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Fear of Becoming Schizophrenic

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I am 16 years old, living in Berlin. I used to lead a happy, harmonic, productive and lovely life! Untill June 5th. That was the first (and last) day I tried so smoke weed.

It was at a party. Result of that: a massive panic attack. Not cool. The morning after I had this horrible feeling in my stomache. I was felling super sick and had to stay home for about 3-2 weeks. When I finally came back to school, I was feeling good again, for a day. Because the day after I came back to school (26th of June) I had another massive panic attack. That attack lasted for 2-3 hours, it was just awful.

From that point on, everything started. I had extreme feelings of derealisation. The enviroment seemed so unreal. At that point, I didn’t know what was going on with me. I tried do self diagnose myself. And what was the result? Schizophrenia. I was terrified. I felt like I would loose it any second. Delusions, hallucinations, extremely disturbing behaviour. I thought: “well that’s it, it ends for you here, you will be completely insane”.

My mom (luckily) send me to a psychiatrist. After 2-3 weeks of therapy they concluded: Anxiety disorder and hypochondria. I felt relieved. However I still didn’t fully believe that. I googled lots… and I mean LOTS about schizophrenia. Which was a mistake, I guess.

I feel like im becoming paranoid. Everytime I go outside, I try to think how a paranoid person would feel like. And I truly feel it. I feel like people are planning something against me or are laughing about me. And I am just so polarized and terrified by that. This just confirms my worst fear. I feel like im on the tip of the iceberg of falling into complete insanity.

I always ask my friends if they feel something weird about me, they say: “no, apart from anxiety you look emotionally ok and not schizophrenic”. I feel like I can’t trust anybody. Is this schizophrenia or am I just reading way too much into these thoughts? Is this legit or did these thoughts come from reading like everyday about them? I just don’t want to have this disorder, it is my worst fear. I want to live like I used to. I feel so dead inside.

Fear of Becoming Schizophrenic

Answered by on -

A.

What a terrible ordeal. I’m so sorry you are so very distressed. People don’t all respond in the same way to smoking weed — and not all weed is the same. Sometimes something else has been added to it.

I hope you saw a medical doctor during the time you were so sick to see what was wrong physically. I also hope you learned that you are not someone who can use.

You were already evaluated by a psychiatrist; someone with years of training as a medical doctor with a specialty in mental health as well as probably years of experience. The psychiatrist is in a much better position to assess you than you are. Since the psychiatrist has talked to you in person, his or her opinion is far more valid than any of the generalities you read on the Internet or any conclusions you reach on your own.

From what you wrote in your letter, I’m guessing that you are exceptionally suggestible — meaning that you take in information and apply it to yourself it much more quickly than the average person. You don’t seem sufficiently able to weigh the information or the source it comes from with objectivity.

One of the hallmarks of panic disorder is the fear of fear. Panic attacks feel terrible. It’s not unusual for someone who has had one or more to then start to fear getting another one — which only helps bring it on. You need help to break out of this cycle of fear.

Please go back to the psychiatrist. If he or she does not do talk therapy, ask for a referral to a mental health counselor who does. You need help to stop these distressing thoughts and get on with normal 16 year old life.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Fear of Becoming Schizophrenic

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Fear of Becoming Schizophrenic. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/11/02/fear-of-becoming-schizophrenic/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.