Tag Archives: schizoaffective disorder

Fan fiction through the lens of schizoaffective disorder

Until my breakdown at age 23, I read a shitload of fiction.  I’ve always been a big reader, but back then it was mostly novels.  After I started recovering enough to read again, I found I could only read non-fiction.  And I’ve figured out over the years why I can read some things but not others.

I don’t trust my brain.  I can’t.  For too many years it lied to me about what was and was not reality.  Novels require too much imagination.  I get lost.  It makes me deeply uncomfortable.  So instead I took up weird history books, because history is (more or less) true stories.  I still get to enjoy a good tale, but it’s a tale based in reality.

But about a year ago, I discovered I can read fan fiction.  It was a huge breakthrough for me.  It doesn’t require as much imagination, you see.  I already know what the characters look and sound like, because I’ve seen them in comics or films or television shows.  I know how the rules of their universe work.  I know they are played by real people.  So I can lose myself in fanfic, because I don’t completely lose myself.  Fanfic leaves me an anchor to the real world.  And I adore it for that.

I can also read comics for the same reason — I can see the characters and their world, so I don’t get lost.  I don’t have to trust my brain to fill in the imagery, because it’s right there on the page.  I read a fair amount of comics these days, but most of them are short reads.  For long reads I like novel-length fanfic works, if they’re written well.  And many are.  Ao3 has been a lifesaver, in terms of new reading material.

Sometimes I try to read regular novels.  I do.  But it’s incredibly difficult for me.  I’m so lucky I have other options.  Because stories are wonderful things, and I’d hate to not be able to read any at all.

Medication fun, version 100035736262

In the days since Christmas, I’ve switched out Invega for Risperdal.  I’d been on Risperdal before, and it did fairly well at managing hallucinations, but I’d forgotten about the side effects.  I’m sleepy too much, and… I hate admitting this part, but it makes me slack-jawed.  And… I drool a little if I’m not careful.  It’s gross and awful.  So I left my pdoc a message this morning about switching to something else.  I don’t know what, though.  I’ve been on so many atypical antipsychotics.  Risperdal, Geodon, Seroquel, Latuda, Invega… I’m sure I’m missing one or two.  I’m running out of things to try.  I may have to just accept the drooling.  God, it’s disgusting even to talk about.

It’s not even helping much on the hallucination/delusion front.  This morning I spent three hours with the awful feeling of wearing tall socks, like my lower legs had tight fabric on them.  I wasn’t wearing any socks, and my jeans are straight leg and are barely touching there most of the time.  I hate wearing socks because of that very sensation, so it was rather unpleasant.  Not as bad as many of the ones I’ve had, but still uncomfortable.  Other recent mental stuff includes thinking every single thing the Naiad said was a lie, even statements like “I have to go to the bathroom” (paranoia that she was leaving the room to contact Them because she was spying on us); and thinking that my first name is not actually my name and I have a secret name, that even I don’t know, that’s my true name.  And that’s just been in the last 24 hours.  Yeah, the Risperdal’s not doing much at all.

Emotionally I’ve been rather fragile, but not moreso than what’s become usual lately.  I’m not getting angry so much, but when I get anxious it escalates quickly.  And I’ve been depressed, but that’s not new.  (17 days until my HRT appointment!)

Recent events: the Naiad was here this weekend and it was lovely.  She and I watched the Valkyrie play Infamous: Second Son a whole bunch, and we beat the game twice — once as a hero and once as a villain.  The bad ending was absolutely heartbreaking.  It made me want to go back and do the good ending again just to make me less sad about the bad one.  That game is one of the best I’ve ever seen.  The writing was fantastic, the characterization was amazing, the main character wasn’t white (which I only mention because of how fucking rare that is in Western games), the villains had depth and were interesting (frequently misguided but with good intentions instead of being cartoonishly evil)… Just fantastic all around in terms of story.  The Valkyrie enjoyed the gameplay a bunch, too.

I also got some knitting and spinning done.  I wanted to do some reading, but it’s hard to do when in the same room as the Valkyrie.  She gets frustrated if I’m sitting six feet away from her and she can’t talk to me, but I am incapable of switching my concentration between reading and talking so I usually have to take my book elsewhere.  And then she misses me.  It’s nice to be so loved, and I love her equally much, but sometimes I just want to spend a few hours undisturbed with a book.  I’m reading The Lady Tasting Tea, a history of statistics (as a field of research).  It’s fascinating and well-written, and I’ve been trying to finish it for a couple of weeks now.  Argh.  Normally I can finish books in a day or two, provided I have a few stretches of uninterrupted reading time.  And the Naiad gave me three books for Christmas that I’m looking forward to.  And then there’s all my personally-chosen unread books.  Maybe I can carve out some reading time today.  It’s supposed to be 68 outside today, maybe I’ll sit on the patio and read for a while…