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Schizophrenia Message Board


Schizophrenia Board Index


Hi. I’m new here. I know this is going to be long so I appologize in advance. Just a little family background to start with… I was the youngest of 4 children and I’m the only one of us siblings who hasn’t attempted suicide. When I was 5 and my oldest brother was 14, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He believed that everyone around him was out to get him… Except for me. When I was a young child, he confided in me, because I was the only one that he trusted. I think in some ways I learned not to stir things up because I knew that if I did, the tiniest thing could send him into a rage. My sister, who was about the same age as my brother, had mental health issues of her own…mainly depression, but she was a very rebellious teenager. My parents kept a police scanner in their room just to help keep track of them. Looking back, I can’t think of anything that my parents did very wrong… I think they were very overwhelmed, but they coped pretty well and never gave up on getting help for my brother and sister… But through this all, I was a little girl, and I’m sure it helped to shape me in more way than one… My other brother and I were much younger and I think that our innocence was really prized, and we knew it… We never wanted to disappoint anyone, and to this day, we still don’t.

Anyways, as far as I go… I was diagnosed with selective mutism at the age of 4. In time I became more capable of forcing myself to talk in social situations, but I have always been very shy and reserved, have never fit in and have always felt anxious that others were judging me. At 16 I fell in love for the first time and although it wasn’t an abusive relationship, it wasn’t a respectful one, either… On top of that, my only two friends disappeared because they were devoted Christians who decided they couldn’t be friends with an agnostic. I found myself very alone in the world, and I didn’t know how to communicate my pain to my boyfriend… Then one day I took a razor and slit a tiny cut on my wrist, not over the vein but near it, just because I wanted to know what it might be like to kill myself... My boyfriend went ballistic and for the first time I felt heard, I felt like he “got” my pain, and as wrong as it was, I became addicted to cutting, in part because it was the only way I could find to let him know how I was feeling…

I ended up marrying that boyfriend, maybe mostly because I didn’t have the courage not to, but amazingly, things aren’t so bad… We are pretty disconnected, but at the same time, we don’t really fight… And for the most part he treats me well. I also ended up going to college. I graduated with a 4.0. School was extremely stressful for me, but I really felt I needed to maintain that perfection, and somehow I did… I began teaching preschool, which is great in the sense that little kids don’t judge me the way that others do, but I remain anxious around my co-workers and afraid of not being good enough. I also find it hard lately to concentrate on what my kids/co-workers are saying to me, which is embarrassing and makes me feel all the more incompetent.

I have been continually battling depression and anxiety for the past 10 years, which lately has been mounting. I also believe that I have avoidant personality disorder and pure obsessional OCD (I have these fears that I will essentially become possessed and hurt/kill myself/those I love). Lately I have been reading a lot about schizophrenia, trying to understand if there's a connection between my brother's brain and my own, and to the mental health problems that my other siblings have experienced. Many aspects of schizophrenia totally don't apply to me... I don't think that I have ever had a delusion or hallucination, I am less concerned about how I look than I once was and honestly yes, my hygiene has declined, but I try to make myself somewhat presentable when I go out in public. I think that most people likely view me as being a little different, but not enough to really raise their eyebrows much or to make them dislike me...

Also, I know that it's easy to read things and get caught up in that worst scenario, and I'll admit that I'm bad about that to begin with...

So that in mind, though... Well, first of all, I have been reading that "healthy" siblings of people with schizophrenia have subtle brain deformations similar to those found in patients demonstrating the disease. Also, things such as communication, memory and cognition often show reduced functioning as well, even in healthy siblings. So yeah, I pretty much just stuck it out there that I'm likely to be delayed or something... Honestly, I graduated suma cum' laude, so I guess I can't be a TOTAL moron, but I DO feel stupid a lot, especially lately... I guess it's just that I find it really hard to concentrate and so things don't always go into my head as they should. Plus I am always stuttering/stumbling over my words and I never know what to say. Anyways, I guess my "research" has confirmed that some of what I'm dealing with almost certainly relates to the fact that I have a sibling with schizophrenia...

But beyond that point, things become more uncertain... My latest worry has been about whether I might be developing schizophrenia myself. Now I realize there's probably a high likelihood that I am, as always, just worrying too much... But also, keep this in mind: as a sibling of someone who has schizophrenia, I automatically have about a one in ten chance of developing the illness myself. Of course, that means, I have a nine in ten chance of not developing it... Only, really, based upon what I have been reading lately, my chances are not that good.

Mainly, I have been reading about what separates people who develop schizophrenia from those who remain healthy… Three of the main factors that seem to predict the onset of schizophrenia in those whose family histories place them at high risk are: Situational anxiety', 'nervous tension' and 'depression' as well as difficulty concentrating …That is all very “me…” Also, negative symptoms such as these tend to precede the onset of positive symptoms (such as hallucinations/delusions)

What do you guys think? I have been experiencing extreme depression and anxiety, especially socially, have been isolating myself and been unable to keep up with basic things like cooking and housework, have been experiencing extreme concentration difficulties and a hard time talking fluently... All of this can be depression/anxiety/maybe a touch of ADD, but given my family history, I should maybe be more worried???

Then again, my other brother and sister are similar and haven't developed the illness... I probably am worse in terms of reaction to stress and concentration... but they have issues, too... I mean, having risks doesn't necessarily mean it will develop full blown, it's just kind of scary at the same time.

But probably I am just reading TMI and freaking myself out more than I should... It's just that knowing that, at the same time, it's not totally illogical, is sort of scary... And I guess I don’t know what to do about it… I am really scared of counseling, even though I know I should do it, and I just went off Zoloft after about 3 weeks because it was making me even more depressed, anxious, and unfocused… I feel totally lost. I have a 17 month old baby boy who I literally live and breathe for and I don’t want this to impact him, that's one of my greatest fears, I’m just so exhausted and burnt out on life, I don’t know how to pick myself up…





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