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What is Schizophrenia actually like?



Sep 4, 2009
I hope I don't offend any sufferers by asking but I've always been curious and uncomfortable to ask someone I know face to face

When you hear voices do they sound out loud? and in various voices? or is it like a thought you can't control?

Also do you always know they are 'voices' and not reality? or if in a busy environment are you sometimes unsure.

I often hear my own voice in my head saying things! but I guess that is just me thinking!!!

Please don't be offended by my ignorance


Well-known member
Founding Member
Dec 19, 2007
Different experiences for different people broadly covering what you have mentioned as possibilities; so all of the above for different people, at different times, and to varying degrees and/or none.


Well-known member
Jul 16, 2009
Its different for everyone....it also can vary a lot ....in times of stress symptoms can become worse and the world around you can become a very scary and unfamiliar place.


Well-known member
Sep 9, 2009
bradford west yorks

i have bi polar and when im get a manic phase i have vioces , but nit out ward voices just very loud close to my head , just saying my name , i get really bad thoughts as well ,of murder and stuff. it is truley awful . i see black shapes run along the carpet but out of the corner of my eyes, i will see the text on tv and joined up and you get frightened about if you are possessed by something :unsure:


my two penneth

i was diagnosed with schizophrenia. now its bipolar. from asocietal point of view that's like going from darth vader to bonzo the clown.

what links the two is psychosis. i despise using the language of psychiatry. so instead of saying psychosis i prefer t say phenomena.

the phenomena, for me anyway, as someone above noted, have covered quite a large range of thoughts, feelings, emotions, visions, voices, colours, insights and impulses over the years.

not all of it has been bad though. in fact, some of it has been pretty exhilarating - distortions of perception particularly so. the worst part for me has been the problems with focus, particularly in terms of planning and conversation. ask asimple question, get a 15 minute cosmic journey in full technicolour.

i'm much better at selfmanagement these days. i'm med-free and have been for, oooo, agood 8 years. however, i'm very erratic, which pains me sometimes, but you have to take the rough with the smooth.

through the work of ron coleman and others ive learnt to 'own' my experiences and through mostly self-taught CBT am now mostly able to rationalise the internal drama. its a struggle, isnt it for everyone? but, i'm humble, i really think that's vital to good mental health. so i take care to attend to the simple parts of life. like eating well, excercising daily (and not too excessively), taking time to rest etc

paranoia and suspicious thoughts and feelings are exhausting at times to keep under control, but i manage it, and just talking sometimes, just airing my concerns, make a big difference and keeps things in perspective.

theres a lot of suffering, a lot of pain - but, i keep my eye forwards and try and make each day count, in some positive way. being nice to someone, even if it's just a smile to a stranger and thena smile back (especially if she's pretty) little things like that, can give a needed boost.


Congratulations Mark on living & recovering med free :clap: - I know it can be done; & one day I hope to join you with my own med free recovery. I sincerely take my hat off to you.

However; I wouldn't expect too much acknowledgement from others - they will ignore & deny your experience - say that you weren't that ill to begin with; or that you are in fact ill, & just in denial.

The bio medical perspective is it would appear; still God to most people; & anything that doesn't match the bio medical psychiatric paradigm is denied, ignored & ridiculed.

But again; it's good to have you posting on the forum; & well done for successfully living a genuine med free recovery; & being brave enough to talk about it.



thank you mr apotheosis. before posting on here, i took a while to read around. i came across a number of your posts and you reminded me very much of myself on a number of occasions.

in my locale at least, there is very much an old school/new school division amongst professionals, with a few inbetween. they are under pressures too, never forget that, from politicians and the media. risk management is the name of the game. over-emphasising risk is where individual needs can sometimes become obfuscated.

my own journey, like anyone's, has involved both hard work (on myself and with others) and also a strong element of luck.

the luck part was eventually being assigned to a very progressive-minded cpn (who's now unsurprisingly risen rapidly through the ranks). it was she that took the time to listen to me. when you're diagnosed with schizophrenia, that can be the biggest first hurdle of all. and she listened, and listened, and listened... i started to see her in an almost angelic light - which was no wonder.

before her the paradox was: if I didn't take the psychoactives (I'd call them brain blanket bombers in those days) then no one wanted to listen; if I did take them, I could barely talk!

furthermore, if I denied or questioned the diagnosis or the scientific primacy of clinical psychiatry, I lacked insight. if I openly subscribed to it, I was deemed to have gained insight, though lost my sense of self...

this angel I encountered saw something in me - and I suppose she took the risk of giving me the chance. this meant building a new relationship based on trust. I understood my responsibilities to her, and vice versa.

with a hiccup here and there, ultimately it's worked out. I'm med-free (although can access short-term benzo's or sleepers if the old relapse signature starts to scrawl....)

as I said, the struggle continues, but on MY terms. having attained this position, which I desperately wanted for so long, I'm very careful not to have it taken away.

but no, no one has or does question or undermine the difficulties I have and continue to face. it's all very humanised and civil. again, I know this is not a common experience, and I know many people are out there struggling in their situations and having to struggle against a dogma that, in many ways, has taken the place in the state's bed that was once kept warm by religion.

I'm really emboldened and proud that you take hope from this lil' ole journey o' mine - and I feel great that it makes you feel positive and hopeful.

hope is such a fundamental human need - and traditionally psychiatry has overlooked it.

over a decade ago a psychiatrist said to me (I was on depot at the time, so lacked the intellectual rigour to answer back!): "It makes no difference whether you take the medication or not. it makes no difference whether you think it is damaging your brain. schizophrenia is a degenerative brain disease. year on year you will lose your intellectual faculties, whether you takes the drugs or you don't."

it was right there, right at the moment he uttered those very words, that my struggle against medical model began.

and if I ever have the misfortune of meeting that arrogant fool again I will take his hand and I will smile and I will say, "Thank you for being an idiot. I truly believe you saved my life."


the luck part was eventually being assigned to a very progressive-minded cpn (who's now unsurprisingly risen rapidly through the ranks). it was she that took the time to listen to me. when you're diagnosed with schizophrenia, that can be the biggest first hurdle of all. and she listened, and listened, and listened... i started to see her in an almost angelic light - which was no wonder.
Thank you Mark. Your story is inspirational & does give me hope.

Carl Jung commented that "When the Schizophrenic is fully understood; then he is no longer schizophrenic", or words to that effect.
It is very powerful & therapeutic to have someone really listen to our story & acknowledge our experience; to really listen with impartiality & without judgement, & your life is testament to that. I have never had this. I know 2 people that have had similar experiences to mine that are now off meds; but they still have many struggles; they have not had things to quite the extent that I have, & there are many aspects to my experience that they do not understand.
The truth is that no one understands me; & I have not found anyone that will truly listen - this is not through lack of trying.

I plod on. With many things I often feel very alone. But that is how things are; & hopefully they won't always be like that. I have kind of accepted the meds I am on for the time being (175mg Amisulpride), & I am trying to just accept taking them for the foreseeable future. I am going to not worry about it for 4 years, & then at 40 I will see how favourable my situation is to try another withdrawal. I just feel such a very deep sense of injustice with the way I have been treated in my life - but I suppose that the World is full of injustices.

I am glad that you are posting here. I hope that you can stick around. :)


Sep 16, 2009
Yorkshire, England
and if I ever have the misfortune of meeting that arrogant fool again I will take his hand and I will smile and I will say, "Thank you for being an idiot. I truly believe you saved my life."
Oh Mark!
LOL, love it. So elegant and simple and beautifully expressed - like flicking a switch, really embracing embracing what he taught you, taking the negative lesson and turning it in the opposite direction into a positive.
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