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wha the hell is wrong w/ me? schizophrenia?


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hello,

i really didn't know where to put this, but i decided this forum would be the best choice. I don't know if this is a symptom of schizophrenia or not. I described this on another website and someone mentioned depersonalization disorder, but they also said it seems like more than that.

this started about a year ago and these feelings come and go on a daily basis: i constantly get so many different weird feelings in my body, like sometimes my arms and legs feel like they are floating away from me, or my body parts feel all twisted and mixed up. sometimes it seems like my head is seperate from the rest of my body. Sometimes my whole body feel connected to everything around me, like i can;t tell where my body stops and everything else begins. sometimes i feel like i am somehow turned inside out, or im up-side-down. my body just feels distorted, like everything is deformed, mixed up and out of place. Sometimes i'll look at my hand for example, and even though i see my five fingers, it's as if im seeing only three fingers....does that make any sense? probably not.  Recently i've started feeling like there are other people in my body with me and they control my movements. 

;)

as for  true symptoms of schizophrenia, like delusions and hallucinations...i dont know. sometimes i see things, but nothing really big or distinct. Like,  sometimes i'll see shadows floating around off to the side of where im looking. Then when i look dirrectly at them, they either disappear or move more to the side so that i can never look directly at them. One time i saw a shadowy person running across the street and then dissapear. I often see little black spots moving around on the walls.  I really dont know if im hearing voices or not because they aren't outside my head. It's more like im having thoughts that aren't my own..like telepathy. i have all these voices talking in my head but i cant control them. usually it's just a bunch of talking in the backround that i cant make sense out of. sometimes they talk about me...comment on what im doing and such. Also, when i walk/drive by people, they constantly put their thoughts into my mind like they are trying to talk to me telepathically. I do believe in telepathy and think im a bit telepathic I try to force my thoughts back into their minds, but i never really get any answers. Anyhow i'm aware that lots would concider this a type of delusion....maybe

does any of this sound like schizophrenia or like i could be developing it?

also maybe i should mention that schizophrenia runs in my family. My grandad, aunt and uncle had it. oh, and im only 16..amost 17. and im a girl.

thanks

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Hi Nobody101, Welcome!

You did fine posting.  Feel free to post, if it needs to get moved one of the mods will be glad to help you.

I'm not experienced with schizophrenia, but thought I would kick things off and I'm sure others will fill in details.

The various experiences you describe can be symptoms of schizophrenia, but they can also be symptoms of other illnesses as well. 

The feeling of being disconnected and unreal is probably a description of Depersonalization (or Derealization):

"Depersonalization is a mental state in which a person feels detached or disconnected from his or her personal identity or self. This may include the sense that one is "outside" oneself, or is observing one's own actions, thoughts or body."

Seeing things like shapes, shadows, can be hallucinations.  There can be other causes for seeing vague shapes shadows and spots including head injury and some of the medications can cause them as well.

Taking one or your other examples, the belief that people are able to insert thoughts into ones mind is probably the most common text book example of a delusion.

NOW DON"T PANIC. Having these instances in your experiences may mean something, they mean nothing serious.  They don't mean you are a bad person or that you are crazy.

You have family members with a history of mental illness, and obviously you have some concerns and are seeking answers. I would highly recommend that you tell your family and your physician about these stories and your concerns. The mind is complex and a good psychiatrist will earn his pay in figuring out what is going on. The sooner you get anwers the sooner your worry can be eased.

Regards,

A.M.

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Recently i've started feeling like there are other people in my body with me and they control my movements.

That's what worried me the most in your post. But there's not enough in your post to know what's going on really. I don't know. Just assess your situation - are you happy? content? getting by? unhappy? miserable? and whatever it is, why? excuse me, i am drunk and don't know what i am saying exactly but the words i have highlighted above worried me the most. i experienced something tlike you describe when very crazy.

One thing: you are young and psychiatric drugs are often not the best thing for young people, especially if you are functioning in the "real" world.

Yo.

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I am quite experienced about sz and my opinion is that

A) it's not the end of the world if one has it

B ) early treatment can do a GREAT deal to eliminate chronicity, disability and all the traditional fatalistic progression bit.

C) 16-17 is not unusually early for sz to begin though somewhat so for females

D) many, many young people take antipsychotic meds at that age, and if begun early,  the remission rates are high and it can even be said that florid sz can be permanently  averted.  For that matter many children take AAP meds -  not that it's a great thing to have to do,  just consdidered the lesser evil.  FWIW I'm in touch with many parents of chidren with sz. 

I also favor the newer (very new and controversial) approach of experimentally trying lower doses and non-constant treatment (the opposite has been dogma).  This is for very select patient groups depending on med response. 

E) It DOES sound like sz. to me, frankly. That is unless there is some drug use, concomittant or very extraordinary external (and temporary) stressors, especially given the family history.  Get evaluated by a really good shrink preferably a child and adolescent specialist. (they're in short supply nationally).    No one will diagnose sz right away anyhow, being legally and ethically obligated to give at most a dx of schizophreniform disorder for a minimium of six months with observation. 

However,  this is an organic brain disease which if untreated can and does lead to the death of brain cells.  The earlier the dx and rx the better the outcome.

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what you described sounds somewhat like depersonalization, which can happen with a lot of things... or it could be something else.  i've dissociated and it's simmilar and creepy as fuck... felt like i was watching someone else drive my body around and all that.  but i didn't have schizophrenia or a dissociative disorder, even.  these things can be caused by a lot of things, it may or it may not be schizophrenia.  schiz runs in my family too, but the genetics of mentall illness are still quite uncertain.  we know that they are heritable, but we don't know exactly why one person will develop a problem and another won't yet. 

if you aren't alredy seeing a therapist, you should probably find one.  if you suspect it is depersonalization, you may want to look into the dissociative disorders.  depersonalization can be a symptom/ can occur with other psych dx's, or it can be it's own diagnosis.  it's generally thought that dissociative disorders are linked to early traumas.  a good therapist can help you work out these (and other of course) kinds of issues.

regardless, as it seems to be deeply bothering you, you should certainly seek out the help of a therapist and possibly a psychiatrist.  whether or not you think you need or want to go on medication at your age is up to you, but a therapist is a good first step.  things are always (in my opinion) the most scary when they are unknow, and a therapist can help you figure out what really is going on with you right now.  there are answers out there.

oh, and welcome to the board.

i hope you keep posting about this issue.

my best to you,

penny

-p.s.-

as you are having these symptoms, i would say that it would be in your best interest to stay very very very far away from drugs, esp. extacy, pot, shrooms, etc. no need to add extra hallucinatios to the mix.  psychadelic drugs severly exacerbated my mental illness in my late teens, and had i know how much damage i was doing to my mental health i wouldn't have gone there. 

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Penny has a good point, and I'd like to fine tune it.  I used to be very pro-pot legalization (why is it any more harmful than alcohol, etc?).

Marijuana has been found to VERY strongly bring out schizophrenic symptoms in those in whom it might merely have incubated forever.  Don't know really what this has to say about legalization as the population % with sz is pretty contant internationally at 1% so maybe there's no  legal implication. In any case,  it's definitely to avoid for anyone who might be extra susceptible. For that matter it makes things that much worse for those who are already so dxed.

(Though actually,  I know a bunch of people with sz who say they self-medicate with grass. Not sure what they mean, Maybe just that it helps them to forget the bad feelings of the negative symptoms even more than the positive ones.  Yeah,  "bad feelings"  = numbness, maybe the worst feeling of all.  )

JFTR I came out with my impression of sz along with the reinforcement of the beneifts of early treatment,  not only because it is my impression*(very cursory) but because I thought anyone with such a strong family history might have a well-founded experienced-based fear of extreme symptomatology.  Wanted to reassure that it does NOT have to be that way, expecally with early treatment.

Unfortunately lacking a good litmus test for sz often it is not dxed until late, and man - me too  - think that wastes valuable time,  This belief in the benefits seems to be an empirical  black box observation, without any real theory except for that of neurotoxity.

  (Note though, there is an  excellent eye tracking test which is very accurate and even before dx too.  A new Japanese goggle device was just patented.  in fact , to make ithe test that much more accessible to the general public.  Just shows how physical sz is.  One would think that would increase tolerance and  the equalization of treatment to a physical disease,  but so far...? )

*Any dx would hinge a great deal on clinical impressions which would NOT come accross on a message board - such as flatness of affect, tangentality of expression,  abiilty to perceive abstractions, etc.. Reminds me there are excellent paper and pencil tests too for certain typical cognitive deficits, especialy meaningful in a pattern rather than anything absolute. 

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Think I'll start a separate thread about this since there are so many writing in asking in effect, "am I crazy?" Specifically could I have sz.

Meanwhile here are some very useful links from schzophrenia.com (great site!) starting with the recently developed short form of the YAle Uni "PRIME " test (for the concerned party to fill out) - gives a notion of whether you may at risk. Of course, the advice is NOT a dx but  general guidelines  and directions on what to do if you score  in the high risk group (to seek out expert evaluation, natch)

and next I linked some centers specializing in evaluation, early dx and treatment.

http://www.schizophrenia.com/sztest/

PRIME test

http://www.schizophrenia.com/earlypsychosis.htm

centers and advice on finding the best evaluators including for prodromal  (early or at risk states)

http://www.schizophrenia.com/diag.php#diagnosis

general notes, and excellent links

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thanks for all the replies. 

it seems like most people who responded say im showing signs of schizophrenia. i guess i should see a doctor. but how do i go about telling my parents that i think im crazy and need to see a shrink?

im not using any drugs. I never have, not even pot. No alchohol either. As for being happy and getting by, i dont know. I guess i am kind've depressed, but it's not like i want to kill myself. but i just dont feel right. i use to have a few friends, but not anymore. i've never done to well in school, but my grades are getting even worse. and i have no energy and no desire to really do anything these days. I feel like nothingness  and like i dont care about anything.

thanks again for the help

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Yes it's going to be a difficult conversation.  But it should be a positive and hopeful one, because it will be the start of getting hold of the tiger and stopping him.

With all the relatives that have MI problems, do your parents have a good understanding of it?  How do they feel about it? Will they be in denial or accepting?

I suggest that you print out this thread and hand it too them as an ice breaker.  Time and again members here have used that as a way to say things that are hard to say.

Don't give up or delay, this is the first step in feeling better.

Best,

A.M.

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  [Hope this doesn't put you to sleep :embarassed: ]

(A long letter to Somebody who feels like Nobody, from somebody else  with a son your age who DOES have a diagnosis of schizophrenia),

It isn't really the label that matters.  It's how you feel. 

What matters about the word itself, is it does seem to be useful in deciding about treatments and so on with less trial and error. That

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