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Old 02-19-2020, 12:52 PM   #1
Nix
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Default Social Interaction with Schizoaffective

Hello all,

I know this is a small subset of the forum and in my last post I already mentioned that I haven't been here in a while. I guess I just have had some things on my mind that I wanted to share some how and it makes me feel somewhat emotionally alleviated if I post here.

I have really been struggling a lot lately with constant voices and coded messages to the point where it is disrupting my daily life. I deal with this on a regular basis, but normally I am able to muster the energy it takes to ignore the noise and chaos in my mind and do what I need to do to live.

I guess the reason I wanted to post here is because every so often, I feel like I get the message from people that they think I am somehow lesser of a person or stupid because I say I am lonely and don't have friends in real life and I often find support from people on the Internet, most of whom I've not actually met and can't verify if they're who they say they are.

I follow some other schizo communities and sometimes I hear comments that schizo people should just "get out there and be more social." I know that that is probably in frustration to seeing those with mental illness struggle with isolation and depression. However, it frustrates me because it's really ignorant.

The thing about socialization in the real world is that it takes time, energy, and effort, for the normal, average person. Some schizo people might have a lot of time, if they are on disability or don't have to work. For me, I am already at a disadvantage because so much of my energy is spent on my regular day-to-day duties like caring for my children and home and working part time.


But in addition to that, I think that people don't understand how exhausting social interaction can be when you are constantly fighting to ignore or silence voices in your head, or feeling paranoid and seeing signs and codes and threatening messages everywhere. The truth is, first, it can be hard to even find friends as a normal adult. Second, most normal adults are either scared/unsettled by psychosis, or they don't understand how to talk to someone who is struggling with it so it makes them uncomfortable. So I don't normally even disclose my mental health issues to people who are new friends, because I don't want to scare or burden them. For me personally, it is extremely difficult to be in an environment where there are several conversations going on at once or there is a lot of fast verbal "back and forth" and noise. It makes my wires feel crossed and it agitates me to the point where I start feeling violent and want to lash out at people. I try to avoid this situation at all costs because I have learned to manage myself and I want to be a good friend, coworker, parent, etc.

The reasons why it's often just not possible to say, "hey cool, i'll get off the Internet and go make friends" as a schizo person is because every time I go out to do something fun that regular people do, I risk the chances of putting myself in a situation where I cannot control what is happening and I needlessly make a scene, embarrass others, or have to rely on others or end up in a costly hospital stay. Or, I risk the chance that it takes so much energy to engage in social interaction that I don't have enough left over to care for myself properly and make sure my bills are paid and my family is fed.

Additionally, with mental illness, there are so many times that you cannot predict whether you will be capable of doing something that you promised to do. I know that depression can literally make my body feel achy and weak, or that my mental illness takes such a toll on my physical state that I have to lay in bed and just watch Youtube or sleep for hours to recover enough to manage getting out of bed. There have been times that I volunteered to work with nonprofits or community groups and was really excited to help, and had to cancel because I just did not have the capabilities at the time of the event. It was sad and frustrating and embarrassing for me, but because of situations like that, I have learned to be really cautious. When I see others having fun, I often feel lonely and I wish that I could just be outgoing and make a bunch of friends and go do things together. But the reality is that, in terms of what is socially expected of a friend, I would make a really terrible one because I cannot be relied upon or dependable. I don't have any control over times that I am just not able to keep appointments I have set.

For these reasons, online mental health communities are really beneficial. There are other reasons, as well. For instance, regular friends shouldn't be relied upon constantly to be your only source of support, or they will burn out. That is not fair to do to any one person. If you make friends with a lot of people online who understand, generally, mental illness, then you can rely on several people, and you can also provide support for them in return when they need it. Not only that, but many times, I might need to talk to someone at really weird hours in the middle of the night, and it would be rude to regularly call an IRL friend for that kind of thing. Additionally, sometimes staying distracted can help and posting on forums or chatting with others can take your mind off of voices and things that are bothering you, without just sitting in a room alone and going insane. But if you are really tired, or if something is triggering you, you also have the option to shut the computer and sleep or go for a walk, and care for yourself in the best way that you can without offending people. Obviously if I invite a friend over for the afternoon, I can't just disappear to practice self care.

The threats of being homeless, being destitute, losing loved ones, or ending your own life can all be very real and very scary threats that those of us with mental illness face on a regular basis. I know that a lot of people think getting support or making friends online is stupid, but for me it has probably many times been the difference between staying alive or committing suicide. I do still feel very lonely, and I do still long for real life relationships and activities. But I am really thankful for the connections I have with strangers from other places, because it has allowed me to cope.
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Old 02-23-2020, 03:00 PM   #2
Iman
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Default Re: Social Interaction with Schizoaffective

Hello Nix, I agree with you. Beyond that we all have slightly different needs and abilities. For some increased social interaction is beneficial and for some the ability to communicate with someone online is comforting and safe. Donít judge yourself, be who you are and be proud of that.
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Social Interaction with Schizoaffective

I understand how you feel. I feel the same way. I need my time and space to be alone as well as time with others to commiserate. I have online buddies too. I need them for my support and guidance. It is a lonely path to be all alone without communicating one's problems with others. We need advice and support too!!I feel really close to my online buddies. One of them is going to meet me in person eventually. It is a wonderful world now where we can choose to communicate through the internet or meet in person. I don't think it is stupid to have online buddies. I would not worry how others think about them either. If you are happy with your online buddies, this is what matters most. We can't please everybody else. We must be happy with ourselves first. You have insight and are doing fine!! I think online communication is a good thing, as it is for you and me.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Social Interaction with Schizoaffective

I agree with your well written post. I think a lot of us have the same feelings and struggles. What works for others my not work for you or me or the next person. People who donít understand fully until they experience things first hand. If they were in your shoes... but they are not. All the best to you.
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