Schizophrenia, in its simplest terms, is a mental disorder most often characterized by a failure to grasp reality. You may hear voices that others can't, or think in confused and muddied ways. Additional mental problems, such as anxiety and depression, sometimes follow with a schizophrenic diagnosis. It can affect how a person thinks, feels, and acts. To even begin to understand what it's like to have it is a monumental wall to overcome. You can try, though.
Reddit user, u/woodside37, wanted to better understand what those with the mental disorder experience when they asked:
Schizophrenics of Reddit; What is the scariest hallucination (visually or audibly) that you have ever experienced?
Helping A Friend Down The Black HallGiphy
My friend in college was schizophrenic. We were once hanging out in his dorm room at night (maybe 11pm/midnight) and he got up to go to the bathroom... He opened the door and stopped, staring at the empty hallway. He asked me to come to the door and tell him if something seemed weird. I walk up to the door and see nothing strange in the hall and tell him so. He asks me if I can hear something, I say no. He said he heard muffled crying or arguing or something coming from down the hall. And he saw a pitch black hallway when it was actually fully lit. He said the hall was BLACK not just dark or dimly lit. At this point he is shaking and I'm terrified because I don't know he's sick, we're both on the verge of tears. I'm not even sure he knew he was sick at the time. I ended up walking him to the bathroom and then spending the night in his room because he could still hear someone crying in the hall. I thought for the longest time he was pulling my leg, but he ended up going to therapy and getting on meds very shortly after that night, so it was a terrifying and very real moment for him too.
The Voices Can't Speak
Fortunately the scariest I've ever had is just people calling my name from another room when I know I'm the only person in the house. My audible hallucinations don't have a great vocabulary, and most of the time just sound like someone doing jazz scat, which is kind of annoying and makes it hard to sleep. Visually I'll sometimes see people standing in windows who aren't there on a second glance, or small shadows darting around like mice. I'm extremely fortunate that my symptoms are relatively mild.
The People Who Weren't ThereGiphy
As for my scariest hallucination? It will always be my first visual hallucination.
I was in school, like, 10th grade, and I'd heard voices for a bit now, to the point that I was almost getting used to the fact that I hear things others don't. I remember getting up from my desk to use the toilet, and when I got out of the room, I see this man with no face, just standing there facing me. At first I just thought my eyes were messing with me, so I blink a couple times, shake my head a little bit, and look back. And he's gone. No way he could have moved in those empty, silent hallways without me hearing it, but he's gone. So I just go to the bathroom, thinking it's kinda weird, but not thinking too much about it. I even joked with myself that "now I'm seeing things too haha".
But when I got to the bathroom, he's there again, standing in the doorway. I stop and just kind of stare for a second, more curious than anything, then I think: "well maybe he's just wearing a mask or something", and I ask if he can move over and let me in the bathroom, but then this other kid comes out and asks who I'm talking to, right as he walks through the faceless guy. I just stand there, speechless, cause what do you say in that situation? The kid looks at me like I'm weird, but then just walks away. The dude with no face moves over to let me by, and I give him as wide a berth as I can while I go in, never taking my eyes off him. He followed me into the bathroom, and a few seconds later this girl walks in, and I begin telling her that she's in the wrong bathroom (I'm a guy fyi), when I notice that she doesn't have a face either. They both begin walking towards me, and at that point I'm pretty damn scared, so I go and hide in one of the stalls and bawl my eyes out, cause at this point I realize that I'm pretty much just crazy. I didn't come out until the staff came and talked me into it.
The two of them (the guy and the girl) show up every now and again (note, I've since graduated and moved away from there, but they still show up wherever I am), but they never do anything, so I don't know what to make of it, but that first time scared the living sh-t out of me.
Memories That Never WereGiphy
Schizoaffective, bipolar subtype.
Sometimes I have very vivid memories of things that didn't happen. And they make me second guess every single thing that I can remember or know because if my memory failed me once, why wouldn't it fail me twice?
And then everything spirals downwards.
Do You Know Your Own Body?Giphy
One of the veins in my eye was actually a worm that was eating my brain and thats why I had headaches.
Also: random sharp pains and itches are bugs crawling all over my skin, trapped in my shoes, etc. I double check my shoes every time I put them on with a flashlight but still have to take them off occasionally to check.
The Screams Are NormalGiphy
I had a patient with schizophrenia. Full visual and auditory hallucinations. Off of his meds and screaming in public. Demons were coming out of the ground trying to grab him. They were yelling at him various obscene things.
Weird part was that once we are on scene, he calmed down and recognized the uniforms. Fully cooperative, but that was an interesting patient history.
Are you having hallucinations?
Yup. describes them in detail
So how are you so calm right now?
This is normal when I am off my meds and I know I am in an ambulance.
THIS WAS NORMAL FOR HIM
I have psychosis and it usually is worst when I'm alone or at night. Doubly so if I'm alone at night. When I was housetraining my puppy I had him outside at 3am, and I saw what looked like the KKK and some witches having a seance. I then heard whispers mentioning killing and saw the group start walking up the street towards my house.
Thankfully, that's the worst it's ever been. I do still have minor fleeting hallucinations when I'm stressed, but it's more like seeing a shadow out of the corner of my eye and is much easier to ignore.
Snipers. One Friday evening I was watching TV, and happened to be playing with a flashlight that I'd left on the coffee table. Boom, next thing you know I'm in a full blown hallucination. I heard a special forces team out the window, as they were sneaking out of my back yard. I flashed the light around the room, and they got quiet, and they misunderstood my intent; they thought the light was mounted on a rifle.
Next thing you know they're calling me outside as part of a SWAT response, and I'm on my hands and knees on my porch in the dead of knight, asking them to please not shoot me. I must have stayed out there about two hours, with my hands locked behind my head, as the snipers got more and more nervous about what I might do.
Eventually they decided that there was no way to defuse the situation, and they shot me. I spent about five minutes laying dead on my front porch, then crawled inside my house to die. I phoned my mom to let her know that I'd been shot and that special forces had killed me. Needless to say she wasn't buying it, and talked me down to earth a little bit, but that wasn't the end of it.
She had me go to the ER, and stayed with me on the phone until I got there. I'm still in full blown hallucination mode, so while I'm waiting in the ER I hear the leader of the special forces unit chatting with the front desk nurse. He knows that I'm there, and is coming to get me. Luckily the doctor found me first, and didn't really know what to do with me, so he gave me 2 milligrams of Ativan and discharged me.
So I drive home, still hallucinating and now somewhat high from the Ativan, and I see all types of crazy stuff on the way home. Once I get home the Ativan mellows the hallucinations into something enjoyable, and I spend the rest of the weekend with playful hallucinations.
I can't really describe the fear of having special forces snipers aiming at you for two hours straight
Do You Know The Sound...?Giphy
Accidentally skipped a dose once and she came to school hysterical that didn't want to go back home. Heard someone chewing human meat under her bed.
How does one even know what that sounds like?
What's Not Real For You Is Real To Them
Had a patient with lewy body dementia. Not schizophrenia, but produced horrific hallucinations. I was working noc shift (10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and my office was close to her room. She would scream and scream and scream all night long. I would go and sit with her and ask her if something was scaring her. She saw people waiting in the shadows in the corner of her room. She heard them laughing. Saw their faces contourting. She felt rats crawling up and down her body. She was still pretty with it and you were able to have lucid conversations with her. Had a sense of humor like you wouldn't believe. She knew what she was experiencing were hallucinations. But that didnt make them any less real to her. Eventually she stopped being able to discern what was real and what wasnt. She died a few months ago. I worked with her for two years and miss her every damn day.