Self-Care in Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder Is Hard

March 10, 2016 Elizabeth Caudy

With schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, self-care can be hard. Things that most people take for granted, like showering, can become a looming, stressful chore. But why? Why is self-care so difficult for people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder?

Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, and Self-Care

As someone with schizoaffective disorder, I’ll tell you why showering is difficult for me. I know most people love the feeling of luxuriating in a hot shower with hot water cascading over them. But to me, it just seems overstimulating. All that water rushing down on me, making so much noise, almost seems like an assault. And in my apartment, it’s very tricky to get the water to just the right temperature. Hey, if I’m going to brave through a shower, it better be exactly the perfect temperature.

I’d much rather take baths, and I usually do. But I hate washing my hair in the bath. I have long, dark hair, and it gets everywhere when I wash it. A shower rinses it all away. The perfect solution, except I still don’t like showers. The result: I’m clean except for my greasy hair. So I have been washing my hair in the bath lately, because I hate the feeling of an oily scalp.

Don’t get me started on brushing my teeth. I hate it, but I dutifully face up to the task twice a day. Why do I hate it? Well, it used to be the toothpaste I used. Again, the minty sting all over my mouth seemed like an assault. Solution -- I switched to children’s toothpaste. I use the bubble gum flavor. I’ve been brushing my teeth much more consistently since I switched.

Why Self-Care Is Important in Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophrenia

With schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, self-care can be difficult. No matter how hard it feels, It's important to keep on top of self-care. Here's how.

I’m really embarrassed to be telling you all this stuff about self-care (Good Self-Care is Vital to Mental Health Recovery). It’s funny; I’ve told you I hear voices and that I get suicidal. But I’m embarrassed about hating to bathe and to brush my teeth, even though I do it anyway? Aside from switching to children’s toothpaste, I have another motivation to brush. I quit smoking a few years ago. A lot of people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder smoke because the nicotine is so calming. But to fully reap the benefits of giving up cigarettes, I feel I should take good care of my teeth.

Now that we have that out of the way, there’s the issue of my occasionally greasy hair. All I can say is: hey, I’m doing the best I can, okay? There was a time when I just didn’t bathe every day. It wasn’t until I started running every morning and would be sweating when I got home that I started bathing every day and washing my hair in the bath more.

Lately, I’ve been showering to wash my hair every other night -- and even wearing makeup. I take a bath every morning after my run. It makes me feel better about myself to take the time to take care of myself. It makes me feel like I matter. And I do matter, even if sometimes I have greasy hair.

My Video about Self-Care and Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder

Photo by Elizabeth Caudy.

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APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2016, March 10). Self-Care in Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder Is Hard, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

March, 16 2016 at 7:24 pm

I find it very hard to keep clean...

March, 20 2016 at 7:26 pm

Well i get confused a lot due to the ton of stuff that goes through my jead a minute thinking of several things at once. Because of that i tend to be tired a lot and sleep through classes. I slso got this habit of murmuring stuff when my head is too full and i can say i murmur and think suicidal thoughts more than 10 times a day.

rita lutzer
February, 11 2018 at 8:55 pm

Does anyone with schizophrenia out there have a dr who prescribed 3 antipsychotics at once???

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elizabeth Caudy
February, 12 2018 at 11:46 am

The most I've been on at once was two.

May, 31 2020 at 3:30 pm

I am on Zyprexa and unsure if it is the best for me. Elizabeth, what antipsychotic are you taking? I am new to this.

June, 1 2020 at 11:46 am

Dear Teresa,
Thank you for your comment. If you are unsure as to whether your antipsychotic is the best for you, please consult your doctor.
Take Care,

October, 2 2021 at 12:32 pm

I am bipolar & have an aversion to bathing & brushing my teeth. I simply lack the desire. Is there a med to stimulate the part of my brain responsible for motivation to groom?

October, 6 2021 at 12:45 pm

Hi Laura! Thanks for your comment. You and I are a little different in that you lack the desire to groom, while I am afraid of it. I groom by forcing myself. I force myself to brush my teeth twice a day. (Did you know Kurt Cobain hated to brush his teeth and only bathed and washed his hair once a week?) I take baths 6 days a week (on a good week) and fortunately I enjoy the baths, for the most part. I shower and wash my hair once a week, and I prefer to do it when my husband is home. I started shaving my legs again and I always dread it but then when I actually do it, I like it. It's kind of relaxing! I don't shave my armpits because, for whatever reason, I like having hairy pits, lol. To answer your question, I don't know if there's a medication to stimulate that part of the brain. I haven't heard of one. I hope that helps! Best, Elizabeth

February, 7 2022 at 2:20 am

What is best self care tips for schizoeffective disorder other than exercise please share tips

February, 7 2022 at 11:49 am

Dear Singh, Thank you for your comment. I think what are the "best" self-care tips vary from person to person, or even from day to day. Some days, I love soaking in a hot bath. Other days, I just don't feel like it. But what I immediately thought of when I read your comment is something that happened last night: I was in a really bad mood, so I decided to wash my face and put on my eye cream and facial moisturizer. After that, I felt better. So self-care can be as simple as washing your face. I hope that helps! Best, Elizabeth

December, 5 2022 at 7:41 am

I have a hard time with showering and cleaning because I find it a waste of time that I could be using to get further in the stories of my games.

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