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Anxiety about Schizophrenia

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have a question about state i am currently in. I’m 22 year old female, engineering student. 2.5 months ago my relative had a psychosis and was diagnosed schizophrenia. As i am a member of family i heard a lot of symptoms that she had experienced. The ones that were extremly frightening for me were the hearing voices part and the part of “someone is watching her”. As time passed i couldn’t help myself not to think about all those symptoms and they were so scary for me.

First i was thinking about hearing part and was very anxious imagining how is it to hear them, how can that happen…why it happened so suddenly to her(my relative…inlaws). I started feeling so scared imagining what if that happens to me. Sometimes when i hear some noise outiside it made me think about hearing voices and i would automatically connect that situation with the symptom and start worrying evendough i know nothing is wrong it made me nervous because of the fact i’m thinking about it.

At this moment i am less worried about hearing voices, but a 2-3 weeks ago i suddenly started thinking about “beeing watched part” and i honestly think it is soo much scarier than hearing part.I know she was talking that she felt someone is watching her trough closed door and trough some things on walls. When i started thinking about it i felt so anxious and scared. That tought went so deep in my brain and mind…that now things are reminding me of that symptom i heard she had.

For example: when i look at closed door i think about “someone is watching u symptom”. Of course i know nothing is happening to me but thinking of it and the fact that things started to remind me of these toughts really makes me anxious. Two days ago i went to the cinema and when i sat down i saw a speaker on the wall. I don’t know why but it automatically reminded me of the things my relative said about someone watching her trough things on wall. That made me feel so nervous because i even tought of it in such a great moment…and that didn’t stop bothering me till now.

Toughts of that symptom are so present in my mind and i don’t want to think about that. I have so many better things to think about. I really know that its not good for me to think about these things …and now another fear appeared. I feel like i’m thinking too much about that symptom and keep my mind bothering about it …and i’m sooooo scared that my mind could break and i could start feeling those things for real beacuse i think of it soooo much. That is my number one worry right know. What if this happens to me because thinking about it soo much.These toughts about really experiencing symptoms beacuse of thinking about them, are the one that produce the most anxiety(palm sweating, choking, trembling). I am worried because it became my obssesion and very worried because it is related to mental illness. I produce toughts about mental illnes in my mind and that makes me panic that maybe in one moment my mind wont know what is tought and what is really happening. Writing this and even just imagining this makes me panic. I want my normal life back! I want stop thinking about this.

I’m also very annoyed by the fact that stupid things like closed door and speakers on the wall remind me of the symptoms that my relative have. The huge problem is the fact that all this affect me in way i feel anxious and stressed and sometimes angry beacause it happens to me. I also feel so much stress because i can not stop thinking about it.

In a moments when i feel happy and imagining or planing something…these toughts just pop up. ” I feel so happy because of it….and so on…suddenly…”watching u symptom comes to mind….and the no1 fear “what if i make myself sick…really start to feel watched because of thinking about it so much!” Another tought is : “why am i stuck to this tought….maybe there’s another reason…maybe i already made harm to my mind that can not be helped”! I’m frustrated because i know i dont want to feel this way and don’t want to think about those things and now i’m started to worry that i wont be able to get rid of these toughts.

So in conclusion:
1. Can u give me some kind of advice how to struggle with all this by myself… can i stop these thoughts by my own mind?
2. I don’t really want to take medication for anxiety….what are other ways to calm myself when feeling anxious?
3. Pls tell me can i start experiencing symptoms if i think about them so much….will i turn these toughts in some severe mental disorder (thats my no1. worry right now)

The best way to combat anxiety is to be sure that your thoughts are true. Anxiety can develop when you believe in thoughts or ideas that are not true. Do you have evidence to support your beliefs? Are you beliefs logically consistent with reality? Perhaps you can do the evaluation yourself or perhaps not. Either way, it would be far easier and quicker to see a therapist. A therapist will be the objective voice that will have the training and experience to help you.

Your anxiety might match a particular type called obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). In fact, it’s relatively common for individuals with OCD to believe that they have schizophrenia or other condition. Schizophrenia is a relatively rare disorder. It affects approximately 1 to 2 percent of the population.

It is statistically unlikely that you have schizophrenia or that you will develop the disorder. My recommendation is to see a therapist. I know that you want to solve this problem on your own but it would be much more efficient to see a trained specialist.

If you do have OCD, it unlikely to simply go away. For many people, it becomes worse over time.

There are many effective psychological treatments that could help decrease your symptoms or eliminate them. Receiving formal treatment by a trained specialist could help to eliminate it from your life. I hope that you will consider it. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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