This is my first post here, so if it's a bit long or confusing, I apologize.
Firstly, here is my medical (mental illness and treatment) history, for reference: My neuroticism began when I was very, very young-- perhaps 6-ish or so. It runs in my family, as does general mental illness. I am fairly sure my father has a severe, untreated personality disorder. My mother suffers from depression, anxiety, and anorexia. My younger brother (18) is remarkably similar to me: paranoid, hypersensitive, disorganized (both thoughts and speech), depressed, anxious and moody. He has finally been seeing a psychiatrist and therapist because his issues have gotten much worse in the past few years. He has been on Risperidone for the past few months, and from what he's told me, it's worked tremendously well. From what I understand, he has not been given a formal diagnosis as of yet, but I am assuming it will either be bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. My various diagnoses: I have been in therapy since I was 12 (I am now in my mid-twenties). I have been diagnosed with the following: Depression, Anxiety/Panic Disorder, ADD, Bipolar II, Bipolar NOS. From what my current psychiatrist says, the bipolar was a misdiagnosis. For about a year, they were also convinced I had Borderline Personality Disorder (I don't). I also have a history of self-harm, and while the urges are definitely still there, I have not done it in a while. My hospitalization history: I have been hospitalized twice. The first was voluntary and partial in-patient when I was a teenager and extremely depressed, panicky and neurotic. I finally came clean about my serious problems (paranoia, dissociation, and the feeling that I was losing my grip on reality) and I was put on Seroquel. While it made me feel like a zombie, my more serious issues were mostly resolved. I was taken off of Seroquel a few years later after I felt "better". My second hospitalization was involuntary, in 2007 after a suicide attempt. I was inpatient for a month, and outpatient for another month. I was put back on Seroquel, and again, many of my issues became easier to deal with. I came off of Seroquel again around 2009 (and obviously, my issues came back again).
Now on to my symptoms. (Note: I know none of us are doctors! Just trying to get a sense of what schizophrenia actually feels like, and trying to see if anyone has had similar experiences) I am paranoid. Really, really, really paranoid. I feel as if someone is constantly watching me. I feel as if someone is constantly judging me. I second-guess everyone's motives, and I do not trust easily. I always assume someone is acting like they like my company so they can do something terrible to me later. If I am out in public (even in my own backyard!), I feel "eyes on me" even if there is no one around. I also think my partner is always mad at me, even when they are clearly not (to them, at least!). Sometimes I also worry that my partner is "fed up" with me and will one day kill me (even though he's never ever ever been violent towards me, or even used violent language). I have never thought the FBI was after me or anything like that. I have "extranormal" senses. I can feel others' emotions and sometimes I can read their minds. My aunt deals with this too, apparently, but she attributes it to some sort of "psychic" blood in our family. Now onto the voices and/or hallucinations. This is really where I need the most input. I have serious issues with my "inner dialogue", and they wax and wane in severity. The most severe auditory (?) hallucinations were around the time I had my first nervous breakdown (before my first hospitalization). It was a man and a woman arguing over something, but I could not make out what. It was mostly gibberish, but I could tell that they were upset over something. It was terrifying, and it's happened about 10 times since then. My main issue now is my own inner "narrator" that narrates everything I do, as if it were a voice-over or aside in a dramatic movie. This voice has an extensive vocabulary and it is not my own voice in my head. I often tell her to shut up. I do talk to myself back and forth in my head all the time, but I don't know if this is an issue or not. There is another voice in my head that is extremely persecutory, critical and bullying (also not me). Also, I have had hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations as long as I can remember (the earliest I can remember was when I was 6-years-old). I guess I'm just wondering if these are auditory hallucinations-- sometimes the voices do sound as if they are behind me, other times they are just in my head speaking (although it really does seem as if they are real). I have tremendously intrusive thoughts. My brother suffers from these too. Someone (me, maybe?) would tell me to kill myself, jump in front of a train, drive off of a bridge, scream obscenities in church, etc. These are really, really distressing. These thoughts are never "auditory", but rather confined to my own head. But they are very loud, if that makes sense? I guess I'm having trouble figuring out if these are "normal" (they seem to be)--I've lived with them my whole life, so I'm not great at looking at my experiences objectively. I have serious problems regulating my emotions. Everything is very, very intense for me. When I am mad, I am enraged. When I am sad, I am in a pit of despair. I have been hypomanic maybe 3-5 times in my life, and it wasn't too serious or damaging. Now for my most recent symptoms: Lack of interest in personal hygiene, absolute lack of motivation, fatigue, slight insomnia (this has been an issue on and off), extreme isolation (I don't feel the need to leave the house and I have no friends and don't really care), emotional oversensitivity, impulse control problems, paranoia that has been getting worse within the past few years (as stated earlier).
So-- I guess I just need some insight. Are these things similar to your experiences? Does anyone else deal with inner voices? I'm really starting to feel like I'm going crazy (again). And I will be bringing this up with my pdoc at my next appointment, by the way. I haven't shared any of this with him because I assumed it was normal (I shared some of this with my mother and she said it wasn't normal, hence why I'm here). Any insights, comments or personal experiences would be appreciated beyond belief.