Please Don’t Laugh Behind My Back by Moonlight
One of the symptoms of schizophrenia is the presence of delusions. Delusions are fixed, false beliefs that are unshakeable in the face of logic, that are usually in keeping with the person’s belief systems and often change with the times. Throughout the course of my illness I have suffered from many delusions and they are very debilitating, frightening and alienating.
Sometimes I believe I am the daughter of Satan and responsible for all evil or bad things that happen in the world. This belief causes tremendous suffering and guilt and causes me to isolate myself from other people for fear of contaminating them with my evil. There are other times when I believe that people are plotting to harm me in some way or that I am being spied upon in my own home. Such paranoid delusions are paralyzing in their intensity and the fear and debilitation is enormous.
Often I believe that I am being spied upon even by members of my own family and that my home is bugged and I am too afraid to speak too much to my husband in case I say the wrong thing. I mistrust friends and don’t even feel safe using the internet for it seems to me that I can be observed this way too and my thoughts broadcast over the net for all to see and ridicule.
There is no safe place to hide when these delusions strike and it takes extra antipsychotic medication for these symptoms to subside. Often it can take a while though to work.
It is difficult for family and friends to understand the changes in me and I don’t blame them. At the best of times I am unsure of people’s feelings towards me. I always expect people to hurt me and tend to be hyper vigilant to any signs of rejection. You can imagine this only becomes worse when I am delusional.
Living in fear of attack I often withdraw and find communication difficult. Who can you trust when you feel attacked from all sides? Often hallucinations accompany delusions and threatening voices and visions and even tactile hallucinations compound the fear and terror.
I may walk among you laughing when I am manic, with tears when I am depressed but when I’m psychotic, please understand if I ask you not to laugh at me behind my back.