Schizophrenia is a disorder of fragmented mental processes. It is NOT split personality. It is a disease of the brain. Sufferers interpret reality abnormally.
These are a few symptoms:
1. Hearing voices.
Sufferers hear voices. No, not like you and I who hear our inner critic or champion.
They literally hear voices in their heads. Talking to them.
- Telling them that the guy at the table next door who is chatting with his friends is talking about them.
- Making them think that the children shouting to each other from the playground below are talking about them. This happens to my brother all the time.
The voices feed on their paranoia. As a result, in order to shut the voices up, they shout.
And that is the mad man on the street you see shouting at no one in particular.
That is the crazy colleague you see talking to herself at her desk.
Now, don’t misunderstand my example above. Don’t go around thinking every colleague of yours who is talking to themselves needs medical attention.
There is a difference between an inner voice and hearing voices.
We all use our inner voice when we are thinking or making decisions or rationalising someone’s behaviour and so on.
Some of our inner voices end up being outer voices, especially when the subject matter is about being pissed off at someone. Yes? We mutter under our breath about what an ass that guy was.
But for schizophrenics, they do not have control over the voices. That is the difference.
How sad not to be able to trust your mind.
2. Seeing things.
Some schizophrenics see things that are not what they actually are. They may see lights, objects, patterns, people in a different light.
I read a post recently about a young girl, at the onset of her illness, she wrote that when she went to the bus stop, it seemed as though people there were pointing at her.
She started thinking that people in cars were following and spying on her.
What the hell, right?
I mean, how scary is that?
It’s the paranoia. People are talking about me. People are out to get me. People are reading my mind.
My brother always wants to listen when my mom talks on the phone. She can’t talk peacefully.
When people visit her, he is always listening to see if they are talking about him. He won’t do it standing in front of people but he would try to listen from his room, and suddenly you will hear loud shouts. That’s when you know he is hearing voices.
We all have our degrees of paranoia, but for schizophrenics, they can’t control their thoughts and they believe it to be real.
4. Social withdrawal
Some behaviours are:
- A lack of interest in activities
- Inability to interact “normally” with others
- Withdrawal from friends and family
In my brother’s case, he has a select list of people with whom he can interact. And when I say interaction, I mean a 1-min phone call to his aunt asking the same questions about how are you, what did you eat etc.
In front of the rest of the people, he will just stay in his room and will avoid all contact.
These are just a few of the symptoms of schizophrenia. I mentioned them because I have personal experience with them, seeing how my brother behaved.
Schizophrenia can affect anyone at any age, but its onset is typically in adolescence and young adulthood.
It is harder to recognise the symptoms in teenagers because some of them are common in early teenage years such as withdrawal from friends and family, lack in motivation, a drop in performance at school and irritable behaviour.
For more information of symptoms, causes, treatment, please check out the sources below: