Psych Central


I’m sorry if this sounds repetitive of past posts but I’ve been looking everywhere to ask/talk about this. I’m also sorry if this is too long, I’m going to try to keep it as short as possible, yet informative.

I can’t even tell you how long this has been going on because I only realized last year that a lot of things aren’t normal. For the past year I have had hallucinations (vision and auditory). They used to happen once a month, to once a week, to now everyday. They aren’t always clear, most of the time it’s a shadowy looking thing, like a silhouette. I’ve had auditory hallucinations for a while and I didn’t realize that the voice controlling me wasn’t normal till recently.

I used to be happy, smiling almost all the time. I would be terribly upset if I wasn’t able to go out with my friends, or they weren’t able to. I used to laugh over nothing with friends and we always had fun. I just graduated from high school, and I haven’t seen or spoken to anyone except family and people at work. I hate being with people, and feel nervous around them. I remember since about 3 years or so ago, I developed this weird thing, that I would turn bright red in the face and tremble if anyone spoke to me or even looked at me. I wouldn’t be embarrassed or anything, just really uncomfortable. Even around family. Whenever I would encounter any social situation I would do anything to avoid it. I made excuses not to hang out with friends. I spend most of my time locked in my room now.

Throughout high school, the number of friends or even people I’d talk to decreased each year. Senior year I only spoke, and barely, to my two best friends, who I haven’t spoken to since graduation.
I have weird feelings that time stands still, but just for me. Everyone’s time is normal, but I’m in slow motion or something. I also feel like my thoughts and body and not connected. I feel unreal and empty. I keep a rubber band on my wrist and stretch it so it hits me to reassure that I am human and real. Also, I often stare straight ahead of me, as if in a day dream. I don’t move, don’t think, just stare. I feel like I leave my body or something, then it kind of clicks. I feel like I’m just sitting within my empty body looking through my eyes. I blink my eyes, and I’m back.

I feel empty and apathetic. The only things I feel are unbearable anxiety, frustration, hostility and fear/paranoia.

I lack empathy. I cannot connect with people, I don’t feel their pain, nor do I care. My sister has a disorder and needs a attention/help at school, and I don’t care. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a horrible person, I try to feel sympathy and concern for people, but I need to force it out of me, and it’s fake.
For the last few months I’ve had a night here and there that I couldn’t fall asleep, or stay asleep. But, for the past month, that’s gotten worse. I sleep 3 hours some nights, or I wake up every hour. I wake up some nights and think I hear people breaking into my house or walking up and down the stairs, but everyone is asleep. I’ve also heard that voice in my head scream just to get me scared/angry. The nights that I do sleep, I have nightmares or really strange dreams.

I attended an art high school, and will be an art student in college this fall, but all my motivation has vanished. I don’t want to draw or paint or photograph anything, but last year you weren’t able to stop or control me. It’s not just that, I don’t want to get out of bed some days. I go days without showering, or even brushing my hair. I go out in pajamas. I spend my days in front of the tv, not really watching just staring at it. My mom thinks I’m lazy, but I just don’t have the will to do anything. (and it’s not like how depressed people don’t want to do things or get out of bed, i can’t really explain it. )

My thoughts always go astray and are jumbled up. My speech has been weird lately too. I mix up my words. (Ex: I up mix my words) or I speak really fast. But that’s when I talk.

I make up scenarios in my mind that as of recently, I can’t tell which are my thoughts and which are real. I’ll have a conversation in my mind with someone and than continue it in person.
When I leave the house I feel like everyone is watching me.

I used to believe I was psychic because my dreams would come true, and I could feel the presence of people. I also used to think that there are cameras built in my house and someone is always watching, which I still think, but kind of doubt. But I do feel like someone is watching me.

I go from months of not wanting to speak, or even look at people. Then I feel hyper and invincible. Then I feel normal. Most of the year consists of being unusually antisocial, unreal and apathetic.
My problem is that I want help, but I don’t want to get help. I want answers without talking to someone about it. It doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know. I have trouble putting my thoughts and feelings into words. I have for a while now, and I feel that a doctor may misunderstand me. and put me in a hospital. I also don’t want to be in a room alone with a stranger for an hour talking about myself and what’s wrong. I’ve never told anyone, and I don’t know where or how to start. I want to get help before all this gets worse and consumes me leading me to believe that I am fine and don’t need help. There are some days that I think to myself “why am I worried? I’m fine, there’s nothing wrong at all”. The thing is that I don’t have the courage, nor the motivation, to get up, look for a psychologist, make an appointment and go. I always told myself “When I get a car, when I get a license I will take myself to one”. Well, I have both the car and license now, but there’s still something pulling me back.

I don’t know what to do. I need advice. I tried telling my mom. I mentioned that I don’t really laugh anymore or feel anything and that I want to see a psychologist, for a few days she was sympathetic but got over it.

What can I do? I’m 18, but I’m still under my parent’s insurance.

A. I know you don’t have the energy or the motivation to see a mental health professional but you should try. Part of your concern is having difficulty communicating your thoughts and feelings in words. That’s understandable. Could you use the letter you wrote as a blueprint for what to say when you meet with a therapist? The letter is very descriptive and clear. You outline all the areas in which you are having difficulty. If you gave this letter to a mental health professional it would provide valuable details and insight about your symptoms.

The symptoms you’ve described are concerning but if you are willing to seek treatment they can be corrected. They are treatable. Some may be treated with medication. Talk therapy may also prove to be helpful. Don’t ignore this problem. You want to be proactive with treatment. Treat the symptoms now before they become worse and interrupt the next phase of your life, which is to attend college.

When you spoke to your mother you didn’t give her the full story. There’s a major discrepancy between what you told her and your actual experiences. She doesn’t know the extent of your symptoms. If she did then she may be much more willing to help you access treatment.
What should you do? The next step is to either be more descriptive with your mother about your symptoms or bring her this letter. Tell her the truth. Don’t keep it a secret any longer. You are legitimately suffering and you need help. Tell her you’re frightened to seek help and that you need her support and assistance. If you could count on her support then you might feel more comfortable about seeing a mental health professional.

Lastly, getting help is nothing to be frightened of. Like you, many people are fearful about the prospect of seeing a mental health professional, for many of the same reasons you’ve cited. Unfortunately many people needlessly suffer and choose not to access help because of their fears associated with therapy. Those fears are understandable but in most cases they’re not based on reality. Those who have moved beyond their fears are often grateful for having sought help. For many it has saved their lives.

I hope you can move beyond your fear, receive support from your mother and find the help that you deserve. Please take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Aug 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Worried About Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/08/15/worried-about-schizophreniaschizoaffective-disorder/