Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Making up things that don’t exist

Hi
Hope you all are doing well. It’s that time again where I feel alone and sad. My sister has been saying things that don’t exist such as “Corrupt police use a device called green monster where they hack someone’s social media or device and blank the person using it which causes them to see things or become unable to do things.” she’s constantly changing the story about things and constantly makes up something new after a previous story wears off. She’s always thinking someone is hacking her cell phone and it’s changing her number all the time or create new accounts frequently. this is so sad and I just don’t understand this terrible illness.

Another thing, if I don’t act a certain way she starts to talk to her self out loud and says I’m not her sister, one day I am and another I’m not it’s very confusing.

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Don’t be confused as its all part of the illness Every day is a different day or should i say every hour is a different hour . Your sister is in a stronger psychosis when she says you are not her sister etc … and other times she gets back to reality . I had many incidents with my son like that too usually with food . One day he says he needs to eat salmon and he has to have it now as it will help him then the next day he is not allowed to eat the salmon as it is very bad for him . Try not to take it personally and remember its her illness talking not her . Hang in there and try to be patient with her . As much as its confusing for you it must be so draining for her .

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Yes, @Val_le , delusions and hallucinations are sometimes more strong than reality is for a person with this dread illness. You won’t be able to talk her out of her delusions no matter how obviously false they seem to you. @Linda is so very correct when she says “try not to take it personally and remember it’s her illness talking, not her.”

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Some misconceptions I’ll try to clear up. “She” isn’t making things up, her brain is tricking her that situations and sounds and other things exist and you and most other people perceive it differently. Think of them like optical or auditory illusions. Is it a silhouette of two faces or a vase? Is it a young woman or an old lady in the picture? Is that dress blue or gold? Do you hear, “Yanny” or “Laurel”? or “Brainstorm” or “Green needle”?

Now suppose you look at or listen to the illusion again after a while and your perception changes. Did you make something up or change your mind, or change your story in these cases? Should people be allowed to say you constantly make things up and change your story in these cases? If you see the dress as blue, not gold as your friend does, should she be free to say to others it’s sad and you have a terrible disease? That would feel terribly unfair to you wouldn’t it?

That’s how it feels to be in her position. She’s doing the best she can to understand the world around her, just as you are doing the best you can to figure out what you see or hear when presented with an illusion. And trying to talk her out of her perception would be like trying to tell someone they aren’t sad when you see tears in their eyes— it feels obviously false and invalidating— like you were trying to gaslight their feelings.

Now imagine these illusions were commonplace, say ten percent of the time and you weren’t aware it was happening. That’s similar to her experience. She’s having cognitive illusions instead of auditory or visual ones. If you can start empathizing with her situation, rather than devaluing her by arguing about her being “wrong” for seeing a gold dress instead of a blue one, or try to agree to disagree and let go of black or white (or blue or gold) reality, then you’ll make more progress.

Disclaimer: While I am a part-time caregiver of my brother and father with SMI, I was diagnosed with SZA over thirty years ago. I’m an advocate of appropriate drug treatments for SMI, but I feel they are incomplete treatments and additional CBT, supportive talk and psychosocial therapies are helpful where feasible. Any drug advice is from personal experience or research and not a substitute for qualified Psychiatric care.

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Thankyou for teaching us @Maggotbrane .

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@Maggotbrane please continue to post. Your explanations give a very detailed description of how our love ones see the world. This is invaluable and can help me empathize and understand how someone may feel.

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