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Delusional Schizophrenia & Facing Fear

Diagnosis to Success Part 8

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When suffering symptoms like being paranoid and delusional, schizophrenia can be a rather terrifying experience. In my experience, it feels like schizophrenia amplifies your fears in every waking moment of your life. Not only amplifies, but concocts new ones to help ruin your day. In my years of having this paranoia and these delusions, my best tool for managing them is confronting them head-on. To me, paranoia and delusions is fear knocking on my door. Instead of turning off the lights and hiding in the corner, I open the door and say, “yes, may I help you?”

If you’re not familiar with how one might experience delusions, check out this post where I talk about what it’s like to have them. In another post, I also give an example of how silly and mundane delusions can be. For me, the majority of my delusions are about fear. They are about someone or something trying to hurt me or is hurting me. It happens multiple times a day. Some days more than others. Fear knocking on the door.

It’s hard being fearless when facing delusional schizophrenia

In my experience, fear is like a confrontation happening in public. The confrontation escalates and someone pulls out a knife. Surely, you would immediately pull out your phone and call the police. Yet, studies have shown that we can succumb to the bystander effect and a violent event can come and go long before someone will take action. In my experience, this so easily happens with ourselves when facing paranoia and delusions. Whether literally or figuratively, we look away and pretend it’s not there.

For me, I always shifted my gaze and hope things would go away. Generally, the fear would eventually go away, but it could take hours, days, years, or even decades. Please name one person on this planet who has time for that! Not me! Yet, that’s how I lived. A perpetual victim under the bystander effect hypnosis. A slave to my delusions and paranoia. A slave to my fear.

Experiment with your fear

Then, one day, I did an experiment. At the time, I was doing a lot of meditation. I was finding that in certain mental states, my brain would undergo this mildly soothing buzzing in my upper spine and cerebellum. I noticed that I could feel fear in my spine as well. So, my experiment was this: What if I make myself even more scared? I wanted to feel what my spine would feel like if I was as afraid as I could possibly be.

The moment came when my usual delusional schizophrenia took over. There was something lurking in the shadows, stalking me. In this case, I had in my mind that a much creepier, real-life version of Minecraft’s enderman was stalking me. In Minecraft, if you look into their eyes, it is one of the most terrifying things that can happen in-game. I immediately knew what to do. I looked straight into what I thought were the eyes of the enderman. The first 2 seconds felt like an eternity. It felt exactly like my meditations โ€” a surge of love and emotion. Then, after that 2 seconds were over, my delusion was replaced with reality. All that was left was a pedestrian crossing sign. Hah! I was nearly peeing myself because of a traffic sign.

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Life is an ongoing series of lessons. Because I live with schizophrenia, my hope is that the lessons I learn and the solutions that come from those lessons will help you and anyone else dealing with schizophrenia or mental illness/mental health issues.

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