My schizoaffective disorder gave me clarity

mackenzie-schizophrenia

Mackenzie's Story

Minnesota

Age: 25-36

A little bit about my journey:

My Diagnosis

Schizoaffective Disorder

Time to Get Diagnosed

13 years

Year I was Diagnosed

2019

Sending Love to

Hospital I'd Recommend

This is my story:

From the age of 4, when my parents divorced, I had symptoms of poor mental health. I was sent to see school counselors and behavioral health clinics in my younger years. When I was 12, I had my first hallucination that I kept to myself; diagnoses of depression and anxiety and of course, medication followed. In my late teens, I entered triple threat abusive relationship where most of my trauma ensued. We had a beautiful daughter out of coercion and for her safety, I left my abuser. I lived a guarded life raising my daughter, going to college, keeping up my own townhome. It is when I entered nursing school 5 years later that all these new symptoms hit me like a train. I couldn’t focus on class because of the flashbacks. I was seeing cats and shadow figures everywhere. The paranoia, trust issues, panic attacks, anhedonia, nightmares – I couldn’t cope. I saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with PTSD, borderline personality disorder, panic disorder, and bipolar II disorder and a handful of medications to follow. Though instances of academic discrimination, sleepless nights, and tears, I graduated! However, It wasn’t until after nursing school, when I lost my first nursing job due to my illnesses, that I was hit with the worst mixed episode you could imagine. I was suicidal, drinking, hallucinating almost everyday. That led to an involuntary hospitalization where I was diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder with psychotic features and hooked up with a therapist (the one I see to this day). I never talked about my hallucinations. Deep down I didn’t want to make things worse, and I didn’t want to be judged. It wasn’t until 2019, after I did some researching online, that I decided to advocate for myself and tell my psychiatrist. In October 2019, I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and put on a more effective medication regimen while continuing therapy. I lead a life on my terms in the way I parent, work as a registered nurse, study at university, and act as a partner to my husband. I am slowly healing from my trauma and opening myself up to more people. I have a severe mental illness for life, and I choose to lead that life where therapy and medication and strong support systems are the foundation for my happiness and success.

Let’s play 20 questions:

The song that keeps me going is:
Anything by Rammstein
I never leave home without my:
Journal and special pens
My go-to feel better movie is: 
Deadpool
If I was in the hospital, the celebrity I would most love to visit me would be:
When I need to relax, I:
Drink a cup of coffee
My favorite food is:
Mac n cheese
The quote that keeps me going is:
It is what it is
When I need a laugh, I:
Tell a pun
Meet my pets (or favorite stuffed animal):
Molly, 3 y/o Australian shepherd and Waffles, 4 y/o chihuahua
My hero is:
When I’m having a down day I binge watch:
House M.D.
My favorite book to get lost in is:
I want to be best friends with:
The thing I’m most proud of:
My nursing degree!
The most wonderfully unexpected thing that has happened to me as a result of this journey is:
I am now an avid mental health advocate
The most hilarious thing that has happened to me is:
It really means a lot when someone does this:
Includes me in anything!
My favorite social media account to follow is:
The advice I would give to myself back at the beginning of this journey would be:
Be truthful. Life doesn’t have to be hard.
Words of encouragement that I’d give to my fellow warriors are
If you’re struggling with your mental health, please reach out to someone professional or personal. You have a whole community of mental health advocates rooting for you.
Follow my journey: IG: schizoaffective.nurse

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