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18 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because You Have Schizophrenia

Sure, “schizophrenia” has a literal, medical definition, but living with the hallucinations and delusions that come with it can be harder to define. As Mighty contributor Rivky Gee said in her piece, “To Anyone Seeking ‘Clarity’ About Schizophrenia” — “There is no clarity… The brain is still a mystery and research is ongoing. And no two brains are alike, making it all the more complex to simply figure out.”

This isn’t helped by the fact that despite spreading mental health awareness, schizophrenia is still widely misunderstood. That’s why to find out more about schizophrenia, we have to turn to the people who actually live with it. We teamed up with Bring Change to Mind to do just that, asking people in our communities to share one thing people don’t realize they’re doing because they live with schizophrenia.

Let’s spread understanding. Here’s what they shared with us: 

1. “I always have music playing as much as possible so I can sing to drown out the voices. I’m lucky my work plays music 24/7 and I know most of the songs, thus I spend my work day in good mood because customers think/see happy singing and I’m able to focus and be functional.” — Kaytlan B.

2. “Keeping to myself because I feel like the stigma of schizophrenia scares them away from me.” — Steve P.

3. “Not making eye contact. Some people throw a vibe that just makes it impossible for me to keep eye contact with them.” — Katrenia G. 

4. “Checking that people still like me. Making sure that the voices are lying when they say people hate me.” — Sophie E.

5. “Constantly trying not to dissociate in the middle of conversations.” — Desireé M.

6. “One of the things I have to do is sleep with earplugs in to drown out the voices both in the house and in my head.” — Emi S.

If you need a safe place to talk about your experiences with schizophrenia, The Mighty’s app can help. Download it here, and connect with others using the hashtag #schizophrenia.

7. “I’m pretty quiet in social situations most of the time. Some consider it rude or strange, or even think I’m ‘stupid.’ What they don’t realize is that I’m constantly dwelling deep within the dark depths of my mind and soul. Straining to keep sane and keep the delusions and bleak thoughts at bay. It requires quite a lot of mental effort.” — Lennox E.

8. “I start touching random objects and grabbing ahold of them to keep from letting the tactile hallucinations take over.” — Annie H.

9. “I’m actually paying attention to everything that’s going on. I might seem distracted, but I don’t miss much.” — Melody W. 

10. “When I get snappy with family and friends or easily annoyed, I do not mean to cause hurt. Inside my head is overloaded with busyness or thoughts and voices, so sometimes others making small talk can be too much of an overload in an already congested mind. When I push people away, I am afraid of losing them.” — Oliver A.

11. “I deliberately avoid the happiest moments of life because I am utterly terrified of having it being cruelly taken away from me (such as losing a wife or dream job) by the universe.” — Eugene S.

12. “When I ask you if you called me or if you saw that — I’m not making some kind of joke. I literally need you to help keep me grounded. Oh, and I always have music in my ears because it’s a distraction from the voices (voices which won’t ever shut up).” — Brianna P.

13. “I experience delusions, hallucinations and my mind misconstrues things that are there. I’ll reach out and touch objects just to make sure they are really there and stare at things to determine they are what they are. Most people don’t realize or even notice what I’m doing.” — Robert B.

14. “I can be paranoid of everyone, so I’m really socially sensitive. I stay withdrawn instead of allowing closeness though I don’t mean to be that way.” — Nicole E.

15. “I’m socially awkward and I don’t know what to say to family members or give my opinion about things without it being weird.” — Lexi W.

16. “Constant eye shifting during conversation.” — Liv I.

17. “They think that I’m ignoring them or ‘day dreaming’ when I’m trying to fight voices or noise in my head and come up with a response.” — Ty M.

18. “I prefer to stay in dark rooms because I see fewer hallucinations.” — Shannon M.

What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.