What Schizophrenia Feels Like

Here is a fascinating video of what it feels like to have schizophrenia. My Lord! What a terrible illness! I can’t possibly imagine feeling that way, God forbid all of the time. Of all the drugs I’ve taken in my life, including high-powered hallucinogens like LSD and PCP, I certainly never felt anything close to that. I’ve never experienced anything like those horrible voices or peoples voicing sounding like they are in an echo chamber or fading in and out.

I suppose if you felt that way, I assume you would try to get your hands on just about anything that would make you feel better or at least make those horrible voices go away. Alcohol kills the voices, but you have to be dead drunk before it works.

What’s especially creepy about those voices is that there are multiple ones all going at once and it is really hard to figure out what they are saying. They almost sound like they are talking to each other in the background.

Damn that’s frightening. I would not wish that nightmare on my worst enemy. Can you imagine being like that 24-7.

When you see those homeless people walking around with the headphones constantly in their ears playing music all the time, they are trying to drown out those continuous voices with music. Also, when you see schizophrenics standing on the sidewalk holding a conversation with the air with no other human beings around that they could possibly be communicating with, I believe that they are talking to the voices. The voices probably answer back to them and carry on conversation with them. How strange.

The nature of these voices is subject of much speculation. The latest thinking is that the voices are simply the persons internal thoughts that are somehow being distorted by the brain into seeming like they are coming from outside.

It’s often said that schizophrenics “hear voices in their head.” This is not exactly what is going on. What’s going on is more like what you see in the video. The person actually hears the voices loud and clear like you would hear someone talking to you in real life. When they first start, the person usually runs around trying to find the person who is hiding in the house somewhere. That’s how real the experience is.

As I noted before, I had a schizophrenic friend for about a year. The guy was hearing voices a good part of the time. We would go for drives in the car and the voices would come out of the car radio. When it wasn’t even on! Over at his place, the voices would come out of the vents up near the ceiling. He eventually developed some delusions about his Mom’s former boyfriend installing some tape recorder up there – he thought there was tape recorder in the ceiling. With the car radio, he kept insisting we had to take my car radio apart so find out the source of the voices. We would be driving along and he would say, “You hear that?” and point to the radio. Of course, there was no sound coming out of thing – it was turned off! They get pretty angry when you can’t hear the voices too because it’s so real to them. It would be like if you could hear people talking in a store but everyone else would insist that the people around you are silent. It would seem like they are lying!

I had to make up all kinds of stories saying that I could not hear the voices too. You could say, “Yeah, I hear them too.” But I would not recommend that. You’re just reinforcing their crazy bullshit. If I did that, then that would prove to him that he needed to take the vents apart to find the hidden tape recorders. So I had to make up all kinds of bullshit excuses why I couldn’t hear the obvious voices but he could. I eventually told him that I had serious hearing problems and could not hear very well.

One thing is that people confuse these voices the internal stuff, voices or whatever, that we have in our heads. Those are not voices; those are just thoughts. I suppose you could create multiple voices inside your head as thoughts, but that would not be the same, and I don’t see why you would want to do that anyway. Internal thoughts are experienced as “thoughts,” schizophrenic voices are actually heard out loud with your ears as in the video.

People with OCD often say that they have “voices.” That’s because the OCD thoughts can seem very loud and persistent, like “super-thoughts,” or as if “they are coming out of megaphones,” as one guy put it. But you don’t actually hear it. It’s all inside your head, so it’s just thoughts, not actual voices. Also, OCD “voices” (thoughts) often just repeat the same thought over and over and over, unlike the continuous changing stream of multiple voices you saw in the video. With careful questioning, it soon becomes clear that the OCD sufferer has “thoughts” and not “voices.”

Nevertheless, a lot of dumbfuck clinicians can’t figure that out, and a lot of  OCD people get misdiagnosed as “schizophrenia”, “mild psychosis,” “a little bit psychotic,” “atypical psychosis” and other bullshit. I’ve been dealing with them online for some time now.

An interesting condition is where the OCD sufferer worries that he is going psychotic. Some of them search the environment for every single little sound and start misinterpreting normal sounds as “voices.” Then they are convinced that they are schizophrenic.

With careful questioning, a good clinician should be able to sort this out and see it simply as anxiety that searching the environment and misinterpreting or imagining normal sounds. That’s totally different from what’s going on in the video. I’ve talked to a few people with this condition online and it’s typical that they have a “psychosis” dx by some dumbass doc and are being mistreated with an antipsychotic. I usually order them to dump the doc, quit the antipsychotics, and go get a new doc.

Note: Sorry folks, I’m sort on a mental illness kick lately. I’ve been fascinated by this stuff for decades and I know a Hell of a lot about it. I’m not frightened of writing or reading about it the way that most people are, at least not usually.

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16 thoughts on “What Schizophrenia Feels Like”

  1. I’d like to be able to add something to that, because I’ve lived on and off with a schizophrenic for 15 years, often in more or less one room for as much as a year at a stretch (obviously there’s a long story with all this, but I’m not telling it). But I don’t know any more than you do. She claims to hear voices, but I don’t know if she does – she talks non-stop, and when she stops taking her medication it gets faster and louder until she gets hospitalised. And after all these years and talking to dozens of social workers and doctors, all I know is what the professionals seem to know – she responds to some drugs. As far as I can see, that’s the basis for mental health classification – which drug you respond to, if any. If you don’t respond to any, then you have a ‘personality disorder’ and can’t be admitted to hospital because they can’t treat you ( in the UK anyway).
    All I could say is if you see someone ranting at themselves in the streets, covered with filth, don’t assume that there’s no-one home, that that’s the whole of their story. ” There’s something happening and you don’t know what it is, do you Mr Jones? ” Unfortunately, THEY don’t know what’s happening, and neither do the doctors or anyone else apparently.
    I got hold of a book which seems promising- Richard P. Bentall’s ‘Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature’. I haven’t had time to read it yet. Do you know it?

    1. No, I don’t know it. I’m pretty sure that schizophrenia is an illness all right.

      This person sounds like they have schizoaffective disorder with the apparent manic behavior (rapid speech increasing and getting louder off meds).

      That said, we still don’t know what causes it, and what’s really wrong with the people who have it, but I’m convinced that most of them are not just spiritual folks who are actually tuned into some super-reality that the rest of us can’t pick up on. That’s just part of their delusion.

      I’ve lived with psychotic people myself. They’re interesting. I monitor psychotic people the whole time I am with them though, to make sure they are not dangerous. When they get dangerous, I try to get away from them, or else I arm myself.

      At one point, I was carrying a steak knife around in my pocket 24-7 because I was so scared of someone I was living with. I actually pulled a knife on this person once, mostly just to scare the shit out of them. I lived constantly in fear that this person was going to kill me. They assaulted me several times and I got some pepper spray and sprayed them a few times.

  2. I am left to wonder…When I am sometimes in a sort of light sleep, though not willingly awake state at night, I many times find myself in strange conversations with people/others that are not there. I know this is not schizophrenia at all, but I am left wondering? Is it possible that the same mechanisms encountered in that pseudo-state of sleep are at play on a much larger scale with the fully awake schizophrenic? Is there perhaps a microbiological aspect here that we all have within us, but in the schizophrenic, it becomes far more severe? Something in a schizophrenic’s situation allows this aspect of the consciousness to become active in the fully awake state? I say this not as a claim, but only as a question. Is there perhaps a deeper connection here?

    1. I have had similar experiences with Lucid Dreaming. I can actually fly around my room sometimes via Astral Projection. It’s really fun! I fly from one end of the room to the other and it seems like it’s really happening! I mean, it’s as real as what we are doing right now, that’s how it feels.

      It’s a blast! I take off from the ceiling of one corner of the room and fly to the floor at the opposite end, curl up like a surfer or skateboarder and then whoosh to the other side. It’s a lot like surfing or skating.

      And it feels like I am dying the whole time. I’m trying to wake up but I can’t because there are lead weights on my eyes that make it so I can’t lift them up and wake up! It sucks! I’m terrified and trying to wake up but I can’t. There are lots of times when I think I force my eyes open, but it’s an illusion and I am still trapped in this Lucid Dream thing.

      Finally I force my eyes open and I relax because it was all just a dream. After a while I got so I could fly out of the house. One time I flew to the beach. It was fun, man! You just sort of beam up like Star Track. You beam up and fly and BAM there you are, 3 miles away, standing on the beach.

      Yes, the stuff that schizophrenics go through seems very much like what we are describing. It would be as if our dream worlds and real worlds were merged and we could not tell where one started and the other ended. You really don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. And the reality that you actually experience on a day to day basis is simply NOT what is really happening. It’s you’re acting in some weird movie and none of it is true, but you think it is.

      It must be weird as fuck. I’ve never experienced anything remotely like that on any drug. Not even on the highest powered pot, even lots of it, hashish, hash oil, eating pot, LSD, mushrooms, mescaline, peyote, woodrose seeds, PCP, meth, cocaine (even high dose), crack. Forget it. I can handle all those drugs and none of them ever made me feel anything like that. It was the same old world, just changed around and kind of weird, but the real world nevertheless.

    2. Of course, it’s necessary that you are unable to move during this dream state. Otherwise, you would be physically acting out the dream – or trying to.

      At least that’s my understanding!

    3. Absolutely plausible. We theorize in similar fashions. Hypnogogia, sleeping awake, neural pathways and misfiring… inappropriacy in activation,

  3. Robert, I get sleep paralysis and lucid dreams pretty frequently. Sleep paralysis I get no less than about once a week. Sometimes it’s quite frightening. The lucid dreams are sometimes hard to distinguish from reality, but the one thing I’ve noticed is that I can tell it’s a dream because it just feels strange and eerie, and if I look into a mirror, I look like myself but distored, unclear and sometimes frightening. I also can’t seem to interact with anything. Like I sometimes dream that I’m standing in my room at night and it’s dark. I walk over to try to turn the light on and it doesn’t come on. I walk over and try to turn another light across the room on and it doesn’t turn on. Then I get this weird feeling and I say, “oh ok, it’s another one of these lucid dreams.”

    For some reason I can’t fly in mine, or walk through walls or do anything that seems supernatural. I feel very much physically constrained. So I’ve ruled out any astral projection. In your case, maybe you are astral projecting. I don’t know if this stuff exist for sure, but I’m not closed off the idea.

    1. I can also fly in my dreams sometimes, but it’s more like floating. Like I will start at the top of a flight of stairs and then float down to the bottom by jumping in the air. I just kind of drift down to the bottom. At some point pretty quickly, I have to land. A lot of times it’s in public and people gather to watch me. They’re like, “Whoa! Check out the flying dude! Cool! How does he do it anyway?” The floating down flights of stairs or super long jumps are really cool! I wish I could do it in real life.

      I can’t really fly like a bird though like I think some people can. That seems really weird.

    2. I have had sleep paralysis in the past, and it is ALWAYS a scary experience. I also have never looked at myself in a mirror in a dream…Now I have to give that a try. I mean, is that not literally your minds own visualization of the “self?”

  4. “schizophrenia” also known as shamanism that dates back thousands of years in human history is life’s greatest gift. it allows us to connect with our true human nature, spirit. It’s only with bullshit doctors that think their head is perfect, “if you don’t think like me you’re crazy” no one can EVER say what’s happening in someone elses isn’t true.

    and your last comment “I know a lot about mental illness”
    you clearly don’t. If you knew a lot about it, it wouldn’t be an illness.
    Wake your arrogant self up, unless you are going through this shit you will never understand it. move on and accept this is your shitty lifetime to live. One lifetime I promise you that you will be a “schizophrenic” and wake up to the truth.

    Until then keep posting on your shitty blog

  5. Iv’e never heard voices, but doctors thought I heard them They ask “Do you hear voices?” Never heard one. I have no idea what that would be like, but obviously I’m paranoid.

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