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
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.