Hi, 21 year old here. I’ve always been an odd child. I spoke to inanimate objects and they spoke back to me, both internally and externally. I have demons which follow me. Sometimes they put their own thoughts and visuals in my head and I’ll see them or say them out loud. I also have contact with, well, what I call “aliens”, but they’re not really aliens, that’s just a word I use to describe them to other people. They’re more like divine interventions, sometimes their thoughts are in my head too. I believe they’re the ones who put me here on earth. The demons sometimes speak to me in my head or externally, but mostly I feel them or see them following me, they’re faceless. They’ll mock me if they do speak, or intimidate me through their presence. The divine interventionalists, they tell me positive things, that I’m more evolved than others. These “voices” aren’t constant.

I can generally attend class and the two days a week I work. I mistrust everyone, and sometimes that prevents me from going to class, like certain people conspire to get all the students against me so I can’t walk through the door. That happened a semester or so ago, twice. I thought people installed cameras at work just to watch me and that they talked about me at the team meetings I couldn’t attend.

I never went after diagnosis because it’s never rendered me entirely incapacitated. I’ve also been aware that when I hallucinate things, spiders, demons, whatever, that they aren’t actually there. Or, at least, after I calm down I can rationalize that they probably weren’t there. Sometimes I have more trouble with the things I hear or the thoughts.

In terms of the things I hear, I don’t know, it’s not frequent enough to get me hospitalized (I’ve been so before, but for a different reason), and I recognize that all of the things I mentioned may indeed not be real.

I guess my issue here is, this feels like this is just how my brain operates. I don’t know if it will ever surpass into uncontrollable psychosis. Does it sound like something that could? Or is my mediocre type of checks and balances within myself enough to keep me grounded, in your opinion?

A. Something seems to be wrong. You may be describing symptoms of a mental illness.

Your symptoms have compromised your life and thus far you’ve simply been living with them. You’ve probably grown accustomed to them. You likely don’t recognize how incapacitating they really are. People are surprisingly good at adapting to even the worst set of circumstances.

To answer your specific questions, yes, it is possible that your symptoms could develop into full-blown psychosis. As you have described, there are times when they severely limit what you can do. You need a “safety net” to prevent the progression of a possible mental illness. That’s where treatment could help.

Regarding your second question, there may come a time when your “mediocre… checks and balances” will not be enough. Therapy and/or medication could prevent a negative outcome. Your symptoms may never worsen, but you don’t want to take that chance. Being proactive is the best approach to preventing mental illness.

I would strongly encourage you to consult a mental health professional. They can determine what’s wrong and develop a plan for treatment. You mentioned the possibility of being hospitalized. Typically, people are only hospitalized when they threaten to kill someone or to commit suicide. If that’s not the case for you, then hospitalization would be unlikely. Treatment could help you immensely. You should take advantage of what treatment could do to improve your life. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle