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Newly Diagnosed With Schizoaffective Disorder? Here's How to Embrace Your Diagnosis

When we talk about how “mental health matters,” I feel like most people generally are referring to anxiety and depression. But I have found that people are less accepting when it comes to illnesses that have a higher chance of stigma following them, such as schizophrenia. Receiving a schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder diagnosis can be incredibly daunting because of this, and it can be difficult to learn how to embrace the diagnosis or at least feel neutral about it.

When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t know what schizoaffective disorder was. I had to do my own research to learn about the diagnosis, and when I found out it was connected to schizophrenia, I felt an overwhelming sense of dread. All I knew about schizophrenia was how I had seen it portrayed in the media, and I didn’t know how to connect myself to my diagnosis. I still experience feelings of shame when I tell people that I have schizoaffective disorder, and this is something that I wish I could change my feelings around. If you have just been diagnosed, or have been diagnosed for a while and are feeling the same way, please know that you are not alone. These illnesses are so difficult to live with, and it is even harder when there is so much stigma that follows them in our culture.

The key to learning how to sit with a schizoaffective disorder diagnosis for me was to realize that this illness presents itself differently in every person, and my experience is my own. A second thing that helped me learn to sit with it was to disregard how this disorder, and schizophrenia, are portrayed in the media. Doing so taught me to disregard the negative way that some people treated me when learning about my diagnosis. However, this isn’t to say that receiving my

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