AA Big books and tell me that I did not need them and stop acting this way.
One day I was walking my dog and curled up in a ball on the side of the road and started screaming because the voices were so loud. After that I finally got help and got treatment for schizo-affective disorder. I suffered ten more years of auditory hallucinations before the doctors found the right cocktail of medications.
However, my bipolar side of my illness I still have trouble with. I have such mood swings in a short period of time that I am on SSDI and I am not working. I realize that mental illness is a daily fight and that it will never end until I am dead. I hope that I have been able to help somebody get help or understand mental illness better. I realize that everybody has a story and this was mine. I realize that I am not alone in this fight.