Does your illness make you think horrible things about people you love? If so I can relate. Sometimes my intrusive thoughts can become violent in nature. I have bad thoughts of hurting the people closest to me. These thoughts are disturbing and make me feel like a monster. Sometimes the voices command me to hurt others but that is the last thing I want to do. I don't want to hurt anyone, especially people I love. In reality most people with schizophrenia are not violent at heart. Our illness can cause us to have violent tendencies as a result of hallucinations or delusions. As terrible as it is for others we must always remember how terrifying it is for the person with schizophrenia. Sometimes our own mind is our worst enemy. We don't want to think of others in such a vile way but our illness brings us there. It's painful and disturbing to experience these symptoms. I want you to know that if you have violent hallucinations or delusions it doesn't make you a bad person. Just take a step back and recognize that it's just your illness trying to mess with you. Never act on these symptoms. It won't get better by listening to your delusions. It will only get worse. Just keep taking your meds and battle your thoughts. Your good nature will always overpower the violent nature of your illness.
The delusions and hallucinations people with schizophrenia experience can be socially and culturally relative. In particular people with schizophrenia may hear voices (auditory hallucinations) differently depending on their cultural context. In the United States voices tend to be harsher and in Africa and India more benign. In western culture people are constantly subjected to violence through movies and video games. I find this interesting because I am truly not a violent person but my mind crosses this boundary on a regular basis. So don't blame yourself if your illness has violent tendencies. There's often more to what we experience than we realize.
Feeling paranoid?! Well so was I today. These thoughts don't come on their own, they are generally triggered by something in my environment. My biggest triggers are white vans, and white jeeps. I saw them everywhere today. When I was in the hospital I started to believe that my employers were conspiring against me and everyone in a white jeep or van was involved in some way. I can laugh about it now but at the time it was difficult having these thoughts after growing up with a mother who was extremely paranoid. That's the last thing I wanted to experience. The human brain is programmed to perceive danger but in the mind of someone with schizophrenia the brain sends perceptions along the wrong path, leading to the wrong conclusion. For a lot of people with schizophrenia it is common to be paranoid. It doesn't mean we are weird or different because we are hyper vigilant towards our surroundings at times. It just means we are human and our brain is trying to protect us. The message that we are not in danger is still there- it just got a little lost along the way
A large majority of people with schizophrenia have auditory hallucinations. It is one of the most common symptoms but not everyone experiences it the same. Some people hear demonic, angelic, or monotone voices while others just hear regular voices. It can be the voice of someone they know or a random voice that they've never heard before. It can be a terrifying experience to be tormented with voices. I don't suffer from auditory hallucinations at the moment but they did effect me at one point in my life. My first experience I could hear a monotone voice trying to convince me to end my life. Voices can often be cruel to the person experiencing them but this isn't always the case. Some people with schizophrenia hear kind voices. The monotone voice I heard would make comments to me like "you're worthless" "nobody cares about you" and "just hang yourself". This went on for about a month and I came very close to ending my life. Partly because I wanted to and partly because of the voice telling me to. To be honest, I didn't think much of this experience at the time. It wasn't until I heard a whispering that I started to think something more could be going on. I couldn't make out with the whisper was saying but it was enough to freak me out. All of this led to my first full blown episode of psychosis and I was hospitalized. Medications control auditory hallucinations for me but that isn't the case for everyone. My heart goes out to those of you who struggle daily with your voices. I hope you find a positive way to cope. Always remember that you are stronger than your voices