Family Thinks I Am Schizophrenic

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have lived with depression/social anxiety and selective-mutism for the past 4-5 years. I recently had my sister express her concern for my mental health. She begged me to seek help.

I engage in cutting, overdosing, starvation. I have cut since the age of 14 and have never stopped, going so far as to cut my vein and be sent to hospital. I want death. In fact I dwell on suicidal thoughts 70% of the time and have tried many times to end my life.

I have people that I talk to, that only exist in my mind. To me they are very real. They are my friends. I have 6; Ana, Camilla, Everette, Dustin, Peachy and Court. Each emerged at times of great sadness, anger or happiness over a 5 year period. I can’t make them leave me alone. I don’t control them. They help me when I am sad. Camilla isn’t very nice though and would properly try to hurt me if I let her.

I miss parts of my day and never can remember what I did. I am forgetful and will forget a conversation minutes after having one.

I feel that I have another person with me. And that sometimes that person will take charge of my emotions. When this happens I am not myself. I feel trapped in a body that is not my own. I want to leave it, so I harm it. I take pictures of my wounds, and keep them for months after.

I am a recluse and rarely leave the house 1 day out of two months. I don’t have any desire to. I also live in my head all day. I don’t talk to my family. I imagine people around me and I talk to them in my head and work out my emotions that way.

My family is taking me to see the doctor Monday. I don’t feel I am sick, but I understand enough to know that they are scared, and I will do what it takes to make them feel happy. Please tell me if going to see professionals would be wise?

A. To answer your question directly: Yes, it would be wise to see a professional. You are experiencing serious symptoms and have been for many years. Professional help can assist you in decreasing your symptoms and improving your life.

Your family is worried that you have schizophrenia, but that may not be the case. Though I cannot provide a diagnosis over the Internet, your symptoms seem more characteristic of dissociative identity disorder (DID) than schizophrenia. The specific symptoms that I am referring to include: memory loss, your description of feeling trapped in a body that is foreign to you, your awareness of other personalities that are dissimilar to your own, and the fact that some of your behavior seems to be outside of your control.

Other concerns about your situation include your tendency to be isolative, your history of suicide attempts and the fact that you spend 70 percent of your time contemplating suicide. All the aforementioned concerns significantly increase your risk for suicide. Under no circumstances is suicide the correct choice. In addition your family, who obviously loves and cares about you, would be devastated if something were to happen to you. For those reasons, it is imperative that you do what your family is suggesting and meet a mental health professional.

For many people, the thought of getting help is frightening. That comes from not knowing what to expect. Fear is understandable; however, please know that you have nothing to be frightened of. Mental health professionals are trained to assist their clients in solving their problems. They sincerely want to help you. Their ultimate goal is to improve the quality of your life.

Listen to your family. They are doing the right thing. You are blessed to have such a caring and loving family. I hope that you will attend the appointment and get the help that you deserve. I wish you well. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Jan 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Family Thinks I Am Schizophrenic. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/26/family-thinks-i-am-schizophrenic/

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