You have raised some good questions. With regard to your fear and paranoia about your family being in danger after your father was murdered, I see this as “legitimate” fear. At the height of your fear, the killer had not been caught. Your home was being featured on the nightly news and thus everyone watching knew where you lived, which may have included the perpetrator of your father’s murder. Your fear was perfectly justified in that situation.
In recent months, you have become worried that you have schizophrenia or another mental health disorder. Your primary reason for believing that you may be developing a mental health disorder includes hearing noises before falling asleep. That is not an uncommon occurrence. Many people have similar experiences when they are on the verge of sleep. I would not consider that a symptom of schizophrenia or any other mental health disorder (in the absence of other symptoms).
It’s impossible to provide a diagnosis over the Internet. Given the information you have provided, schizophrenia seems like an unlikely possibility. I would recommend having a mental health evaluation. The advantage is that the evaluator can collect all of the necessary information about your psychosocial history and determine if a diagnosis is warranted. It would also be advantageous to speak to a primary care physician about your sleep concerns. He or she may suggest having a sleep study to rule out a possible sleep disorder.
You’ve experienced a great deal of trauma in your life, perhaps more than the average person. It’s encouraging that you are undergoing counseling. You’re doing what you should be doing but it’s important to be completely open and honest with your therapist. The more information you provide to your therapist, the more he or she can help you. I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle