This year’s theme is living with schizophrenia, but you’re welcomed to blog on any topic in mental health you’d like.
This year, we’re inviting you to join us and the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program for the 4th annual blog party next Friday, October 10.
WordPress deleted my post yesterday which I am still irked about it was a pretty good post. I’ll try to duplicate it the best I can. A day late but whatever. Yesterday was World Mental Health Day and the theme was schizophrenia. I do not have schizophrenia but I do have one of the schizophrenic spectrum disorders called schizoaffective disorder, which has symptoms of schizophrenia and of a mood disorder, there’s still argument if mine is depressive or bipolar type. Some common symptoms of the schizophrenic spectrum disorders are delusions, psychosis, paranoia, cognitive/behavioral dysfunction, flat affect, problems connecting socially, etc… I’m mainly going to focus on psychosis since that’s the main symptom I have and by that I mean hallucinations. Most my hallucinations are auditory (voices and such), but I have had visual, olfactory (smelling things that aren’t there) and tactile (feeling things that aren’t there.) Now to answer some of the most common questions I get…
What is it like to be psychotic and how do you deal with it? I have had few true breaks from reality so usually on different levels I know what I am experiencing is not real. That doesn’t make it less annoying or scary but it helps me cope. I’ve heard voices for at least 10 years, my memory sucks and it’s probably more but for sure 10 years. So I am somewhat use to it and have learned different ways to cope. One way is telling myself it’s not real and trying to ignore the voices. Another when it is too much is to blast music in earphones to try and drown out the voices. I have sets of voices and I generally know what to do with each set and when it’s getting to severe to cope on my own. I take medication daily, including antipsychotics, and sometimes it needs to be adjusted when the voices get real bad. I know not to converse with them in public and certain sets I try not to interact with at all, because it never ends well. Sometimes I need to go to the hospital.
What do the voices say? There are three sets of internal voices and then the externals. Internal voices are voices I hear that come from inside my head, external ones sound like they are coming from outside myself like people talking around me or to me. First the internals there are the side voices, the back 1’s and the back 2’s; they get their names from where they live in my head and where I hear them from. They don’t have official real names like “George” or whatever because then it gives them more power to be real in my opinion, but I use these names as identifiers as to which voices I’m talking about. The side voices are command hallucinations so they command me to do things usually hurt other people or myself or trying to convince me to kill other people or myself, they also say demeaning things about me. There are two of them and they come in episodes. Out of the voices that lead to hospitalizations these are the most frequent. But they also never have anything good to say so I know to ignore them the best I can. The back 1’s are the chitter chatter voices, they were always there up until February when I found a med that knocked out the side and back 1s so far. The back 1s would be talking 24/7 sometimes about me or what was going around me, they narrated at times, sometimes giving advice or feedback, making jokes, really varied but mostly just annoying because they never shut up and sometimes I would need to concentrate like on tests for school. There are always at least 2 voices with the back 1’s sometimes more. The last set of internal voices are the back 2s and they are voices that come and go. They may be dissociated parts of me and they yell a lot over each other about who gets to get heard. The external voices are (so far) all people who have existed in real life and the content varies but it usually surrounds death; telling me to kill myself, telling me to come join them (people who are dead), telling me to kill other people. I’ve had two episodes that were not surrounding death and they were rather weird because they tied in with a visual hallucination and I was having a hard time telling what was real, one lead to a psychotic break and hospitalization.
How do you know they’re voices? Some people ask how I know they are voices and not just thoughts or negative self talk. With the externals that is easy to explain, they come from outside me and sometimes with visual elements. With the internal voices it is because other than the back 2’s they are pretty constant and sometimes go on while I am doing that internal thinking or talking to myself. They have the same profiles, just like a normal person would the voice sounds the same, the personality is the same, the gender is the same. Some of them have triggers and it’s easy to put together a voice re-emerging because of a situation. And they aren’t me, I just know.
Do you have any other questions?