Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What exactly is schizophrenia?

Hi, this is my first post, and it’s regarding an acquaintance that I’ve found out is schizophrenic. It’s my first time encountering this.

I know him from church, and he has a bit of a zany, comical personality that makes him quite entertaining to talk to. I honestly chalked it up to him being a goofball.

However, a few weeks ago, I was at his house and spilled something. Some of it splashed on a nearby wall, and as I was cleaning it, I briefly placed a framed picture of his mother on the floor. Suddenly out of nowhere, he charged me, knocked me to the floor and began whaling on my head with everything he had–several guys had to pull him off me. He started screaming that I was “threatening” his mother by placing her on the floor.

After they separated us, his friends told me he was schizophrenic and begged for me not to have him arrested–claiming that they would speak with his parents and have them work with his mental health specialists about his meds or whatever. (I relented, but let them know he could consider himself a permanent enemy)

Amazingly, only three days later, he approached me with a smile saying, “Hey, you’re not still mad at me, are you?” and sat next to me while casually saying “So how’ve you been?” like it had just been a simple misunderstanding!

I honestly don’t know anything about schizophrenia, other than people who suffer from it hear voices and think people are out to get them. What is it, exactly? He’s like a puzzle, almost–his reasoning logic is on another dimension! It’s placing me in all sorts of confusion–I’m pissed off at him for assaulting me, but it’s almost hard to stay angry at him because it’s like he’s almost unaware of what he did!

Welcome to the site. I am sorry for the circumstances that brought you here. However, once your life is affected by someone’s illness, it will benefit you a lot to educate yourself. This website has a wealth of information available from the home page to help you learn about schizophrenia.

To quote one part of the site:

“People diagnosed with schizophrenia usually experience a combination of positive (i.e. hallucinations, delusions, racing thoughts), negative (i.e. apathy, lack of emotion, poor or nonexistant social functioning), and cognitive (disorganized thoughts, difficulty concentrating and/or following instructions, difficulty completing tasks, memory problems).”

I am not surprised that your friend seems unaware of what he did, the thought processes of someone with this illness are hard to logically follow. I can understand his friends asking you not to press charges, as jailing someone who is mentally ill does not usually help them, unless it leads to treatment. (My daughter is currently out of psychosis. It took an arrest and forced hospitalization with court ordered medical treatment to achieve that.). Since your friend is already under medical treatment, it is probably best that they get his medical team to sort out why he got violent.

Why your friend attacked you is probably not clear even to him. Voices (hallucinations), delusions (strange unshakable beliefs), and paranoia (gripping fear) can take over an ill person. Sometimes they remember what happened during an episode, and sometimes they don’t.