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    schizoaffective or faking? now what do I do?
    oncecrazy posted:
    I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder over 10 years ago. I am beginning think, or be willing to admit, that I was faking it. Not entirely, I mean, I had depression definitely, and I had some psychosis too...but I just don't think I actually had significant real symptoms. This is hard to explain. I was depressed. A little, more stressed from school pressures than anything, then I started meds and it got worse. A lot worse. Severe anxiety and paranoia and suicidal ideation. But I don't know how much of that was real and how much of it was exaggerated for attention. I can't remember. Then they gave me more meds and I just kept getting worse. I think I liked being the "crazy girl", I think I might have been milking it. I just kept getting more symptoms. I know I lied about my visual hallucinations. I just exaggerated them. I saw spiders and stuff out of the corner of my eye and imagined gruesome things, but I told people I saw these things- like actual body parts and blood and such. My thoughts were arguing with each other, but I told the doctors they were voices. I mean, I kind of thought they were voices. I thought I really was crazy. I'm not just some horrible liar, and I don't think this is a game. But I might have somehow enjoyed the attention of being so ill. I faked catatonia. I knew I could move if I wanted, but I told people I couldn't. I really was stressed and overwhelmed and my thoughts were loud, but I wasn't really frozen. I think. I can't remember clearly.

    Well anyway, I hope I have not offended anyone. I have lived my life as a mentally ill person and have been a huge advocate for the mentally ill for years now. I have lead support groups and raised funds for NAMI and suicide prevention. It is a huge part of my life. But I feel like I need to come clean and sort out fact from fiction in my life.

    I need help. How do I tell people who know and love me that I have been exaggerating? (If I have, I honestly am not sure) Maybe I am not mentally ill. Or maybe I just have depression. I have been on tons of meds and have reduced them to almost nothing and I have been symptom free for several years. I want to stop meds entirely, but my husband knows my history and thinks I need them. I feel like I have lied to him and it is killing me. How do I tell my parents that all we went through may not have really been real? I want to be normal. I don't want to lie. But do I have to confess everything? Or should I just tell everyone I somehow "recovered"?

    I feel so guilty. Go ahead and tell me I suck. I deserve it.
    larsstarscanary responded:
    Having a diagnosis of mental illness is a hard thing to accept because of stigma. I don't think you can fake psychosis, even if you "exaggerated" it.

    It's good that you advocate for "the mentally ill", as long as you don't turn it into a them vs. us situation, further adding to stigma.

    I hope you have recovered, but I don't think you should now be trying to rewrite the past, denying the illness. They don't just give pills to everyone...

    All the best for your continued recovery.
    maddyhorn replied to larsstarscanary's response:
    Thank you for your response. That is a good point, I think I am trying to "rewrite the past". I need to just move on with the present and accept what happened as reality and part of my story, part of who I am.
    larsstarscanary replied to maddyhorn's response:
    I believe that I was able to be stabilized because I was labeled with a diagnosis, and also because I follow treatment, which includes therapy. Also I go to a program, as needed.

    Though I can never do all the things I used to do because of the illness (I used to teach and loved every second of it), I can live, advocate, paint, write, knit, crochet, etc.
    Rosie1rich responded:
    You don't suck. Even if you have been faking it, there is something going on that is the reason you would do that. Seek some counseling. It sounds like there is some deep rooted issue that you have not dealt with properly. pray,speak to good friends, family. No one should judge you and those that love you will want to help
    TheGirlWithTheRoseTattoo responded:
    Literally I could have written that the year after my major psychotic break. The thing is that the more time goes by, the better and better I get, the more I see that this judgement I placed upon myself is completely stupid. It seemed I believed that in order for my mental break down to be authentic every crazy thing I did had to be 100% involuntary. This is not the truth. You clearly had a breakdown. One does not simply feel the need to go catatonic, in fine mental states. Many of the crazy things I did were choices I made, some of them because I wanted to "go crazy."
    But I did not do this for fun or for attention. I was a screaming tortured mess on the inside and I was spinning out of control. When I went "catatonic" I most certainly was physically capable of moving, but I just wouldn't. I don't know why. I think this is true for most schizophrenics. They're not paralyzed.

    For me judging myself, thinking that I wasn't "crazy" enough was just another layer of delusion. I have earned my stripes over the years.

    Whatever the severity of your meltdown, you were still sick. I personally believe that arbitrary lies are a symptom of psychosis anyway, even in normal people. Especially ex-boyfriends....
    Failsafe123 responded:
    I, as a 15 year old, am finding myself in a similar place that you were 10 years ago. I have isolated myself from almost all social contact, because I feel very anxious and irritated when I talk to people, even my family. I feel like I have no drive to do anything productive or active. I've been feeling depressed for months as well. I hear low humming sounds and buzzing sound, but have never found a source. Also, I hear a voice scolding me for failures and wasting time as I tend to do because of my depression. It tells me that it has big plans for my life and it rebukes me for not living up to them. It also compels me to hurt myself. I have stabbed myself with a pen for something as small as hitting a wrong note while playing the piano. I don't tell anybody what I'm feeling because I can't help but think there may be a possibility that I'm just making up the voice. I don't know exactly what would be diagnosed with these symptoms, if anything, but it seems possible that I am just making them up as an excuse to myself for isolating myself, lying in bed, or watching TV all day. I feel that I may be compelled to think of myself as crazy to justify my failures in life.
    pixe5 replied to Failsafe123's response:
    Failsafe I know this is an extremely old comment but I hope you are doing better. It does not sound like you are making up your symptoms. I hope you have gotten some help.

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