My grandmother was schizophrenic. Sometimes I wonder if I could be mildly schizophrenic. When I was 13, after receiving a OUIJA board, I became convinced, for about a year, that I could use the OUIJA board just by imagining it. Then I thought the spirit was communicating with me by making me spell things out in sign language, or write things. I became very frightened about this, to the point of having nightmares and feeling sick, and I would pray for the “spirit” to leave my body. Strangely, it eventually went away and I forgot about it. For many years I believed this really did happen. When I grew up I realized it could not have been true.
Sometimes, usually when I am very tired, I start thinking that it could be happening again. The other night while I was in bed, I had a slight tremor in my hand (probably a result of my carpal tunnel) and I started thinking the spirit was back. I became paranoid that the spirit was taking over my mind. I started thinking, “Am I really thinking this or is the spirit making me think this?” So every thought that came to my mind, I thought the spirit was making me think. I started praying for the spirit to get away from me. I listened to music and fell asleep. When I woke up in the morning, I remembered it, and thought I was totally crazy to have thought all that!
Also, I sometimes hear people’s voices in my head. For instance I will think I hear my friend’s voice, in my head, saying a regular sentence like, “We need to buy milk” or “I’m going to bed. I know it is not the person’s real voice, but I used to sometimes wonder if I was psychic. Sometimes I would ask the person, the next day, if they had said that.
Except for the huge thing with the spirit when I was a kid, these things have been very manageable for me. But sometimes I wonder, could I be like my grandmother? I am very nervous about this. I work with children, and I am afraid if my mental health declines, I will lose everything. Plus, my family members all hated my grandmother, and I’m afraid they will hate me too.
Though I cannot know with certainty, your symptoms do not seem indicative of schizophrenia. Many people who own a Ouija board believe that they are interacting with spirits through the Ouija board. That is especially true among children and adolescents.
The other symptoms that you are concerned about occur when you are on the verge of sleep. Many people report having unusual sensory experiences during that time. Your experiences are more likely related to your drowsiness than being symptoms of schizophrenia.
It is important to know that because your grandmother had schizophrenia, it does not mean that you will develop the condition. The fact that your grandmother had schizophrenia increases the likelihood that someone in your family will develop it but that risk is relatively slight. Many scientists believe that schizophrenia has a strong genetic component but there is no known singular cause of schizophrenia. Many complex factors may be involved.
If you continue to be concerned about having schizophrenia, it may bring you peace of mind to be evaluated by a mental health professional. The advantage of meeting with a mental health professional is that he or she can review your concerns, gather a detailed psychosocial history and make a determination, with relative certainty, whether or not you have schizophrenia. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle