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When It Feels Like You're Just Existing in Life With Schizophrenia

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At the age of 19 I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. At that time everything was new to me, I didn’t know how to deal with it and didn’t even know what the symptoms were.

I went to a psychiatrist and to be honest, I don’t recall what I said at the time, but I remember what I felt. I was going into a bad direction, and if it weren’t for my parents I’d probably be dead right now.

I remember feeling I was living a dream, nothing seemed real, the lights were ultra shiny and I had stopped eating. Also I experienced sleep paralysis almost three times a week. I also remember feeling everyone was looking at me, judging me, spying on me and wanted to demean me or hit me. There were times where I really felt like someone was chasing me.

Eight years later here I stand. I’m not where I want to be nor who I want to be. I’ve gained a lot of weight due to the medication, my mind isn’t as good as it was before the illness and most likely will never be as good again. Since then I’ve tried to kill myself two times. But luckily I’m still here!

I also struggle with anxiety, which sometimes doesn’t let me do anything I want. I can’t be in large crowds or I’ll freak out. I smoke a lot, like 15-20 cigarettes by day. It’s been tough dealing with this.

How have I been dealing with this mental condition? Well, not great. There are times I feel I’ll beat this, but there are also times when I just want to end everything. The thing that bothers me is I don’t want to die, I just want to make my pain, my suffering, disappear. I want to live without this anguish, I want to live and at the moment I’m not living, I’m just here — existing.

Also I’ve been dealing with anhedonia. I can’t enjoy any kind of pleasure in almost anything. Gaming? I can’t play games for too long, play 15 minutes and the “magic” disappears. Books? I can’t focus! Watching television and movies? No, I can’t do that yet.

Writing? Depends.

I like to write even though I know it’s not brilliant prose, but at least it’s something real and raw.

I’ve had a mental crises, the one I remember most was in 2013. I had stopped taking the meds and I started to believe there were cameras in my room, watching every step of mine. I thought everyone was involved, from my parents to my psychiatrist. I exploded and punched the door, threw my laptop to the ground — it was horrific.

How do I live with this?

Well I don’t, I can’t live, I only exist…

Can you relate to André’s story? Let him know in the comments below.

Originally published: December 17, 2020
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