(Jan. 18, 2013) I have schizoaffective disorder and am currently reading your book "Surviving Schizophrenia." On reading the chapter on "Onset, Course and Prognosis," I decided to summarize my own story as a means of abreaction for myself, and it occurred to me that you might like to know about my case and perhaps consider using it in your research. It is as shown below.
"Andrew, although shy, had a fairly normal childhood and was raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Gifted musically, he could easily have pursued a career as a concert pianist but did not and taught music privately instead. Always with a spiritual perspective and still living at home, at age 22, he began to be troubled by demons, became very distressed by doubts as to his religious beliefs, experienced disturbances in sleeping and eating patterns and became very withdrawn and depressed.
“He responded well to initial antidepressant medication prescribed by his general practitioner, but a few years later it became evident that additional antipsychotic medication was required, and a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder was made by a psychiatrist. His sexual indiscretion led to him being excommunicated by Jehovah’s Witnesses some years ago, and apart from some practical support from his parents, he remains in this condition and has few social outlets. As a full-time medical typist, he currently finds little time and energy to maintain his home surroundings and continues to have some problems with spending sprees, both of which are related to his belief that changes in his work situation need to be made in order for him to become a happier person.
“Apart from some paranoia which he still experiences at work, he continues to be symptom-free as long as he stays on his medication, and additional alternative therapies (such as fish oil and zinc) have also assisted his physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing considerably. His experiences have matured him spiritually.
Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia
P.S. Did you know that the Australian concert pianist David Helfgott also has schizoaffective disorder?
Since its first publication in 1983, Surviving Schizophrenia has helped thousands understand this complex and often stigmatized illness. In clear, sympathetic language, this definitive book describes the nature, causes, symptoms, and history of schizophrenia, taking readers inside the minds of those living with the disease.