Surviving Schizophrenia

Two years ago I spent a wonderful evening trick or treating with my 2 little girls. There was a balmy breeze and the girls had a blast, we didn’t even get home until 10pm. It was a beautiful night.

I went to bed that night as I normally do, nothing out of the ordinary, and I was woken up by whispering in my ear. I just thought I was dreaming and went back to sleep. The next day I had a full blown voice talking in my ear. This voice was so loud that I could hear it while the TV was on. The voice was terrible, cursing at me constantly and it never stopped. As the days passed more voices came in, and within a few weeks I had almost 60 voices all with their own names and voices. I couldn’t sleep as the voices never stopped and I couldn’t talk to my family due to the voices in my ear. I just couldn’t concentrate. Some of the voices were nice, and others told me they were demons and tormented me constantly. I didn’t know what was happening to me, neither did my family. However, my husband wanted to get me medical help but I refused. At this point I had regressed into my own world and spent most of my time alone. I believed that the voices were real, and I felt like I didn’t need help. I was unaware of my surroundings but I still believed that I was alright.

The voices and delusions went on for several weeks and then the voice of God came in. He told me that I was a prayer warrior and that I had to study the bible to help others. Since I believed that all of the voices were real and that God was really talking to me I obeyed. God had me studying the bible day and night. At one point I was up studying the bible and praying for six days straight and wasn’t allowed to sleep. As the days passed the voice of God became cruel, and. all of the other voices were unrelenting.

God told me to leave the house for two days and check into a hotel so I could pray without interruption. So I fled to a hotel where I thought no one in my family would find me. I thought I was ok at this point but I was obviously very delusional. I checked into a hotel and immediately God told me that I had to pass all of his tests to prove my loyalty to him or I would suffer greatly, and I believed him. All the tests were dangerous so I couldn’t pass them and the voices and God became torturous and threatening. I was terrified and all I wanted to do was go home.

I fled the hotel and got into my car. It was a straight route home but somehow I got very lost and ended up driving on the wrong side of the road. I didn’t know how to get back into the proper lane. I eventually ended up in an abandoned tourist town. At this point the voices were telling me if I tried to go home they would blow up my car and kill my family. Believing this, I got out of the car wearing only a T-shirt while it was snowing outside. I looked everywhere to find a house so I could call home but everything was boarded up. I ended up crouched in a corner of a hotel for hours. I was frozen and I finally decided that I was going home and if I got blown up so be it. When I got to my car the police were there, and the car was in the middle of the road with the engine running and the doors open. I thought I was fine and that I had parked the car properly but at this point I was obviously out of touch with reality. Due to the fact that I was so delusional the police hand cuffed me and bodily put me in the back of the police car.

I ended up at the hospital and somehow my feet and elbows were all bloody. I had no recollection of what happened or how I hurt myself. I was on suicide watch in the hospital for 24hrs which was humiliating. I had to have someone sit at the end of my bed and watch every move I made. I wasn’t even allowed to go to the bathroom by myself. After 24hrs I was transferred into a mental facility and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The medications I was put on made me sleepy and forgetful. I felt like I was living in a fog. All I wanted to do was go home. However I was placed by the state so I couldn’t be discharged until a Doctor said I was fit to leave. I spent Christmas in the facility away from my family. I had limited time with visitors when I was allowed to have them and I wasn’t allowed to see my children at all. There was absolutely no privacy and I wasn’t even allowed to have shampoo. I had absolutely no rights while I was in there. I was miserable beyond belief.

I was released from the mental facility in early January with less symptoms but I still could hear the voices. They were unrelenting and it was like living in hell. I never had any peace. I couldn’t sleep. Eventually I saw a psychiatrist that said I was on the wrong medications and changed what I was taking. Things got better, but very slowly. My Doctor said that schizophrenia was psychological, biological and environmental, that anything could have triggered my illness. While schizophrenia usually develops in the late teens and early twenties it’s not uncommon to show up at my age of 39.

It took a full year to recover, and by recover I mean that now I only hear once voice at a time and not everyday. I feel like I went to hell and back with this illness. It was really tough for me and my family. Although it was such a terrible time in my life I’m grateful that I got through it. In fact I almost feel victorious. I’m not embarrassed by my disease. Most if not all people that meet me now would never even know that I was ill. Mental illness has a terrible stigma attached to it and I don’t know when that will change.

I’m happy now, really happy. Even though I know I have to be on medication for the rest of my life and I still live with minor symptoms I feel great. I’m grateful for the support my husband gave me while I was lost in my own world of voices and prayer, and I take nothing for granted now. I don’t sweat the big stuff and I value the little things in life. I enjoy the peace I have and enjoy living a normal life thanks to a great Doctor and the right medications.

This disease came on insidiously. I would tell someone that if they start to hear voices or even whispers get help right away. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. I waited and I suffered for it. I’m lucky that I wasn’t hurt during my episode because my behavior was erratic and dangerous. Schizophrenia is treatable with medication. With medical treatment and great family support I live a completely normal life now.

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