Schizoaffective Disorder, My Weight, and Thanksgiving
This Thanksgiving, I decided to let myself eat whatever I wanted, a treat for successfully sustaining my weight while on schizoaffective disorder medications.
I’m on a lot of psychiatric medications that cause weight gain. I’ve tried other medications that don’t lay on the pounds, but they don’t address my schizoaffective symptoms. So, early in February, I decided to cut out sweets and start exercising because I was gaining weight again. I haven’t lost weight since doing this, probably due, again, to all the medication I take, especially my antipsychotic. However, I haven’t gained, either.
Schizoaffective Disorder and Watching My Weight
I was starting to think that dieting and forcing myself to exercise every day was bad for my schizoaffective depression. You hear a lot that you have to enjoy your exercise routine. At least for me, that’s not realistic. Exercise is always a bit of a chore, but I know when I’m not exercising, my schizoaffective anxiety gets worse. At any rate, I feel so good when I’m done with my daily workout. I guess I don’t need to work out every day for my mental health, but I feel it ensures I won’t gain weight, and that alone helps my mental health.
By the term “dieting,” I mostly mean that I gave up any food with refined sugar. As I said before, I was starting to think depriving myself of sweets was fueling my schizoaffective depression. So, I had a sugary soda with breakfast at my apartment Thanksgiving morning as my husband Tom sipped coffee. The sweets I’d been missing the most were the sugary sodas.
At first, it tasted syrupy. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I remembered. And all that sugar made me feel jittery. I know it wasn’t Thanksgiving that made me feel jittery, though that sometimes happens as the large extended family I love pours through the house. But the COVID-19 pandemic limited our gathering, and the only guests at my parents’ house were my husband Tom and me. Everyone felt safe in that small group of people because Tom and I have been going to my parents’ house on weekends ever since late May. The four of us are like a pod. My youngest brother John in San Francisco organized a Zoom gathering so everyone in the family who would normally be at the house on Thanksgiving–a lot of people–could virtually visit each other.
I had another sugary soda at my parents’ house. Even though I had other sweets, I mainly think it was the sodas that caused me to feel jittery and restless.
Watching My Weight Is Not Bad for My Schizoaffective Disorder
So, what I learned from Thanksgiving is that it’s a good thing I’m not consuming as much sugar as I used to. It’s definitely supportive of my mental health. I don’t need to beat myself up over whether I am choosing my weight control over my mental health, especially since I dutifully take medication for my schizoaffective disorder even though it causes that weight gain.