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Am I Schizophrenic?

Question:

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia about a year and a half ago. I’m seventeen and recently had a best friend with schizophrenia commit suicide. I’m debating whether there’s really anything wrong with me that maybe it is all in my head. But there are many disturbing things. Maybe you could tell me if the things wrong with me I’m about to list are really symptoms of schizophrenia or if everyone is bothered the same way. I hear voices but a lot of times they sound as if it is my own conscience but says things that my mind isn’t thinking. But sometimes it sounds like a person sitting next to me or somebody I know. I developed a reasonable explanation though…I believe it is Satan trying to make me go crazy and God trying to pull me the other way. IS it possible that the voices can sound like your own? Everyday I wake up seeing this very vivid horror movie in my mind of everyone I love dieing in many ways. It’s terrifying! I can’t stop it with any sort of powered will. I also recently developed the fear of cameras in the restrooms and even in the toilets but everyone gets paranoid. Does schizophrenia make you think that you are sick all of the time too? Also, when I look in the mirror I see pimples all over my face that are not there or I see thinning hair that does not exist. I also, sometimes, lay awake at night thinking that whenever I wake up in the morning that there will be something really wrong with my body or even missing. Also, most of the time it seems as if someone made a voodoo doll of me or Satan is trying to get me to do things unwillingly. Many times I hold me hands together to make sure I don’t do what is planned for Satan or the enemy. Another thing, does schizophrenia have anything to do with social anxiety? When around anybody, I feel as though I am walking with my head tilted with everyone looking at me. Sometimes, and this has been going on since a small child, I’ll be sitting and then all of a sudden my heart will start bounding and it’s like a scary confusion in my head and I feel a presents like there is somebody behind me. I really feel a presents at this time! Also, many times I try to give a being important information, it seems as though it is stolen out of my mind because Satan doesn’t want them to know because I am the only one whom shall know this knowledge. Another thing, does schizophrenia make you raged and get “set off” at times? I mean like so rage things are almost uncontrollable. I also feel so fucking guilty all of the time! there are times when I can’t even eat in front of my parents because I feel so guilty that they bought the food and we are not even poor. If I am schizophrenic then how come there are no visual signs to people around me. My mom said that her commentary among all of this, which she doesn’t really know the half of it, she thinks it is a part of growing up. I feel many times as though I can’t handle society. Sorry to throw so many questions at you but I need to know answers because I don’t see my doctor that much. Do you think that these symptoms are part of schizophrenia or do you think that it could be just all in my head?

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Answer:

From what you have written here, I’d say it would seem likely that you do have a schizophrenic spectrum disorder such as schizophrenia. This is a chronic illness – not ‘just something in your head’. I say this for two reasons. First, because you have been previously diagnosed, presumably by a mental health doctor, and schizophrenia is what you were determined to have. Second, because the symptoms you are describing are a pretty good fit for what persons with paranoid schizophrenia experience. People who do not suffer from schizophrenic-type disorders almost never hear voices, almost never report possession experiences, almost never report thought insertion (having thoughts put into your head by an outside mind), thought broadcasting (where your thoughts are taken from your mind against your will) or command hallucinations (where voices push you to do things you don’t want to do). On the other hand, hearing voices, thought insertion, thought broadcasting and command hallucinations are pretty common amongst persons diagnosed with paranoid type schizophrenia. These symptoms can occur due to other causes (such as side-effects of drugs such as cocaine, crack or crystal methamphetamine) – but in these cases, although the starting point is different, the treatments are mostly the same.

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p> Keep in mind that Schizophrenia is a spectrum disorder. There are mild forms of it and there are severe forms of it. Psychosis is not the everyday condition of schizophrenics – but rather something they fall into from time to time. Voices get louder on bad days and softer (or disappear) on good ones. You don’t have to be totally psychotic/crazy all the time to have schizophrenia.

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p> Your mother may fail to see what is happening for a number of different reasons. She may not understand the nature of the illness and believe that if you were schizophrenic, you’d be completely incapacitated all the time (untrue). She may be in total denial – not prepared to accept reality as it is and instead making it into what she wants it to be. There may be other reasons as well. Who can say without meeting her and talking with her?

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p> I’m hoping that you are under psychiatric care for your condition. It is really important that you get yourself under the care of a psychiatrist (if you aren’t already) so that you can be properly medicated. Medicines help a whole lot in controlling the symptoms. Some of the newer ones (like Zyprexa) seem to be particularly good for many people, producing fewer side effects than earlier generation medicines. It is also very important that you stay away (far away) from any and all drugs or alcohol. I’ve seen too many addict schizophrenics in my day – there is a terrible temptation to self-medicate with alcohol or cocaine, or something like that – but what ends up happening is that you get sicker and sicker instead. Drugs will further mess up your likely already fragile brain. You don’t need that right now.

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