Follow the link above and then read on. A friend told me that she finds it difficult to imagine what schizophrenia is really like and could I give her an idea of how my son must have felt during the time he was fighting his demons, when he had no peace of mind at all. The clip above shows a lot and I will add a bit more.
David often cradled his head in his hands with a look of pain on his face and asked,’Why did you and Dad plant microphones in this house? What kind of parents are you? Why would parents want to broadcast their son’s every word to The Establishment,’ he wanted to know.
‘The Establishment is out to get me, so STOP. Please stop!’
‘Nobody wants me to get well, even my parents. What kind of monsters are you and Dad? Help me to stop the voices. All I want now is peace of mind.’
Why are you trying to poison me, Mom? I know that you slipped poison into my coke.’
‘Why do people come in during the night and move my things? Someone even tore out pages from my new surfing magazines, you know!’
‘During the night, a man came in and stole my favorite disk.’
It took us a long time to realize that the voices were real and that at times there could have been more than one voice at the same time effectively blocking out part of what we were saying to him. Consequently, conversations as we know them were difficult to conduct. About one year after the strange symptoms began, my late husband managed to persuade David to check himself into a psychiatric hospital, voluntarily, telling him that he would be entering ill, but that in time, he would exit healthy. And strange as this might sound, we both believed it. We had faith in the system. His diagnosis was paranoid schizophrenia and David spent years trapped in the nightmare of entering and exiting psychiatric hospitals, trying various medications, experiencing pain and despair.
Hearing voices: Psychosis: is the experience of losing contact with reality and is not part of the person’s cultural group belief system or experience. The best way I can describe a psychotic experience is being in a nightmare while awake; wide awake. When I dream and strange and frightening things occur, I know that they are happening while I am asleep, and I am aware that I am dreaming. A psychotic experience is close to a waking dream, I think, and the feelings are very real and intense. Our son had trouble concentrating, was suspicious. We noticed a decline in his personal hygiene too. He spent more time alone and did a lot more sleeping.
David also lacked insight into his own state of mind. He made strange connections between words and ideas. The voices not only distressed him; they did not allow him to hear what his friends and other people were saying. I don’t think that David heard the actual words we were saying. Instead, he seemed to hear different things coming out of people’s mouths. He was also unable to distinguish between what was real and what was not. A psychosis generally involves delusions and hallucinations.
Delusions – a delusion is a belief that we would consider unfounded. Our son had delusions of grandeur and really believed that one day he was going to be a millionaire with a beautiful home, swimming pool and a luxury yacht. In other words, a delusion is a fixed, false belief which remains that way even when the person is presented with contradictory information.
He was sure that a military unit was out to get him as he was being spied on and monitored by microphones that he said my husband and I had ‘planted’ in our house. As a result, when he had the need to talk to us, he preferred to do so out of doors, whether it was daytime or even after midnight. The voices often assured him that he was a loser.
Hallucinations. Our son saw, heard or even smelled things that were not there. David saw things that we did not/could not see. Later I learned that even faces could become distorted while he was looking at them which explained the anxious or even fearful expression on his face at those times.
Psychosis does not have to be a life sentence. Please remember that. Today there are new medications and the earlier one visits a psychiatrist, the more hope one has of being helped.