What is it like to be schizophrenic?

I am schizophrenic and the link above is very true to what I hear and how I hear the voices in my head.  It started when I was 27, the voices then were appeased by drinking.  I was violent.  I was intolerant.  I was narcissistic to the point that I shoved away a lot of the people that loved me through a break up.  Those friends are gone.  It was like my brain kept me down, made me bitter, nasty, and rude.  I fought with the echoes of the voices in my head until I had a psychotic break June 26, 2006.  When that happened the voices took over and I spent some quality time in hospitals to this very day I still hear them.  There are places people can go to get away from it all, enjoying silence and a chance to clear one’s mind.  I don’t have silence anymore.  When I sit alone to pray, when I try to go to sleep, when I am trying to concentrate on doing things like posts here, when I wake up, when I have a nightmare, when I am doing nothing but trying to still my mind, and when I am looking up at the stars for all the answers in the sky, the voices are there clamoring for my attention, tearing me apart, telling me I am worthless and that nothing I do is ever worth anything.  Every single day since June of 2006, the voices disrupted my life.  I couldn’t keep a job.  It takes me hours to write a post for my blog.  It has become discord inside my mind and my medicine for it only controls the volume of the voices.

Everyday I hallucinate.  I hallucinate mice and roaches.  I have learned to observe those around me that would react to either a mouse or a bug to confirm the hallucination.  If they aren’t reacting to it, its not there.  Sometimes I can feel the bugs running across my skin or I have a really bad case of the heebee geebees all the time.  This method has worked to notify me that the bug crawling on my friend isn’t real or she would be seriously freaking out.   My hallucinations never go away no matter what medicine I take.  They are always there.  I have been trying to get used to them, but my ick factor for bugs gets me every time.  Almost all the time I am standing in chaos.  The voices.  The hallucinations.  Poor reactions.  Rude treatment.  Anger just below the surface from having little to no sleep because of the babble going on in my head.  Every day it goes on and on and on.  Sometimes I touch the bug and my finger goes through it.  If it’s an actual bug, my ick factor gives me the heebee geebees.

Then there’s the paranoia.  The nagging anxious feelings of dread.  The inspection of food I get at a restaurant for spit because I just know  someone hates me enough to spit in my food.  My friends, who unconditionally love me and I know that for a fact, I believe are laughing at my illness behind my back.  I know that’s not true, but the paranoia controls things.  After I hit an ATM I just know someone is going to leap up from behind me and take the money even after it’s in my pocket.  I just know the whole world knows I have money for the taking.  The paranoia that wakes me up at night because I just know someone is breaking into the house.  I have a stomach full of knots and vibrating like something is wrong or going to be wrong so much so I have had panic attacks over it.  I have delusions too, that are absurd, that tie in with my paranoia.  I just know that I have nothing to contribute to the world.  I have delusions that I am a great person and everyone should love me.  Sometimes the hallucinations and the delusions work together to remind me that someone is going to rape me or kill me if I enter the shower and no one else is home.  I don’t experience this briefly.  I experience this every single day from my dreams to my awake hours without a break, without fleeting moments of silence, without one second of peace.  It’s hell.  It really is hell.

Then there are the people who believe there is no such thing as mental illness or that someone who has a mental illness is someone who one can laugh at.  Then there are the people who say that I can just “shut it off”.  I have heard people call me weak.  I have heard people misunderstand this illness and use it to describe things like “schizophrenic budget plans” when they have no clue how debilitating this illness really is.  Schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder.  Schizophrenia is not a budget plan.  Schizophrenia is an evil disease that has eaten away my life and my mind.  I live in a constant static state where everything in reality is tilted to the left.  My reality is different than real reality, I have to employ coping mechanisms and attempt to distract myself from the voices with music or talking.  It doesn’t get any better for me.  I can’t just turn it off.  It doesn’t have a cure and there is no way that one day, my chronic case of schizophrenia will return me to a world of silence.  There is no silence anymore, nor will there be, for the rest of my life.  It has destroyed any comfortable state of normalcy.  I suffer with this every day, all day, all night and even during my dreams.  It has effected my whole life.

I have recently, over the past two years, began to accept this as my normal.  I have gotten to the point where I have accepted that some people are never going to understand this disease and will inevitably shuffle me off to their box of “crazy people” without ever really knowing me.  That is their problem, not mine.  I have enough to deal with.  All I want is a happy life with someone who loves me and someone that understands me as I twang off the hallucinated bug on her shoulder.  Her name is Kristi and she understands me.  Then I realize a lot of other people that are my friends understands me.  The one’s who don’t don’t really matter anymore.  Through it all I have managed to apologize when I’ve been wrong, curb all anger issues, and attempt to make my little mark upon this world a good one instead of a bad one.  That schizophrenia didn’t win this time.  But the struggle goes on and on and on.  I will never be able to work again.  I will never be able to have quiet meditations.  I will never be off medication.  I have this disease without a cure.  I am not alone.  I have Kristi and some of the best friends I could have ever wanted.  I am blessed and cursed at the same time, but one day someone might have a new treatment that will help what I have.