Living with schizophrenia is not what you would think. There are a few misconceptions surrounding the diagnosis but living with it, if you have the right care, can be quite normal, and quite fun. My journey started in third grade when I began seeing "shadow people" first in the dark, and then in the daylight. It scared me and as I got older, and began seeing different things, I finally told my mom about it. At first she was terrified for me, she didn't know what was wrong, but then we went to a doctor. When I got diagnosed with Schizo-Affective Disorder my mom was both relieved and upset. It is not the same as full blown Schizophrenia but it is a milder form of the disease. The main difference is that people with schizo-affective disorder tend to have depression issues along with hygine, memory, and sleep disturbances. Although I do have to be on medication, for the most part I live a life like everyone else. At times the hallucinations get very scary and they can come back, but the thing with schizo-affective disorder is: you can have fun with it as long as you have a good support system. I for one am lucky. I have a family who, for the most part, understands. And I have friends who put up with my crazy ramblings when the disease gets bad. But thats not why they are good support. They are good support because they laugh about it with me. For instance, one time I was totally out of it and in a state and once I finally came to my senses my friend just started laughing and said 'You good now?' And that just diffused all the tension I had been feeling and all the anxiety that I had just phased out on her. Its friends and people like that that are essenial to a diagnosis like this. But the main thing you have to realize is this: it may change the way you live for a while but it will never change you.