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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
I am overcoming schizophrenia, and I believe others can too. Here is how I am managing my condition...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Schizophrenia: Delusions

Delusion: a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact (dictionary.com). Schizophrenia.com defines a delusion as a false belief or misinterpretation of events and their significance. 50 Signs of Mental Illness defines a delusion as unchanging beliefs that are held on inadequate grounds. Delusions are misinterpretations of events, words, and body language that are exaggerated, and cannot be meant in any other way. Don't take that word lightly, because it is major, serious, intense, and deep.

There are several types of delusions, some are: 1) persecutory, 2) grandiose, 3) erotomanic, 4) jealousy, 5) identity, 6) somatic, and 7) nihilistic. Here, we are going to discuss persecutory, grandiose, and identity, because I personally experienced these three types of delusions.

Persecutory delusions is the most common form of a delusion. I thought that a relative was trying to harm me; however, I did not have any evidence to confirm this belief. I thought this same relative poisoned my food, and tapped my phone. I did not understand why they would want to poison me or listen to my telephone conversations, since they had their own life. Eventually, I thought everyone was a demon, everyone was following me. Every comment was a threat...a taxi driver told me to stay out of trouble, just that alone freaked me out, and at that point, I knew he was watching me, too.

Grandiose delusions are the belief that you are someone important. At first I thought I was a prophet with the ability to decipher spirits, good from evil, and even read people's minds. I got eerie feelings from various people. And with all that was going on, I thought I had the spirit of discernment. My mother thought so too, boy were we off! One incident, I thought my professor was a demon. As soon as I walked into her office I broke out in a sweat, felt pressure on my chest, got a menacing feeling from her, and freaked out. I had to get out of there, real fast! It was a horrible moment. Just recently, I analyzed that moment because it stuck with me, and I realized I was having an anxiety attack.

Another episode, while the police were arresting me I thought I was Jesus, Himself, and not one of His beautiful moments. I felt like I was being persecuted all over again compared to historical events. My delusions made me believe that the police car I was sitting in was going to, in fact, blow up. I remember sitting in the back seat praying over and over again God help me. That was another horrible moment.

Identity delusions is the thought that people are impostors. I thought my family, from my mother to my sister, to my grandmother, had been replaced by people that looked like them. I tested each individual to decipher if they were my real mother, sister, grandmother and so on by asking them questions. I asked my uncle what restaurant we went to before going to the zoo, I asked my sister who was her childhood friend, and I asked my grandmother what was my high school graduation gift. I asked my mother when my brother, her stillborn, had passed away and what I wrote on her Mother's Day card. If these people did not answer the questions that would have qualified them, they were in deed, impostors.

Being in jail, I wore the inmate hand bracelet, I was chained down when my mother came to visit, I wore the clothing, and still didn't believe I was in jail. My mother had to hold up an inmate document with my name on it to the glass window to try to convince me that I was in jail. I still didn't believe her, I laughed, shrugged my shoulders, and said "Me, come on."

If Iwhat I am about to say in closing makes it seem as though I think this is an easy thing for family members, trust me, I know it's not. For my mother, this was a very painful part of the sickness and there's not an easy way to receive it. "Families and friends must first realize that delusions are a result of [mental] illness and not stubbornness, stupidity, [rebelliousness, anger, or retaliation (schizophrenia.com). We ourselves do not know what the heck is going on. It is not intentional, please do not take it personal. If your loved one is delusional do not try to convince them the truth because they may not trust you again to tell you what they are thinking and feeling. You should keep note of bizarre thoughts and behavior.

Please note: if you know someone is having delusions such as I have discussed, it is out of your hands. Your goal must be to seek professional assistance some way or another. You do not, and cannot, know what's going on in that person's mind, less known anticipate their next move.

My delusions led me to believe that everyone was demons and out to get me. I stole a military truck trying to escape, went on a highspeed chase, went in the opposite flow of traffic, and hit two cars. It could have been even worse, thank God it was a Sunday and not that many cars were on the road when this incident took place.

If you ever have questions or want me to elaborate on anything, don't hesitate to leave a comment and ask.

Resources:

9 comments:

Anonymous Drifter said...

When I had my breakdown a couple of winters ago I became seriously paranoid. I believed that everything I did was being watched and everything I said was being listened to. I was terrified all the time. It got to the point where I was going to kill myself. The Risperdal was the only thing that brought me back to sanity.

Valash said...

I understand exactly what you went through. I was terrified as well. I almost cut off all my hair trying to hide my identity from the "demons"...I am so glad that I take my medicine.

Ashley

Zain Arshad Chaudhry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arshia said...

My mother went through a similar phase.I was too young at that time and could not understand much. Lucky to have an amazing father..who stood by her and calmed her down.She's doing good now.
But recently I found out that a close friend was going through the same delusions.Apparently it is Persecutory delusion. He believes that everyone from his old friends,batchmates and even me have conspired against him.He claims to be watched over by hidden cameras and heard by microphones. The situation has worsened.He refuses to socialise and gets irritated.He lost weight and it is taking a heavy toll on his career.
I was relieved and saddened at the same time to see other people going through it.
What according to you is the best possible way out of it.He revolts to the idea of talking to a doctor or consultant about it..

Ashley Smith said...

Hi Arshia,

I suggest you or someone close him keep a journal of his behavior and speech in order to seek professional guidance. I do not suggest diagnosing him yourself, there are many mental illnesses that seem like Schizophrneia. Seek professional guidance.

Eventually, try to get him into a support group or get support from a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS), you may be able to find a CPS at a mental health agency.

I wish you and your friend gets the medical attention they need. Thank you for sharing.

Best regards,

Ashley Smith

JMS45 said...

i did get diagnosed with schizophrenia back in 2000. I had a few breaks. My mind was just filled with so many thoughts it just broke. I kept thinking and thinking. We moved to back in 1998 and I think it triggered when we did that. I didn't want to move and I wasn't talking about it. I think that a demon was messing me up in my mind. I was believing every lie imaginable about myself. All these thoughts came in my mind, that I was worthless, damaged, dirty. All this stuff, and I just couldn't stop it. I am like on medication for 7 years now. Everyone thinks it has helped me. I finally got my business degree. I am working as a caregiver with old people. I like it but I don't know. I think I can own my own business or something because old people get confused and maybe I am supposed to help them I think. I don't have employees. I am like what am I doing. Am i supposed to counsel them? I am just telling my story. My mom says I am not going to have a business one day. I am like I don't know what is going to happen. I think God is going to help me to help them out of their awful mindsets because God helped me get out of my mind and back into reality. I think Christ is reality and He is why I am still here. I just want the world to know that He made me and he knows what I am going through. I don't know why it happened but I hope I can help millions of people one day with alzheimer's and other illnesses like schizophrenia. I am double minded though. It is hard for me to make up my mind to do anything. Should I stay inside should I go....should I do this or that? I have such a hard time to make a choice about things sometimes.

Ashley Smith said...

JMS45,

Congratulations on earning your business degree and working...

Back in 2007 when I was diagnosed with schizophrenia I experienced a lot of stressful events like moving across country and starting a new life, little did I know it was making my symptoms worse. Environmental triggers can be a hassle. But once you understand your triggers I think people can learn how to overcome them with the right type of supports.

I agree Jesus is a reality and He helps people get their mind back everyday. I consider my testimony a miracle because I feel liked I've experienced so much in so little time and came out with still a positive perspective on my schizophrenia diagnosis and life.

I am glad you are managing your illness. I think like you, anything is possible. I also think you need to surround yourself with business-minded people like entrepreneurs and others to stay positive and to move forward in your own business. And only share your dream of owning your own business to people who will encourage you and be able to help you get to wherever you want to go.

I appreciate your candidness and for sharing a brief part of your life with schizophrenia... I hope you find the support you want in order to encourage you to start a business.

Regards,
Ashley Smith

Anonymous said...

Hi my brother has been doing similar things like you mentioned you did. He's getting help at the moment but I am so worried and scared for him. Will he ever be himself again?

Ashley Smith said...

Hi Anonymous,

I cannot predict how your brother may respond to treatment and to recovery. For me, I had to learn the "new Ashley," and to move forward at my own speed in recovery.

I hope your brother will maintain wellness, and have a better understanding of his illness and himself.

Lastly, recovery is an ongoing process that demands effort, treatment, and a lot of support.

Best,

Ashley Smith