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Signs you're heading into an episode


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Let's just preface this with the fact that I'm not currently on antipsychotics, only zoloft for depression.

 

I have been blissfully happy about 98% of the time for the last few months, right up until the weekend past.

 

Mostly I'm just wondering whether I should be seeing a psychiatrist about what's been going on, or just potter along as I am. (I haven't been to see a psychologist or psychiatrist for about 6 months due to financial difficulties, and am reasonably reluctant to visit as the last one ordered an ecg, mri and abilify (all brain medication apart from zoloft has only ever succeeded in making me 10000 times worse, and I need to retain the capacity to think and function in order to do my degree).

 

For example, I've had a lot of trouble getting to sleep in the past few weeks. I've had occasional bouts of paranoia about people I've met (fear of being vulnerable/being taken advantage of), and I'm about 3/4 convinced there's a camera in my smoke detector and the landlord/admin is keeping watch on me. I've had occasional suspicions I'm hallucinating (particularly today), although it's always hard to judge unless I actually ask someone whether they can see them too (as they're like black dots that generally look and behave like tiny flies. I guessed it might be hallucination today when I was getting a blood test, because there was no logical reason for a swarm of fruit flies to be in such a spartan place). I find myself feeling extremely flat at the moment, getting increasingly apathetic/uninterested in everything (especially people) and feel like I have no energy. I find I am increasingly forgetting common words, and conversation can be exhausting because I am constantly losing track of what we are talking about/having difficulty processing what is going on.

 

More or less, I haven't had mood symptoms, but I suspect the schizo symptoms are beginning to impact my life.

 

I am wondering if you guys knew/experience any clear signs you're heading into an episode?

 

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Lack of sleep and getting too stressed out (or stressed in any way).  These will 100% trigger hallucinations (both visual and auditory) with me.

 

I would definitely find a pdoc and get things under control, so you don't spiral out of control into an episode, while not having a pdoc to go to for help.  Sometimes pdocs/tdocs have sliding scale fees ... can you ask about that (or do they say only full pay/insurance/etc)?

 

I know when I am heading into an episode when I start to believe delusions more than reality, even though I know reality is what to believe.  But sometimes even I know the difference, I can be swayed easily by what the voices tell me/think to me. 

 

But if I feel any sort of stress for a prolonged period of time, and if I am not sleeping enough, I know I will start hallucinating more.

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i tend to stop sleeping and stop eating and stop leaving the house during the daytime. it kinda creeps up on me though and i don't see those things as happening when they're happening, if that makes sense. but other people do. in hindsight i can say that my "delusions" take up all of my time and the voices get far worse and more numerous...and more pressing. and i start seeing more things that others i later find aren't seeing. mostly people, but not always. sometimes portals. 

 

when it's happening though i don't see it as ...like...i'm convinced i'm right and everyone else is fucking with me, thwarting me, trying to discredit me. if i had insight when i was actually sick i would say that, that absolutely certainty and inability and refusal to even consider that there are explanations for my experiences apart from what i'm thinking or that "coincidences" are possible or a number of other things...that rigidity is probably what should be my biggest tip off.

 

i also get very self isolative. i don't want to be around other people and i won't make eye contact and i become really fearful which makes me more ...aggressive in a sense, about technology. i start making accusations that are probably unfounded... the problem, as i said, is that i can say all of that right now, and others can see it, but in the moment i am unable to be swayed.

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I can relate to all of the SZ symptoms in your life right now. I have them too. My mood is pretty good too. Maybe a bit blue but it's circumstantial for sure.

 

Anyway, to answer your question.

 

I don't sleep, I don't trust anyone or any event, I hear more or louder voices telling me to harm myself or do something bad, I feel very flat, no enjoyment in anything, no motivation to do anything, anxious, very anxious, etc.

 

That is how I know I'm doing worse SZ symptom wise.

 

Mood wise (since I'm SZA BP or SZ type apparently), I can get manic or depressed. I wont get into that since I think you are mostly asking about SZ symptoms. 

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The black dots might be part of a migraine aura. I used to think my auras were hallucinations because I didn't get headaches, but then I found out migraines are not always accompanied by pain (acephalgic migraine).

 

One thing to prevent this is eating well...if I don't eat right and my blood sugars crash (i don't have diabetes btw) then I go into overload/dissociation mode real easy.

 

If you're taking Zoloft, its always good to check up with a psychiatrist, especially for regular blood work to make sure you are on the ideal dose. If you don't trust your psychiatrist, is there a way for you to find another?

Edited by Manuel
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Thanks all for your replies! Currently in the process of finding a pdoc that'll bulk bill. Sadly I've left the psychiatrist I did trust in another state of the country.

 

That's really interesting about the migraines Manuel, thankyou, I'll enquire about that too.

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i also get very self isolative. i don't want to be around other people and i won't make eye contact and i become really fearful which makes me more ...aggressive in a sense, about technology. i start making accusations that are probably unfounded... the problem, as i said, is that i can say all of that right now, and others can see it, but in the moment i am unable to be swayed.

 

Yes.. I self isolate too... I withdraw as much as possible and eye contact for me also decreases.. I think it is because I feel so exposed and raw... or that maybe too much will be communicated through my eyes... 

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I also stop making eye contact and isolate...I believe in my delusions much more strongly than usual (I spend all my time thinking about them), I start hearing voices again, and I don't want to talk or socialize with anyone.

 

^Me too.  I don't want to socialize with anyone in reality.  It's almost like the delusional life is so much more interesting and seems to revolve around me in a way that draws me into it more.

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I also stop making eye contact and isolate...I believe in my delusions much more strongly than usual (I spend all my time thinking about them), I start hearing voices again, and I don't want to talk or socialize with anyone.

 

^Me too.  I don't want to socialize with anyone in reality.  It's almost like the delusional life is so much more interesting and seems to revolve around me in a way that draws me into it more.

 

 

^THIS (in the bold).

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

I start focusing more on what's going on in my own head trying to manage my thoughts and reactions.

It becomes increasingly difficult to drive, it's too overwhelming. I don't want to leave the house.

By the time my sleep is impacted, I'm in crisis.

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I also stop making eye contact and isolate...I believe in my delusions much more strongly than usual (I spend all my time thinking about them), I start hearing voices again, and I don't want to talk or socialize with anyone.

 

^Me too.  I don't want to socialize with anyone in reality.  It's almost like the delusional life is so much more interesting and seems to revolve around me in a way that draws me into it more.

 

 

^THIS (in the bold).

 

 

I so agree with this! My schizo world is so much more interesting than my real life world that I wonder if I didn't create it somehow just out of complete boredom.

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