Living with Schizophrenia: Effects of Schizophrenia
If you’re at risk for this devastating mental illness, perhaps you’ve asked yourself, “What will life be like if I have schizophrenia?” A few years ago, National Public Radio (NPR) ran a story about a program called, The Sights and Sounds of Schizophrenia, in which a drug company (Janssen Pharmaceutica) created a simulation of the effects of schizophrenia - what it's like experiencing the symptoms of schizophrenia.
People don headphones and goggles, during the simulation, for a trip into the virtual world of someone living with schizophrenia. Here’s a video by the same drug company that will give you a taste of what life with schizophrenia is like. Warning, it’s a powerful video with a look into a patient’s reported experience with the mental illness. You may not want to watch the video if you think you may have schizophrenia now or have had a psychotic episode in the past.
"I have schizophrenia," says movie siren, Megan Fox
Did Megan Fox really say, "I have schizophrenia"? Sort of. After Transformers director, Michael Bay, fired her from the set of the third sequel in the Transformers series, Revenge of the Fallen, Fox is quoted as saying, "I constantly struggle with the idea that I think I’m a borderline personality – or that I have bouts of mild schizophrenia." This just goes to show you that anyone can develop a mental illness like schizophrenia. Of course, no one knows if Fox really suffers from this devastating disease, but the fact that she openly admits that she believes something is wrong and that she needs help is commendable.
The Effects of Schizophrenia
The effects of schizophrenia can prove devastating if left untreated. Imagine having both visual and aural (sound) hallucinations in your everyday life. You feel you have special powers – perhaps magical powers – or that you’re friends with the president. To you, it’s not a fantasy; it’s real. You may hear voices that no one else hears. These voices may say negative things to you, like saying you’re stupid or worthless. They may tell you someone is trying to harm you or those that you love. The voices may instruct you to protect yourself or those you love by taking action against those who want to harm you or them. You may even see things and people that aren’t there.
Living With Schizophrenia When Properly Treated by a Doctor
People living with schizophrenia process information differently than a normal person does. If treated with medications and therapy, life with schizophrenia can look just like anyone else’s normal life – with a few differences. Some days you may need to leave work early because you’re just having one of your “bad spells”. Other days, your different way of looking at and processing the world may cause co-workers to value your creativity and ability to recognize patterns across large swaths of data.
There will be times when you might pick up "extra information" about the people around you. You may feel like everyone can see into your mind. But, when treated properly by a physician, most of the time these disorganized thought processes just reside quietly in the back of the mind.
It is possible to live a fairly normal life with schizophrenia. To do so, you must follow your doctor’s orders and take your medication as instructed and when instructed. Get some support from community groups in your area and attend any counseling sessions ordered by your physician.
Last Updated: 14 July 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD