It is a nightmare that you cannot wake up from. The illness causes you to believe that everything is about you; a television program, a song on the radio, a stranger's glare. The illness makes you feel trapped, as if everybody is watching you and trying to harm you, but you can't escape- you're outnumbered.
You can't eat food because someone is trying to poison you. You can't take a shower, because someone has tampered with the soap and it will burn your skin. You can't tell your family what's going on because they have been replaced too, they're impostures! You can't trust your friends because they will run and tell someone your secrets. You know they are gossiping about you and they are out to get you, you can feel it, God has blessed you with special powers that enables you to feel menacing and positive spirits in people; you are sensitive to people's emotions.
Everything is a sign, that truck making a U-turn means you should go back, that taxi cab driver saying, 'stay out of trouble,' means he's watching you too, and is in on it. The voices discouraging you are people around you, they know everything and are using information against you.
What is schizophrenia? Schizophrenia is a mental illness that corrupts the mind. It makes you believe bizarre things and causes you to act strange as a result of the delusions and hallucinations. The illness alters your thoughts and personality causing you to be distant and secretive, not trusting anyone or letting your guard down, for me at least.
Schizophrenia is a highly misunderstood, complicated mental illness that many people do not want to talk about and many do not understand. It is disturbing, media portrays it as a characteristic prone to violence. People are afraid of what the person with schizophrenia will do, they don't have any idea what the illness is about except it is associated with violence. Even church members are confused about the illness, some believe that people with schizophrenia have demonic spirits in them that need to be expelled. Others flat out discriminate against persons with schizophrenia in the workplace, within families, and in housing because they simply do not understand the illness.
THIS IS NOT TRUE: people with schizophrenia are upright citizens! They are not proned to violence unless they have a history of violence prior to the onset, which is a very small minority of people with schizophrenia, like the general population. People with schizophrenia are entitled to have live just like everybody else, they are not filled with demonic spirits. And they deserve to get work and get a home without the hassles. (I have been discriminated against in housing. The potential landlord thought my potential roommate would cause too much stress and suggested that I should not rent a room there).
However, when treated, you can think clearly and be more conscious to what is going on around you. You are not afraid of the people around you. You can openly voice your thoughts and opinions. You can eat your food in peace and shower with no concern. You can form meaningful relationships again.
To learn more about schizophrenia or to get support visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness or Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia (Canada).