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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Shaun has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and his partner Vicky is diagnosed with borderline schizophrenia. For Schizophrenia Awareness day, we talk to Shaun, Vicky and Vicky’s sister Christie about their experiences.

"People think you're dangerous, violent because of the movies - we're not psycho killers"

Shaun explains one of the most commonly misunderstood myths about his and Vicky’s illnesses, 

“People think you're dangerous, violent because of the movies - were not psycho killers.”

Shaun now manages his condition well, but he has come a long way to get to this point. 

“At my worst I had a fear of being poisoned through the water and my friends found it hard to cope with my fears and beliefs. It was frightening hearing and seeing people that weren't there.

I was admitted to hospital for four months where I began to recover and after a few years of trying out different medication and seeing a psychologist, I began to understand and accept my illness.”

Vicky is a big support for Shaun and tells us:

“I can tell when he is hearing voices and I just talk calmly to him, to distract him, there's no point in making a big deal of it as it's something we just need to manage together. Some days are harder than others as he struggles to motivate himself, but he has support through the Richmond fellowship and the mental health team if he needs it.”

Shaun tells us that one of the main things that helped him through the worst times was seeing his mum and close friends, although they found it hard to understand the irrationality of the illness, they were there for him:

“I now am stable. I still have auditory hallucinations and socialising in large groups is tough, but I am in a loving relationship and that has given me a huge lift and I feel happy and now have a purpose”.

Vicky’s sister Christie says that: 

“This shows that there is hope for people who think that they can't be in a loving relationship and meet someone special when you have a mental illness - I have watched these two with joy over the past year as they cope together, living with past trauma is not easy, but they are making it work.”

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