Cecilia’s Life with Schizophrenia (Living with Hallucinations)

when you tell somebody that you have schizophrenia how do you want them to react I want them to not be afraid of me and not to look at me any differently than they had looked at me before how often do you hear voices my Maya hallucinations are almost 24/7 it’s something that I just have learned to live with I often say I’m just someone who can turn off my nightmares even when I’m awake that’s not a reason to be scared of me thank you for being so honest no problem have you had these hallucinations while we’ve had this discussion right now I don’t answer that question yeah I I’ve I’ve sort of made it as like a rule with myself not to really talk about whether or not I have a meaning at that moment because then the first response is oh where is that hallucination and then a common reaction is then everyone in the room looks that direction I don’t know why they’re not going to see anything but that’s just like the reaction and that’s very dangerous because then you have real life interacting with your hallucination and that could really hurt the psyche my junior year of high school I started hallucinating a clown it actually very much resembles the order application of Stephen King’s it so it wasn’t it wasn’t a good good time yeah this for it is very was very very frightening I actually long I mean they thought that I’ve had schizophrenia all of my life like it started out as shadows and whispers and it just sort of developed into what I have now but at first I thought I was possessed and let me just tell you that’s a lot a lot more scary then realizing you have a chemical imbalance inside your head so that’s why I promote education so much because it it’s often said that you fear what you don’t understand so me understanding more about my diagnosis makes me less afraid my first time I ever told anyone outside of my family was my high school boyfriend I at this time I didn’t know what schizophrenia was and I mean I don’t blame him we neither of us knew what schizophrenia was but I told him about the clown who SaLuSa Nations and he had never seen the movie yet so he ended up looking it up and he actually thought it was more funny than scary and so he kind of laughed it off and I just that that really made it difficult to ever like I really did not open up until college then to anyone outside my family because I thought if my boyfriend doesn’t you know understand then a random friend won’t I lost control of everything and that’s what ended up resulting in the suicide attempt would it be okay if I asked you a few questions about that suicide attempt okay I don’t talk very much about it but if I’m not comfortable let you know yeah let me know right away okay why did you believe that was your only option it’s because I didn’t feel like I could be the person who I wanted to be and that people wouldn’t accept me as a person that wouldn’t accept my diagnosis really it’s the worry of the real voices like I I hear voices in my head but it’s really the fear of what real people like real voices have to say than the ones I hallucinate in my head like those are the ones that matter to me more what do you fear others saying I’m afraid that they they will think of me as a freak I have been called a freak I’ve been called crazy I’ve been called deranged I’ve been called very nasty words what would you prefer to be called Cecilia my name I’ve joked that if there’s Academy Awards for just acting normal people who have schizophrenia would definitely definitely be nominated so sometimes you’re giving 100% of your energy and effort just to staying composed that is that is correct yeah that’s why I also have to stay away from triggers trigger that I have is actually a lot of red and white I have these hallucinations such as the clown and I also hallucinate this girl like from from like similar to like from the ring and she’s the worst like she she has a knife and she sometimes like stabs me sometimes in the face our conversations like this therapeutic for you do you hope people are able to have these or would you rather just have them treat you as the person I I think both I think in conversations like these are important but then also I don’t want every time I interact with that person to just be sort of their their database of questions of about people who have schizophrenia like if I’m off someone’s friend I want to be their friend I’ve had a friend that actually said I can’t talk to you anymore because I don’t know what’s going on in your head while I’m talking to you but I mean do we really know what’s going on in anyone’s head when we’re talking to them you have that fear of people thinking that you’re crazy but getting that help is so so important and something that you you really just can’t don’t let don’t let anyone get in your way for that especially yourself if you could change one thing in your life what would it be hmm that’s a that’s a really good question I wish that I got treatment earlier for my schizophrenia because I look back at especially when I had a suicide attempt of just really the the fear of the diagnosis and the fear of the stigma just paralyzing me I wish that I didn’t have that fear if somebody wants to be your friend and connect with you what’s the best way to do that just be genuine I guess just just be nice I don’t I don’t have a good answer answer to that just I know play games with me when I feel I love playing games of for example when I feel down my roommate plays board games with me just being able to interact and have those type of moments where we aren’t on like electronic advice like I don’t have a phone I that’s a pet peeve of mine is if people are like staring at their phones so just having those genuine like game oh oh I sound like an old person but you know like board game night how are you able to separate reality from those hallucinations I’m very lucky that the things that I hallucinate are not usually things that would be in regular day life the exception to that is I sometimes hallucinate spiders and the small spiders are the ones that I have difficulty with because we see you know we see little spiders in everyday life so that’s the only time I have a difficulty discerning whether or not it’s a hallucination or not however if I’m gonna say hallucinating a giant spider one comes into mine that’s like a large spider with like leathery skin yellow body black legs and like when it’s its legs moved around it’s it’s not no voice came out of his mouth but like the creaking of the legs out like children laughing like that’s see that’s not something you’ll see in everyday life so you see that often spiders are some of the more common things I see I really will not rest until anyone who has schizophrenia anywhere worldwide is not afraid to say the words I have schizophrenia what’s something that’s important for the world to understand about you and I’m not a monster and that I’m more than a plot twist in a movie or that conversation people have after a mass shooting again people who have schizophrenia are more likely to be the abuse victim rather than the abusers the good guys get schizophrenia too and the majority of them are good guys

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