Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Why Family photos give me the heebies


This might be in the wrong category… if it needs to be in Unusual Beliefs… ???

Continuing the discussion from What Can I do? Who can I turn to? Needing help:

@trying77 - You might want to just ask your brother why he does what he does. Then you will know if you just ignore it, or need to address an issue… or know if he’s upset with you… or himself.

I didn’t want to take over your thread in the family section but the thing about the eyes on the photos… I’m sorry to say I did that… and I’ve destroyed so many family photos…

Not as a threat or a anything mean… it was self-protection.

I’ve been battling with this low level belief for a long time and for the most part I can ignore it and work through it, but it still comes back to me.

I have been trying to convince myself that the photos aren’t watching me. When I was in hospital I didn’t want ANY family photos in my room because I didn’t want my family to see me when I was at my worst.

I just have this belief that there is a little piece of ourselves that gets trapped in a photograph and when it’s printed out and hung up… it connects that persons energy to the room I’m in. Even if I know the flat piece of photo paper is NOT watching me… I can’t help but feel that my family in the photo can sense something through the photo.

The photo paper is sensitive to light… and light is a particle and wave and it is sensitive… so I used to black out the eyes of my family photos so they couldn’t watch me when I was drinking or doing stuff that would disappoint them.

Scientifically I know this is not how photos work. You can tell me all the process of older photography and all about the silver halides and the developer and stop bath and all else that creates a photo… You can tell me all about pixels and imaging transfers… it’s all just data… great… I get it.

But when family pictures are hung up… I just FEEL like they are watching me. It really upsets me after a while. NO amount of logic will let me shake that feeling.

I love my family, I do have some photos locked away in a file that I can take out… look at and put away. But just have them sitting out? I start feeling the skin on the back of my neck crawl.
It’s heebie city.

That’s why I used to cover up and black out the eyes on family photos… It was my own form of shame.


Thank you for that insight @SurprisedJ.


Thank you for that…

It also feels a little odd writing all that out…

I usually don’t go off on some of the other things I’m fighting through… the stuff like this.

I can still get to work, I can still take care of myself, I can still make my lunch and enjoy the new shower, so day to day functioning isn’t affected by this one…

Yet… this one does come back to me often. I wish I could shake this feeling of stuff watching me all the time.

Little by little I guess… if at all.


Thanks for sharing that SurprisedJ. I think the more people know what it is like to struggle with things like that, and that people fight against them to do what they need to do the more compassion for that can be generated. My daughter doesn’t like to discuss such things usually. I think it’s because she knows it’s not real and it makes her seem and feel different. I’ve tried to react in a non-judgment way but sometimes things she’s said really surprised me, and that might have come across even though I tried not to let it. To be perfectly honest-I think she copes with the delusions and voices really, really well. I really am not super concerned anymore with the fact she has that-I mean, I think it would be nicer for her if she didn’t have that-but the idea of it doesn’t upset me. Many people think in a divergent way and sometimes in some contexts it’s perfectly acceptable. I think it might be helpful to her though to talk about it. But I guess that is what therapy is for, if she can feel more comfortable saying things there than to me that’s okay too.


Thank you for sharing that James, I have similar problems, a lot of the photos of my family and me hanging around are old ones-before I was unwell, before all the weight gain and pain I caused. I used to hide photos or when particularly upset; I’d tear them up, I used to think (and I remember seeing someone else go through this on here) that like you if I said or did something that person would see/hear it in their minds eye. My nurse tested this with his drivers license and It didn’t work, I got very upset.

You’re not alone, I think photos can appear very menacing for someone who is very fearful of the world, well done on sharing this I can tell it must have been a big step from your second reply.

don’t be offended by what your brother is doing. As James says; ask him why he does it, there will probably be a reason completely different to what you’re expecting or possibly what you expect or fear.

I hope this helps, take care,


I have to admit, I do get embarrassed by some of my fuzzy logic. There are so many little and just dumb things that make me feel knocked down.

I KNOW photo’s don’t watch people, but I still get that feeling of being watched and my brain gets very sneaky thinking

I KNOW ant’s can’t predict diabetes, but I still get upset when I see them in the washroom… and it makes me think my health is failing.

I KNOW a lot of stuff in my sneaky brained thinking is very haywire. But I just can’t help it.

I hate talking about it because I want to be well. I want to be healthy. When I get sort of unhinged about stuff that I know is cross wiring and I get unattached from myself and I just can’t pull myself back together, I don’t like it… it’s too opposite of being well.

I don’t really talk to my family about this either. I do love and trust them… but I’m afraid in a way.

I want them to think I’m getting better and I want them not to worry about me and be able to relax. I can’t bring myself to laying some of this on them. I can scare my therapist and not lay this on my already concerned family.

@Dante13 Thank you for that understanding. It feels odd talking about that sort of stuff because I do try very hard to keep my mind under control. There are some glitches that even though they aren’t a big deal… I’m still a bit embarrassed by. Stuff when I was at my very worst I can let go of…

But stuff that happens now… that I’m working so hard… and I am med compliant… It just makes me feel like the way warm flat Dr. Pepper taste. Just wrong…


i got rid of all photos of childhood and teenage hood and early twenties…too painful.
i only keep happy photos.
take care


Thanks J.
Now Im thinking thats why my son has always been so secretive about his illness. He knows I worry all the time.
This is what this site is for, and that`s why I love it.
You have helped several people by posting. The ripples went out, and they are good.**


My family photos bother me because they all have their hands on me - all the way back.


I am sure your family is very proud of you, and wouldn’t trade you for the world.

I suspect my daughter feels the same way as you. And I’m sure there are many others too. You are far from alone. I think many people, sz or not, struggle with patterns of behaviors and thoughts they wish they didn’t have or that were easier to control.

Thanks for being so helpful to families who love their family members too.


You’re welcome; do you mean you feel wrong the way you are now or that thinking of the things you did/felt makes you feel wrong.

I can understand both, my nurse challenged me the other day he said “are thoughts real? Do they have any power?” To which I replied yes. He then went on saying “this chair will collapse under me in ten seconds” “I can move that book with the power of my mind” “I can push that wall down” none of which happened, I laughed out of nervousness, not because I thought it was funny, it brought it home; even last year I was like that. He’s seen me like that, I felt silly, and ill (physically). It’s hard to remember, when you’ve come so far! I know i don’t want to accept that the person in hospital was me, it’s like a world away, When it comes to your head, I’m going to quote you now, use mindfulness, accept that the thoughts are there and let them flow away.

My mum is always telling me that despite those occurrences I’ve come out of it a better person, I’m sure that your family feel the same.

Take care James, you’re a kind, thoughtful soul, you have such a positive impact on those who know you (from what you have said about your relationships and through what I’ve observed here), stay positive if you can,


I used to put away my family pictures if they were in my room. I don’t remember what I was feeling, but it just wasn’t pleasant to look at them and me in happier times.

I am not as ashamed of my past thoughts. I can tell my brother, but maybe I haven’t considered the fact that it might be added stress on him. I have the kind of personality that can handle a little off-the-wall stuff. I have a somewhat dark sense of humor and when I am telling family about my illness it is usually with a message about how I’m staying well. I feel like I understand what sets me off and what can cause more harm if my medication stops working. It brings me closer to others if they understand what I’m going through.

Recently I discussed some of this stuff with my brother, because our uncle died and had sz. Some of the stuff that is kind of silly like picture turning, or buying lots of cheap shampoo helps others to understand our illness without revealing the darker aspects of it.

Don’t sweat the small stuff and maybe revealing this stuff and making jokes about it with your loved ones can help snap you out of it. I recommend this, because my brain is sort of hard wired for mirth.