Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What It's Like For Those with Violent Hallucinations/Paranoia


#1

I’m not going to sugar-coat things for you simply because these are things you need to know. I’m going to let you know what the schizophrenic life is like for your son or daughter. The voices don’t take it easy on your child so I’m not going to take it easy on you. If you really want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I’ll give it to you plain and simple. I’m not here to scare you; your child is already scared enough for the both of you, but if you love them you’ll read this so you can understand them. I’m not going to tell you how you can help them because I don’t even know yet how we can be helped. I just want you to know what we go through every day. I want you to realize that we don’t do or think these bizarre things on purpose. True, we need help, but we also need someone who is going to stay with us through it all and remind us that we are still loved no matter what goes on in our heads.

I want all the parents of schizophrenics to know this; you will never find a medication that will cure your child. Give up hope now because there is no drug out there that will make it alright. However, I promise you that there is a medication that will make your child better. Whether they get 90% better, 50% better, or even if the hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia only get better by 3%, better is better. Now, with every medication there are side effects and while your child may get better mentally, they might get bad physically. I was on a medication that made me 97% better, but it made me gain 65 pounds and made my heart rate constantly stay around 120 which put a strain on my heart. You have to be willing to decide for your child “Do I want to shorten his life through metabolic side effects while he lives a normal life? Or do I want him to suffer mentally but stay alive longer?” If you decide that you couldn’t bring yourself to let her die prematurely due to side effects, that’s a decision that is entirely up to you (depending on their age and level of independence). But just know that most hallucinations are violent and sometimes the victim may feel that there is only one way to escape the voices; suicide.

So I guess you want to know what schizophrenia is like. Let me walk you through a typical un-medicated day for me. Keep in mind that due to the nature of this illness, no two people have the exact same symptoms. What goes on in my head may not be exactly what goes on in your son or daughter’s head. But most likely we share similar experiences.

3am: I wake to hear a blood-curling scream. Not the scream of a demon, but the scream of a little boy having his limbs ripped off. I’m scared out of my mind and afraid to go back to sleep. So I stay awake for the rest of the morning. Things (inside my head) get oddly silent.

7am: I decide to go to the gym to work off some stress. As I am walking on the treadmill, I notice James standing on the other side of the room and I can tell by the way he’s looking at me that Trinity isn’t far behind. (James and Trinity are the only 2 recurrent hallucinations I have. Both were with me from the start. James is a twenty-year-old male that has never spoken to me with his mouth but rather speaks through various random voices in my head. Trinity is a 5-year old girl. She is the sweetest and loves to play hide and seek. James protects Trinity even though I’m pretty sure there is no familial connection between the two.) I know that if I see Trinity also there there will be trouble so I make a
quick escape.

9am: The voices have started. They are muffled and low (for now). I know that isolation is a trigger so I leave my room to be around my brother and sisters. The voices intensify and I can begin to understand what they are saying as they get louder and clearer. I make the conscious effort to ignore them as I dread what is coming. Pretty soon I can no longer hear the tv or my siblings as the voices drown them out. My dad walks into the room and asks me a question. I try to understand him but I just can’t. I excuse myself and head outside. Just as I walk out the door I hear a shriek “Don’t do it he’ll kill you”, followed by another voice “Don’t get in your car, he’ll throw a match in your gas tank”. I begin to panic. About an hour later the voices begin to subside.

1pm: I’m driving to work. I prepare to slow for a red light. I hear someone whisper in my ear “slam on the gas” (the intersection ahead is one of the busiest 4-ways on this side of the city). I ignore it and stop.

4pm: I’ve been working for a few hours and joking and laughing with my co-workers. I suddenly hear a voice command “Shove that watermelon knife through your right hand”. I ignore it. Then it gets louder “Stab yourself in the stomach!”. “SLIT YOUR THROAT. YOU DON’T DESERVE TO LIVE. YOU SHOULD DIE RIGHT NOW!” I can feel my heartbeat in my ears as I start to panic. I ask my supervisor if I can take a break, and I run out. I run to my car and jump in the back attempting to hide from the voices. But they know where I am. There are probably about 8 or 9 voices talking at once. “YOU’RE WORTHLESS. JUST KILL YOURSELF. YOU HAVE YOUR KNIFE. CUT YOUR WRISTS AGAIN.” I’m shaking and rocking trying to wait it out.

8pm: Finally, off work and home again I try to hide my depression and entertain my siblings. But I know the silence in my head won’t last long. I’m right. Soon I hear a soft whisper “Turn on and leave on the gas stove then light a match.” I refuse. About ten minutes later I hear “fill the bath and drown your sister” and “kill them, they need to die”.

11pm: The voices still haven’t left and there is a strange man watching me from the hallway. The trauma of the day proves too much and I lose it. I scream into my pillow, tears streaming down my face. I cry so hard I gag on every breath in. The voices move in, “just do it and we’ll go away”, “swallow that whole bottle of pills”.

My voices are extremely violent and persuasive. I can hear them inside and outside my head almost all day every day when I can’t find an effective medication to help calm them down. I created this post to help those of you with loved ones who have violent hallucinations and paranoia. We never want to share how violent our voices are because we fear judgment, hospitalization, or the cops being called on us. And our number one fear is that you will think that we want to do what the voices say or that we like it. In reality, we would trade our lives to get rid of these nasty hallucinations.


#2

I don’t know what to say except thank you for writing this and I will remember.

I wish you didn’t have to go through so much difficulty and am glad that medications help somewhat.


#3

I am so very very sorry about what you go through on a daily basis. And so thankful that you wrote this to me and others who are trying to help our loved ones. My husband is going through a psychotic event now that will last till he decides to go back on meds and reading your story has helped me regather whatever strength I need to make sure that the one thing he doesn’t have to deal with is my not being there for him. You are an amazing person-your strength and courage are an inspiration to me and I’m sure to others. Thanks for putting down in plain words what I needed to hear.


#4

Thank you so much for sharing this with us all. You make me feel better in knowing that I am always here for my daughter. I love her very much. I am often looked down upon by professionals because I won’t put her out of my home. (she is also a drug addict) They don’t seem to understand how fragile she is and what her life is like. I’m so sorry that life has given you this burden, but you are brave to come forward. You will help so many with your honesty.


#5

My son has experienced this as well. Unfortunately, he acted on these terrible thoughts. If not for my wife, I would be dead from his violent attack upon me. I suffered a broken nose,eye socket,jaw bone, two black eyes and bruised ribs. He attacked from behind and knocked me out and continued to beat me; my wife ran down the stairs and jumped on him. He also hit her and then stopped. We had him committed for 6 weeks and took him back in. The police and hospital personnel warned us that the next time it may be worse. We took our chances and he did pretty well on medication mentally but not physically. He decided to quit taking his medicine. We warned him that if there was any indication of violence, that he would have to leave. . His condition worsened and then one day he said that someone was trying to kill him and that I knew about it. That was it. We told him to go back to the doctor or leave. He decided to leave. We are retired seniors and could no longer take the chance for further violence. He is homeless living in another state. He does have disability income but not enough to live on. I offered to buy him a home out of state (our area is far too expensive) in the $50,000 range and with his income he would be able to make it but he wanted the money instead, which I refused. Our only contact is when he calls for money to stay in a hotel which we refuse. If we stay on the phone for any length of time , the conversation will break down to him accusing us of talking to someone about him. This is just a brief summary of our familys’ terrible journey with this illness. He was actually hospitalized 4 times. The first was flying back east and breaking into a famous familys estate thinking that they could save him. There were other threats of violence towards others that thankfully were not acted upon probably due to the fact that they weren’t in the room with him at the time. We pray for him but we know that we can not be around him due to his violent nature. We are very sad and at a loss of what to do. He is our only child and we cherished him growing up. Its hard to believe how this illness can be so devastating. I empathize with all of you.


#6

@soconfused I agree with your decision to have your son leave. While he may not really have a choice in hearing the voices (unless his meds works well enough to calm them down), the decision to actually obey the voices is entirely up to him. It sounds like you are loving parents who would do anything for him and I know that the functioning half of his brain realizes it too. I don’t believe that jail or the street are places appropriate for a sick man to live, however you are giving him the freedom and natural rights to make his own decisions wherever they may lead. This is something I respect deeply as I do believe that we are still people, very confused people, but people.


#7

Thank you for posting this, one thing I wanted to mention is not everyone has side effects. My daughter is on one pill a day (ziprasidone) for her Catatonic Schizophrenia and has not had a side effect. She has been on this medicine for 8 months and is able to work full time and drive, grocery shop, make friends, ect. She is losing about 5 pounds a month that she gained while on Haldol. Haldol only worked maybe 50% and she could not control her eyes but she is very ok on her current medicine. We would say she has recovered atleast 90% if not 95% or more. Good luck to all of you.


#8

Thank you so much for sharing your story. My son is 14 and was diagnosed a few months ago. I know that he has paranoia and has had violent command voices telling him to hurt himself and others. He doesn’t want to let me know how bad they are. He has always been a very sweet and sensitive kid. I know that he would never want to hurt anybody. I am so sorry for the pain he is going through. I tell him we will be there for him, no matter what. It is so hard to see him be tortured by this. His risperidone usually keeps the voices less prominent, but they are always there. Thanks again for sharing, because he is so afraid of being labeled “crazy”, that he suffers in silence most of the time.