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Why Did I Hallucinate So Bad as a Child?

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From the U.S.: I was about 5 when I began hallucinating. It always started audibly. It would be many voices, all at once. I couldn’t make out any words but they sounded angry. It would start out quite, then get louder, go quiet again and get even louder each repetition, until they were so loud, I would notice nail marks on my head from clenching so tight. During all this, the visuals would begin. I could see my blinds moving, the floor breathing, the walls would turn red, in a plaid design and begin dripping like blood. Eventually the walls would begin to cave in on me. I remember being so overwhelmingly scared, I would try to scream for my parents, but I couldn’t get a sound out. I was, in a way, paralyzed. The episodes would last maybe about ten minutes and persisted at this intensity for about 4 years.

I currently hallucinate today, but they are nothing like the ones when I was younger. I now often see things at the corner of my eye and hear single phrases or words when no one is speaking. I do not know my medical history, due to a closed adoption but I do know I was a very sick and premature baby. Only 4 lbs, born in Moscow Russia. I was sent to an orphanage after being sick in a hospital for a bit after birth. I lived there till I was adopted at two.

I had a delicate upbringing causing me to need pull ups till I was 6 and struggled with many mental disabilities. I have experienced sexual abuse since a young age. I was 4 when I was first molested and continued for a couple years. I was later molested at age 15 and raped at 16. As well as being physically abused throughout my life. I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar 1, Manic Depression, ADD, OCD, SAD, Anxiety: (Panic attacks leading to hyperventilation and even black-outs), Paranoia, Addiction and 3 forms of eating disorders: (Anorexia, Bulimia and one due to stress, depression and anxiety, causing me to not be able to digest food for about 5 months.)

I’m not sure how any one of these can cause my hallucinations back then and or currently, but if you have any concrete info, It would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for taking time to read my story!

Why Did I Hallucinate So Bad as a Child?

Answered by on -


Life isn’t fair but for some people it’s even less fair than for others. You have suffered repeated trauma as well as a rough start. Your story makes me very sad.

What you are describing in childhood is consistent with a diagnosis of childhood schizophrenia. Although very rare, it does happen. Schizophrenia (whether in a child or adult) is a brain disorder that can be exacerbated by environmental issues. You had a difficult beginning, being premature, sick, and then in an orphanage. Some of what you report may also have been caused or made worse by a sleep disorder, even then. I can’t, of course, confirm a diagnosis on the basis of a letter. Only a licensed mental health professional can do that following a detailed conversation with you in person.

Since you have so many diagnoses, I assume you are currently seeing mental health providers for treatment. I certainly hope so. Schizophrenia, if that is in the mix, is a lifelong disorder. It can’t be cured but it can be managed with medication and on-going support. In your case, management means that you need to get in control of the things you can control — like addictions, eating disorders and maybe a sleep disorder — so that you have the strength to deal with the things that are harder to control.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Why Did I Hallucinate So Bad as a Child?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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). Why Did I Hallucinate So Bad as a Child?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 31 Aug 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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